About JCU


Michael Driessen
Michael Driessen is Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at John Cabot University, Rome where he teaches courses on Religion and Politics, Middle East Studies and War, Peace and Conflict Resolution. He received his doctorate from the University of Notre Dame, Indiana and in 2011-2012 was a post-doctoral research fellow at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in Doha, Qatar.

Professor Driessen's research focuses on the role of public religions in Catholic and Muslim societies and his book, Religion and Democratization: Framing Political and Religious Identities in Catholic and Muslim Societies was recently published by Oxford University Press. The book builds on articles published in the journal of Comparative Politics (on public Islam in Algeria), Sociology of Religion (on religious markets in the Muslim world), and Politics and Religion (on the politics of religion-state arrangements).

Thanks to grants by the European Consortium on Political Research (ECPR) and the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See, Driessen helped co-found the John Cabot University Interfaith Initiative, a scholarly and student group dedicated to the study and understanding of religion and politics. The initiative initiated a high profile, year-long scholarly speaker series on Interfaith Dialogue and recently hosted two international conferences, one on new empirical and normative trends in the study of political Catholicism and the other on evolving forms of Islamic religious authority in Europe. The group also regularly hosts evenings of interfaith student dialogue.

Through the initiative, Professor Driessen has also begun a new research project on the global politics of interfaith dialogue and is currently conducting interviews in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. He is also a frequent collaborator with the Lebanese Interfaith Foundation, Adyan with whom he has organized several International Conferences and designed and participated in interfaith training programs for religious and civil society leaders from the Middle East.

To find out more about his research, including links to papers and media interviews, visit Michael’s website at www.michaeldriessen.com. Prior to obtaining his PhD, Dr. Driessen earned a BA in Philosophy, Fine Arts and Mathematics in 2002 at the University of Portland (Oregon) and received a Master’s degree in International Relations and Economics in 2005 at the University of Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).

Michael lives in Rome with his wife and two little children, particularly loves wearing yellow sweaters and has been known to play the banjo.

Selected Recent Publications

Regime Type, Religion-state Arrangements and Religious Markets in the Muslim World,” Sociology of Religion, (2014) 75(3), 367 -394.

Religion and Democratization: Framing Political and Religious Identities in Catholic and Muslim Societies. 2014. New York: Oxford University Press.

Religious Democracy and Civilizational Politics: Comparing Political Islam and Political Catholicism,” Occasional Paper No. 12 Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS) Georgetown University (2013).

Public Religion, Democracy and Islam: Examining the Moderation Thesis in Algeria,” Comparative Politics, 44 (January 2012), 171-189.

Democratization in the Land of Tibhirine,” The Review of Faith and International Affairs,” (May 2011).

Religion, State and Democracy: Analyzing Two Dimensions of Church-state Arrangements,” Politics and Religion, 3 (April 2010), 55-80.

Two Propositions for the Future Study of Religion-State Arrangements,” Cosmopolis, 1-2 (2010).

Ethnic Voting and the Quality of Democracy in sub–Saharan Africa,” authored with Robert Dowd, Afrobarometer Working Paper (January 2008).