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Contextualizing Radicalization: The Politics of Violent Extremism

This network brings together academics from different fields, home countries, and disciplines that share an interest in analyzing, from a critical perspective, not what radicalization is, but what radicalization speech and CVE/PVE policy does.

Co-convened by Nadia Marzouki and Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, the International Research Network (IRN) “Contextualizing radicalization: the politics of radicalization and violent extremism” (RADEX) is a 4-year network launched by CNRS (Centre national de la recherche scientifique, France) that establishes partnerships among the following universities: CERI/Sciences Po; Northwestern Department of Political Science/Religious Studies; Graduate Institute of Geneva; European University Institute; University of Copenhagen, University of Toronto; Université Saint-Joseph Beirut, Lebanese CNRS, l’Institut Français du Proche-Orient, and l’Institut de Recherche sur le Maghreb Contemporain.

Our ambition is to constitute an international academic platform where national research and experiments on radicalization can be compared, confronted, and critiqued. We seek neither to create a new center or commission devoted to the study of radicalization nor do we propose an improved definition of radicalization. Instead, we ask, what purposes does counter-radicalization serve as a contested category of analysis and as a varied set of political, social and religious exigencies?

We approach these questions in three thematically oriented foci: information-gathering, everyday life under surveillance, and the search for new political vocabularies.

The first meeting of the network took place in June 2019 at Sciences Po, Paris. A conference program is available here. Thanks to the generous support of the Northwestern Office of International Relations and the French Interdisciplinary Group, a delegation of Northwestern participants including Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, Zekeria Ahmed Salem, Brannon Ingram, and Gina Giliberti participated in the Paris workshop.

The second workshop, "Racialising Security: From Post-9/11 to Post-Corona” has been postponed due to COVID-19. On June 9, 2020 however Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, Nadia Marzouki, and Mohammad-Mahmoud Ould Mohamedou were joined by moderator Davide Rodogno for a webinar to discuss how current security discourses and public policies about ‘extremism’ and ‘radicalisation’ re-enact, reinforce, transform or relocate dynamics of racialisation that have contributed to othering, excluding and demeaning specific groups. Each of the panelists contributed a post based on their talk to Canopy Forum which are accessible here, here and here

For more information about the project, please contact the co-organizers, Dr. Nadia Marzouki ( or Dr. Elizabeth Shakman Hurd (

Reading Muslims Project

The Reading Muslims Project is a multi- and interdisciplinary conversation among leading local and international scholars on the place of textuality in Islamic studies, funded through the University of Toronto’s Connaught Global Challenge Grants Program. In conjunction with RADex, it's “State Surveillance and Islamophobia” hub turns its attention to the North American and European context. Its participants probe two areas of concern: 1) The ways in state officials, bureaucracies, and law courts have used and abused Muslim texts to monitor and marginalize its Muslim populations; and 2) The invocation of Muslim texts among Islamophobic groups who champion the incompatibility of Islam with liberal-democratic societies. This works within its existing partnerships with the Canadian Muslim Lawyers Association and the National Council of Canadian Muslims.