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Elizabeth Shakman Hurd

Professor, Crown Chair in Middle East Studies (2019-2022)

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): Methods; Law and Politics; International Relations

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

Subfield Specialties: Critical Theory; International Theory

Joint Appointment

Middle East and North African Studies

Religious Studies


Elizabeth Shakman Hurd teaches and writes on religion and politics, the politics of human rights and the right to religious freedom, the legal governance of religious diversity, US foreign relations, and the international politics of the Middle East. Her work pursues an integrative approach to the study of politics and religion that offers insight into dilemmas of national and international governance involving difference, governance, power, law, and pluralism. 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 of Politics of Religious Freedom and Comparative Secularisms in a Global Age. She is co-PI, with Winnifred Sullivan, on a Luce-supported collaborative research project “Politics of Religion at Home and Abroad” (2016-2019) and co-organized the “Politics of Religious Freedom” project (2011-2014). At Northwestern, Hurd directs the Buffett Faculty Research Group on Global Politics & Religion, co-directs a graduate certificate program in Religion & Global Politics, is a core faculty member of the MENA Program, and teaches courses on America and the world, religion and international relations, the Middle East in global politics, and religion and law in cross-cultural perspective. Hurd is a regular contributor to public discussions on US foreign policy and the politics of religious diversity, and has written for Boston Review, Public Culture, The Atlantic, Chicago Tribune, Foreign Policy, Al Jazeera America, Globe and Mail, and The Monkey Cage. In 2015-16 Hurd is a Faculty Fellow at the Kaplan Institute for the Humanities and is serving on Northwestern’s Global Strategy Task Force, charged with defining a global engagement strategy for Northwestern in the coming decade. Hurd has a courtesy appointment in Religious Studies at NU.


  • Beyond Religious Freedom: The New Global Politics of Religion (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015)
  • 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).
  • Comparative Secularisms in a Global Age, co-edited with Linell E. Cady. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010 (Paperback edition, 2013).  

Select Publications

  • “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.
  • “Alevis under law: the politics of religious freedom in Turkey.” Journal of Law and Religion, Vol. 29, no. 3 (September/October 2014).
  • “International politics after secularism.” Review of International Studies 38, Issue 5, Special Issue, “The Postsecular in International Relations” (December 2012): 943-961.
  • “A suspension of (dis)belief: the secular-religious binary and the study of international relations,” in Rethinking Secularism, edited by Craig Calhoun, Mark Juergensmeyer and Jonathan VanAntwerpen, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011, 166-184.
  • “Secularism and international relations theory,” in Religion and International Relations Theory, edited by Jack Snyder. New York: Columbia University Press, 2011, pp. 60-90.
  • “Iran, in search of a nonsecular and nontheocratic politics” Public Culture 22, no.1 (Winter 2010): 25-32.
  • “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)
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