I hold a Laurea Degree in Political Science from Bologna University and a M.A. in International Politics and Security Studies from Bradford University, where I also earned a Ph.D in Peace Studies. Previously I worked at the Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies at Bath University, teaching modules on international relations theory and the role of religion in international politics.
My research interests lie at the interface between religion, conflict studies and faith-related peacemaking, with a focus on Middle East politics. Over the years, I have become deeply interested in the scholarly debate around secularism and post-secularism and how such a debate impacts both the framing of Western international relations theory as well as our critical understanding of terrorism, religiously motivated violence, diplomacy, humanitarianism and human rights.
My monograph 'Apocalyptic Movements in Contemporary Politics: Christian and Jewish Zionism' (Palgrave 2014) investigates the messianic and millenarian drives at the basis of the settlement project in the Occupied Territories. The book also addresses the implications of Christian and Jewish Zionism on the wider Middle East politics and the interfaith relations between Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
In June 2014, I was awarded the Research Incentive Scheme by the Trinity Long Room Hub. The grant supported my first field project on the role of faith-based engagement and conflict transformation in Israel-Palestine. Such a research will now continue on a larger scale with funding from the Irish Research Council 'New Horizons Starter Scheme' (awarded in November 2015). The IRC grant will assist extensive field research in Israel and the Palestinian territories, focusing on various conflict transformation initiatives at grassroots level involving local Jewish communities alongside their Palestinian counterparts. You can find more information about the IRC project here.
In January 2016, I secured further funding from the Trinity College Dublin Arts and Social Sciences Benefactions Research Scheme. The grant will assist the preliminary stages of a new interdisciplinary project addressing the overlaps between religious, cultural and nationalist drives at the basis of the struggle for the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif in the Old City of Jerusalem. The project's main goals are firstly to compare the Islamist and Jewish discourses that mobilize the claims to exclusive ownership of Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif; and secondly, to investigate alternative faith-related approaches which could be deployed to tackle that dispute and its impact on the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.
Between April 2014 and May 2015, I was work package leader of the 'Society and Ethics' subject-area in the EU FP7 research project 'Slándáil: The Impact of Social Media in Emergencies' - a project led by the School of Computer Science and Statistics in TCD. In this role I oversaw collaborative research on the ethical and human rights concerns stemming from the technology used in anticipating and mitigating natural disaster emergencies.