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Elizabeth Shakman Hurd

Crown Chair in Middle East Studies and Professor of Political Science and Religious Studies

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


Research Interest(s): International Relations; Religion And Politics; Politics of Secularism; Law And Religion; Us Foreign Relations; Politics Of The Middle East; Methods In The Study Of Religion And Politics; Contemporary Religion

Program Area(s): Political Theory; Methods; Law and Politics; International Relations

Regional Specialization(s): United States; Middle East

Subfield Specialties: Critical Theory; International Theory; Law and Politics

Joint Appointment

Middle East and North African Studies

Religious Studies


Elizabeth Shakman Hurd is Professor of Political Science and the Crown Chair in Middle East Studies at Northwestern University. Hurd was educated at Wesleyan University (B.A.), Yale University (M.A.), and The Johns Hopkins University (Ph.D) and has taught at Northwestern University since 2002. She studies the politics of religion in U.S. foreign policy and in international relations, and relations between the U.S. and the Middle East, including Turkey and Iran. 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, and co-editor with Winnifred Fallers Sullivan of At Home and Abroad: The Politics of American Religion (Columbia, forthcoming) and Theologies of American Exceptionalism (Indiana University Press, forthcoming). She is also co-editor of Politics of Religious Freedom (University of Chicago) and Comparative Secularisms in a Global Age (Palgrave). Hurd co-directs, with Nadia Marzouki, “Contextualizing Radicalization: The Politics of Violent Extremism,” and co-curates, with Winnifred Sullivan, the Teaching Law & Religion Case Study Archive. Hurd enjoys speaking to public audiences and contributes regularly to discussions on politics and religion in global perspective. In 2019-2020 Hurd is a Luce/ACLS Fellow in Religion, Journalism & International Affairs. She is writing a book on the politics of religion and the American border.


  • Beyond Religious Freedom: The New Global Politics of Religion (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015, 2017 (paper))
  • Politics of Religious Freedom (co-edited with Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, Saba Mahmood and Peter Danchin). Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2015.
  • The Politics of Secularism in International Relations (Princeton Studies in International History and Politics).  Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008.
    • Co-winner of the American Political Science Association’s Hubert Morken Award for the Best Publication in Religion and Politics, 2008-2010.
    • Semi-finalist, 2010 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order.
  • Comparative Secularisms in a Global Age, co-edited with Linell E. Cady. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010 (Paperback edition, 2013).  

