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Elizabeth Shakman Hurd

Professor of Political Science; Professor and Chair of Religious Studies

B.A.: Wesleyan University, 1992; M.A.: Yale University, 1996; Ph.D.: Johns Hopkins University, 2002
Curriculum Vitae


Research Interest(s): Professor Hurd studies the politics of religion in U.S. foreign and immigration policy, the global politics of secularism and religious freedom, religion and American borders, the United States in the Middle East, and the intersections of political theory and political theology.

Program Area(s): Political Theory; International Relations; American Politics

Regional Specialization(s): United States; Middle East; Europe

Subfield Specialties: Critical Theory; Law and Politics

Joint Appointment

Middle East and North African Studies

Religious Studies


Elizabeth Shakman Hurd is Professor and Chair of Religious Studies and Professor of Political Science. She studies the politics of religion in U.S. foreign and immigration policy, the global politics of secularism and religious freedom, religion and American borders, the United States in the Middle East, and the intersections of political theory and political theology. She co-directs the transdisplinary Global Religion & Politics Research Group, is a core faculty member in the MENA Studies program, and is a member of the French Interdisciplinary Group’s Sciences Po Partnership Advisory Committee.

Hurd teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on religion, race, and global politics; law and religion; American borders; the politics of religious diversity; and the United States in the Middle East. She advises graduate students interested in these topics as well as other topics related to her interests in international political theory, political ethnography, methods in the study of religion and politics, and the politics of the Middle East.

Hurd co-curates, with Winnifred Sullivan, the Teaching Law and Religion Case Study Archive which can be downloaded free of charge and offers legal cases and background materials for teaching on the intersections of law, religion, and politics around the world. It is suitable for instructors in religious studies, political science, anthropology, sociology, international relations, and legal studies.

Hurd was awarded a 2018 Daniel I. Linzer Grant for Faculty Innovation in Diversity and Equity and a 2014 Hewlett Fellowship to develop her course “Politics of Religious Diversity.” She was awarded the R. Barry Farrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in Political Science in 2006-07 and was voted to the Faculty Honor Roll in 2002-03 and 2006-07.


Prof. Hurd is the author of The Politics of Secularism in International Relations (2008) and Beyond Religious Freedom: The New Global Politics of Religion (2015), both published by Princeton University Press. She is co-editor, with Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, of At Home and Abroad: The Politics of American Religion (Columbia, 2021) and Theologies of American Exceptionalism (Indiana University Press, 2020), and also co-edited Politics of Religious Freedom (University of Chicago, 2015) and Comparative Secularisms in a Global Age (Palgrave, 2010). Her articles, book chapters, and public writing are available on her personal website.

For works prior to 2010, see website.

Courses taught

  • The American Border: Politics, Policy, Theology (Political Science 101)
  • America and the World (Political Science 378)
  • Politics of Religious Diversity (Political Science 390, Religious Studies 379)
  • Religion, Race and Global Politics (Political Science 390, Religious Studies 471)
  • International Politics of the Middle East (Political Science 395)

Public Engagement

For works prior to 2018, see website.


  • Northwestern Weinberg Center for International & Area Studies - “Global Epistemological Politics of Religion: Works in Progress.” Symposium Grant. June 2023.
  • Northwestern Weinberg College Covid-19 Research Recovery Grant - “American Border Religion.” 2023.
  • Congressional testimony - Hearing on ‘The State of Religious Freedom Around the Globe.” U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C., July 2021.
  • International Relations/Buffett Institute International Classroom Partnering Grant, “Global Conversations on Religion, Race, & Politics,” 2020-21; 2021-22.
  • Northwestern Buffett Virtual Visitorship Grant, hosting Dmytro Vovk - Yaroslav Mudryi National Law University, Kharkiv, Ukraine, 2022.
  • ACLS/Luce Fellowship in Religion, Journalism and International Affairs. 2019-2020. Project: “Religion on the Border.”
  • “Talking Religion: Publics, Politics, and the Media.” PI with Brannon Ingram. Luce/ACLS Program in Religion, Journalism & International Affairs, 2018-2020.
  • Law and the Politics of Religious Diversity.” Daniel I. Linzer Grant for Innovation in Diversity and Equity, 2018.
  • Buffett Faculty Fellowship. Buffett Institute for Global Studies, Northwestern, 2016-2019.
  • “Politics of Religion at Home and Abroad.” PI with Winnifred Sullivan. Luce Initiative on Religion & International Affairs, 2016-2019.
  • “Big Ideas” Faculty Innovation Grant, Research Group on Global Politics & Religion. Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Studies, 2015.
  • Faculty Fellow. Kaplan Institute for the Humanities. “Religion and Politics Beyond Freedom and Violence.” Northwestern, 2015-16.
  • “Politics of Religious Freedom: Contested Norms and Local Practices.” PI with Saba Mahmood, Winnifred Fallers Sullivan & Peter Danchin. Luce Foundation Initiative on Religion & International Affairs, 2011-2014.
  • “Thinking about Religion, Law, and Politics.” Workshop Grant with Winnifred Sullivan and Robert Orsi. Luce Foundation Initiative on Religion & International Affairs, July 2014.
  • 2014 Weber Award for the best paper in religion and politics presented at the 2013 APSA meeting. “The ‘Religious Offensive’: The Politics of Religious Engagement.”
  • Equality, Development and Globalization Studies Speaker Series Grant. Series on “Religion, Law, and Politics,” 2014-15.
  • Hewlett Faculty Fellowship. Northwestern course development grant, “Politics of Religious Diversity,” 2014-15.
  • Content Consultant. Radio series: “God and Government: How Fourteen Nations Mix Religion and Government.” Nationally syndicated public radio show hosted by Maureen Fiedler and Amber Khan. Luce Foundation Initiative on Religion & International Affairs, 2013-2015; renewed 2016-2018.
  • 2016 Religion News Association (RNA) Award for Excellence in radio or podcast religion reporting for “God and Government: China: An Atheist Country, Embracing Buddhism.”
  • 2014 Religion Communicators Council (RCC) Wilbur Award for Interfaith Voices –“God and Government: Egypt in Crisis” in Category (7A): Single Program–part of series. Fellow. Public Voices Thought Leadership Fellowship Program, Northwestern University and the OpEd Project, 2012-2013.
  • Visiting Fellow. Institute for Human Sciences (Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen). Vienna, 2010.
  • Visiting Research Professor, Center for the Study of Religion & Conflict, Arizona State University, Spring 2010.
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship. Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, University of Virginia, 2004-05.
  • European-American Young Scholars’ Institutes Program. Summer Institute on Secularization and Religion, convened by José Casanova and Hans Joas. Erfurt, 2003.