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Monica Duffy Toft
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Monica Duffy Toft, Professor of Government and Public Policy, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford. She joins BSG after having taught at Harvard’s Kennedy School for over a decade. She was educated at the University of Chicago (MA and PhD in political science) and the University of California, Santa Barbara (BA in political science and Slavic languages and literature, summa cum laude). Prior to starting her undergraduate education, she spent four years in the United States Army as a Russian linguist. Monica is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Minorities at Risk Advisory Board, the Political Instability Task Force. In 2008 the Carnegie Foundation of New York named her a Carnegie Scholar for her research on religion and violence. Most recently she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to Norway.

Monica’s areas of research include: International security, ethnic and religious violence, civil wars and demography. Her most recent books include Population Change and National Security (with Jack Goldstone and Eric Kaufmann, Oxford, 2012), Rethinking Religion in World Affairs (with Alfred Stepan and Timothy Shah, Oxford, 2012), God’s Century: Resurgent Religion and Global Politics (with Daniel Philpott and Timothy Shah, Norton, 2011) and Securing the Peace (Princeton, 2010). In addition she has published numerous scholarly articles and editorials on civil wars and religion in global politics. She convenes the Security Option.

Entries by Monica Duffy Toft

Religious Fundamentalism and the Backlash to Women's Equality

(3) Comments | Posted November 7, 2014 | 10:12 AM

One issue involving religion and its relationship to violence that is gaining greater attention in the media and in academic research is the threat by fundamentalist religious groups to women's rights and equality. From sexual violence in South Sudan and by the Islamic State, to the abduction of young women...

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The 'Glocalized' Roots of Religious Politics: Extremism from Below, Not Abroad

(23) Comments | Posted September 17, 2011 | 11:20 AM

What is perhaps most striking about events since September 11, 2001 is their affirmation of a crucial trend: What happens in far off corners of the world can have serious implications for what happens at home. When al Qaeda emerged in the 1990s it was not engaged in a global...

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Does the U.S. Have a Responsibility to Protect the Libyan People?

(17) Comments | Posted April 6, 2011 | 2:49 PM

Before any state resorts to the use of force in Libya or anywhere else, it needs to answer a series of pragmatic and ethical questions, even if the legal hurdles are cleared through a United Nations Security Council resolution authorizing intervention.

In terms of just war theory, the basic...

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Religious Actors Can Be Democratizers

(32) Comments | Posted February 11, 2011 | 4:50 PM

With news of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak stepping down, the key question becomes "who will govern Egypt?" Although Mubarak has handed power over to the military, there is still the possibility that other actors, including the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), could step in to fill the vacuum. The central question is:...

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Understanding Rationality in Religious Violence

(201) Comments | Posted June 14, 2010 | 5:53 PM

When I first began research into religion and global politics, I began by trying to approach it as I had most of my previous research: canvas previous efforts, formulate some new conjectures, and then seek out real-world evidence that might test them. It didn't work.

The main problem was that...

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Religion Matters In International Relations

(71) Comments | Posted March 1, 2010 | 3:42 PM

Like any teacher, I get asked a lot of questions by my students. One in particular, which I received while leading a master's level course on religion with Father Bryan Hehir at Harvard's Kennedy School, struck me as particularly interesting: "Why," a student asked, "does Professor Hehir wear the same...

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