April 16, 2014
International Affairs professor Michael Driessen just published Religion and Democratization: Framing Religious and Political Identities in Muslim and Catholic Societies (Oxford University Press, 2014).
A comparative study of democratization in Muslim and Catholic societies, Religion and Democratization explores the nature and impact of "religiously friendly democratization" processes, which institutionally favor a religion of state and allow religious political parties to contest elections. The book argues that religiously friendly democratization transforms both the democratic politics and religious life of society. Prof. Driessen's book anchors its theoretical claims in case studies of Italy and Algeria, integrating original qualitative evidence and statistical data on voters' political and religious attitudes. It also compares the dynamics of religiously friendly democratization across the Muslim world today in Tunisia, Morocco, Turkey and Indonesia.
Dr. Driessen joined JCU as Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Affairs in 2012. He teaches courses on Religion and Politics, Comparative Politics, Middle East Studies and Peace Studies. Professor Driessen obtained his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, and in 2011-2012 was a resident post-doctoral fellow at Georgetown University's Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS) in Doha, Qatar. His research explores the nature of public religion in Catholic and Muslim societies.
Professor Driessen is one of the faculty advisors to the recently formed Interfaith Initiative at JCU. "I was really pleased to see this wonderful student initiative take off," he says. "There are few places like John Cabot University in Rome for interfaith dialogue thanks to our international student body with its great cultural and religious pluralism. The JCU interfaith experience is enriched by our location in Rome, which is not only the seat of the Catholic Church, but a city where many religions have created important institutes that are in conversation with the Catholic Church and with each other. This makes for an incredibly rich interfaith experience, which allows for dialogue and discovery."
Learn more about the studying Political Science and International Affairs in Rome.