Select Publications

  • :“Politics of Religious Freedom in the Asia-Pacific: An Introduction.” Journal of Religious and Political Practice, vol. 4, issue 1 (Special Issue on “The Politics of Religious Freedom in the Asia- Pacific”), eds. John Rees and Tim Smartt, 2018.
  • “Narratives of De-secularization in International Relations,” Intellectual History Review, 27:1, special issue on ‘Narratives of Secularization,’ edited by Peter Harrison (January 2017):  97-113. Republished in Narratives of Secularization, edited by Peter Harrison. Routledge: 2018.
  • “Politics of Sectarianism: Rethinking Religion and Politics in the Middle East.” Special Issue, “Research and Methodology in a Post-Arab Spring Environment: Challenges for the Field,” Middle East Law and Governance 7, no.1 (Spring 2015): 61-75. PDF
  • “Introduction to Politics of Religious Freedom: Case Studies,” Maryland Journal of International Law, vol. 29 (2015): 288-99, co-authored with Peter G. Danchin, Saba Mahmood & Winnifred Fallers Sullivan.
  • "Thinking about Religion, Law, and Politics in Latin America,” Special Issue on Religiones, Post-secularidad y Democracia en América Latina: Reconfiguraciones del Discurso y la Acción Política, Revista de Estudios Sociales-RES, no. 51 (2015): 25-35. PDF
  • “Editor’s Introduction.” Symposium: Re-thinking Religious Freedom, Journal of Law and Religion, co-edited with Winnifred Fallers Sullivan, vol. 29, no. 3 (Sept./Oct. 2014): 358-62.
  • “Alevis under law: the politics of religious freedom in Turkey.” Journal of Law and Religion, Vol. 29, no. 3 (September/October 2014).
  • “Religious Freedom, American-style.” Quaderni di Diritto e Politica Ecclesiastica, no. 1 (April 2014): 231-242. Reprinted in Lorenzo Zucca, ed., Religious Rights (Ashgate International Library of Essays on Rights). Surrey: Ashgate: June 2015.
  • “International politics after secularism.” Review of International Studies 38, Issue 5, Special Issue, “The Postsecular in International Relations” (December 2012): 943-961.
  • “Debates within a Single Church: Secularism and IR Theory.” Special Issue on “Religion and IR Theory,” Zeitschrift für Internationale Beziehungen (German Journal of International Relations), (June 2010): 135-48.
  • “Iran, in Search of a Nonsecular and Nontheocratic Politics.” Public Culture 22, no.1 (Winter 2010): 25-32.
  • “What is Driving the European Debate about Turkey?” Special Issue on “European Encounters with Turkish Islam,” ed. Talip Küçükcan, Insight Turkey 12, no.1 (2010): 185-203.
  • “Political Islam and Foreign Policy in Europe and the United States.” Foreign Policy Analysis 3, no. 4 (October 2007): 345-367.
  • “Theorizing Religious Resurgence.” International Politics 44, no. 6 (November 2007): 647-665.
  • “Negotiating Europe: The Politics of Religion and the Prospects for Turkish Accession to the EU.” Review of International Studies 32, no. 3 (July 2006): 401-418.
  • “The Political Authority of Secularism in International Relations.” European Journal of International Relations 10, no. 2 (June 2004): 235-262.

Courses taught

  • “Religion, Race and Global Politics” (Political Science 390, Religious Studies 471)
  • America and the World (Political Science 378)
  • International Politics of the Middle East (Political Science 395)
  • Politics of Religious Diversity (PoliSci 390)


  • Crown Chair in Middle East Studies, Northwestern University, 2019-2022. 2019
  • ACLS/Luce Fellowship in Religion, Journalism and International Affairs. Project: “Religion on the Border.” “Law and the Politics of Religious Diversity.”
  • Daniel I. Linzer Grant for Innovation in Diversity and Equity, 2018. “Talking Religion: Publics, Politics, and the Media” (co-PI with Brannon Ingram of Northwestern), 2018-2019.
  • Luce/ACLS Grant in Religion, Journalism & International Affairs.
  • Buffett Faculty Fellowship, 2016-2019.
  • Buffett Institute for Global Studies, Northwestern. “Politics of Religion at Home and Abroad” (co-PI with Winnifred Sullivan of Indiana University), 2016-2019. Funded by Luce Initiative on Religion & International Affairs.
  • Buffett Institute for Global Studies “Big Ideas” Faculty Innovation Grant, 2015, to create Faculty Research Group on Global Politics & Religion.
  • Faculty Fellow, Kaplan Institute for the Humanities. Northwestern, 2015-16.
  • Project: Religion and Global Politics Beyond Freedom and Violence. “Politics of Religious Freedom: Contested Norms and Local Practices” (co-PI with Saba Mahmood, (UC-Berkeley), Winnifred Fallers Sullivan (Indiana University), & Peter Danchin (Maryland Law), 2011-14.
  • Global study of religious freedom funded by the Luce Foundation. “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 for “The ‘Religious Offensive’: The Politics of Religious Engagement.”
  • Equality, Development and Globalization Studies (EDGS) Speaker Series Grant for 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. Funded by the Luce Foundation Initiative on Religion & International Affairs, 2013-2015; renewed 2016-2018.
  • Winner: 2016 Religion News Association (RNA) Award for Excellence in radio or podcast religion reporting for “God and Government: China: An Atheist Country, Embracing Buddhism.”
  • 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).
  • Research project "Religion, Secularism and Globalization" convened by Charles Taylor. Vienna, Summer 2010.
  • Visiting Research Professor, Center for the Study of Religion & Conflict, Arizona State, Spring 2010.
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