Visiting professor to discuss lessons from Arab Spring

contact: Mark Schwerin
| WMU News
Photo of Jocelyne .


KALAMAZOO—A visiting professor from a Paris science and technology research complex will address the lessons to be learned from recent unrest in the Middle East when she visits the Western Michigan University campus.

Dr. Jocelyne Cesari, professor at the French National Center for Scientific Research, will speak at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19, in 2008 Richmond Center. Her talk, titled "Islam and Democratization: Lessons Learned from the Arab Spring," is part of the University Center for the Humanities 2012-13 Power and Publics Series and is free and open to the public.

With the demise of the Ben Ali and Mubarak regimes in Tunisia and Egypt and continued unrest in the region, Islam's role in future regimes is a topic under considerable discussion. In light of current events, Cesari makes two counter-intuitive claims. First, she broadens the approach of religion beyond ideas or beliefs by adopting an institutional approach. Second, she introduces states' actions and policies as a factor in the politicization of Islam.

Cesari's findings, grounded in original data produced as a 2011-12 Minerva Chair at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., shed new light on secularity and the role of Islam in the democratization process and open a discussion for plausible democratic "Islamic" regimes.

Jocelyne Cesari

In addition to Cesari's other positions, she is a senior visiting professor of international relations at the School of Advanced International Relations at Johns Hopkins University, where she co-directs the Global Politics and Religion Initiative. At Harvard University, she directs the international research program, called "Islam in the West." Specializing in contemporary Islamic societies, she is the author of "Muslims in the West After 9/11: Religion, Politics and Law" and the forthcoming book "Islam Betrayed? The Making of Modern Islam and World Politics."

Power and Publics Series

The Power and Publics Series was inspired by the 2012 elections. The humanities center invites community members to join in a discussion of various publics and their political power. Cesari's talk is co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Ethics in Society, College of Fine Arts, Department of Comparative Religion, Department of Foreign Languages, Gender and Women's Studies Program and Office of the Provost.

For more information about the center and the series., visit