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My research deals with several key themes of political science in the 21st century. What is the role of religion in the modern world? How do we build democracies that last? Why does social and economic change drive people apart? I believe that all of these questions share a common root – the key question of what it means to belong. Using mixed-methods and interdisciplinary approaches, I seek to understand the relationship between religion, state, and society in a globalized world.

Subject Areas

Religion and State

Why have religious institutions grown more influential in the age of globalization? I argue that the post-Cold War era has seen a bottleneck pressure on religious institutions. Although social, political, and economic developments have reduced overall levels of religiosity, religious leaders and practitioners like have grown more aggressive in their relationship to the state. This body of research explores both politicking by religious actors as well as cooptation and accommodation by secular states. I am especially focused on religious actors’ role in civil society and social capital, and the institutional structures that enable linkages between religion and state.


Democracy and Society

How does polarization undermine democracy, and how do we build durable democracies in a changing world? In this project, I explore the relationship between democratic institutions, civil society, and social capital. I argue that democracies rely on strong and independent social institutions. When socio-economic shifts create disparities between winners and losers, those social institutions start to break down. I am particularly interested in identity-based polarization and the degree to which state intervention can improve or exacerbate such tensions.


Case Studies

In addition to broad, comparative analysis, I have conducted extensive case studies on the United States and the State of Israel. At first glance, these two countries look like mirror images: the United States with highly structured institutions and highly unstructured civil society, and Israel with a highly structured civil society and highly unstructured institutions. Both countries, however, have witnessed a rapid religious resurgence and growing populist sentiments.

List of Projects


1. "Community, Faith, and Public Violence: A county-level examination of religious institutions and mass public shootings in the United States." Journal of Crime and Justice, doi: 10.1080/0735648X.2021.1990786.

2. "Suicide, Social Capital, and Hate Groups in the United States." World Affairs, doi: 10.1177/00438200211053889.

Revise & Resubmit
1. "Institutional Entrenchment and the Prospects for Democracy: Evidence from the Israeli Case." Read latest draft here.

2. "No Politics Under God:  Modeling Kahanist Infrastructure in Relation to Israeli Institutions." Read latest draft here.

Under Review

1. "Religious Resurgence as Reaction to Globalization."
2. "Defining the Contours of Desecularization: A multilevel analysis of secularism and prejudice."

3. "Feeling Fighty Across Ole Blighty: Exploring the Contours of Place-based Resentment and its Consequences in England." With B. Kal Munis (Utah Valley University) and Joseph B. Phillips (University of Kent).

Working Papers

1. "Religious Entrenchment: A critique of incremental constitutionalism in Israel."

2. "Buying out the Religious Market: The effect of state religious policy on participation and contestation."

3. "Monopolies and Bottlenecks: Religious hostilities in the Information Age."

1. Religion, State, and Modernity: Defining the Contours of Desecularization. Read here.


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