The research questions that I engage are at the intersection of comparative politics and international relations with a focus on the role of religion in politics. I have three main research agendas along these lines.

1. International Context and Domestic Institutions
The first examines the impact of the international context on domestic institutional change and policy making. My dissertation, which is now a book manuscript (titled, History, Norms and State Policies toward Religious Minorities: France and Turkey) examines how and when international norms exert change in institutions of state-religion relations in France and Turkey. My analytical framework draws on comparative politics and international relations theories and considers domestic institutional change to be a gradual process stemming from the interaction of internal and external factors in strategic and normative ways. Theoretically, I refine historical institutionalism, integrating international context into the analysis of the change of institutions that are structured historically. Specifically, I compare France and Turkey on their treatment of religious minorities, the Christians and Alevis in Turkey, and the Muslims and marginalized religious sects in France. I obtained the data upon which I based my research during my fieldwork in France and Turkey in 2006 and 2007. 
2. Islam, Secularism, and Democracy
My second research agenda addresses the relationship between religion, secularism, and democracy. I seek to explore the impact of religious actors on democratization by examining their interaction with the international context, domestic socio-structural factors and political institutions. This research agenda specifically focuses on Islam and the prospects for democratization in the Middle East. In a working paper, titled “Patterns of Interaction between Islam and Liberalism: The Case of the Gulen Movement,” I analyze the political transformation of Turkey’s largest Islamic movement. This work demonstrates that as political institutions liberalize, Islamic movements tend to adopt their discourses and strategies so as to integrate into liberalizing social, economic, and political systems. Another article, which is under review for Comparative Politics, suggests a new term, “opportunity junctures,” in an effort to understand the impact of “timing” in democratic consolidation. This work focuses on the dynamics behind democratic consolidation in Turkey. Another working paper, coauthored with Miriam Elman, engages in a comparative assessment of Turkish and Israeli democracies.

3. Political Economy of Charitable Giving
My final research agenda looks at the causal mechanisms behind charitable giving and voluntarism. I am conducting a project, titled “The Role of Religious Beliefs and Institutions in Generosity: Catholicism and Islam,” that examines the charitable giving and voluntarism of the adherents of Catholicism and Islam in Ireland, France, Italy and Turkey. In this interdisciplinary project, I am working with two colleagues from Arizona State University (Carolyn Warner, Political Science, PI; Adam Cohen, Psychology, Co-PI). The project is funded by the Templeton Foundation, through the University of Notre Dame (budget $ 363,666). Our project will contribute significantly to an emerging science of generosity through comparative, collaborative and cross-disciplinary work. Our team of political scientists and social psychologists will carry out the investigation through experiments conducted on site in two countries with university students and members of the general population, and case studies of mosque and parish communities in four European countries. By combining these methods, our program of research gives serious, sustained attention to questions of religious influences on specific causal motives and propensities towards generosity, and on the external contexts that may promote or hinder generosity.