Portrait of Dr Luca Mavelli

Dr Luca Mavelli

Reader in Politics and International Relations


Luca joined the University of Kent as a Lecturer in Politics and International Relations in September 2012 and was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2014. Prior to this, Luca was a lecturer at the University of Surrey (2012), an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Sussex (2011), and held teaching positions at the University of Queensland, Australia and the University of Canterbury, New Zealand (2010). He received his PhD in International Politics from the University of Wales, Aberystwyth in 2009.

His research focuses on biopolitics, neoliberalism, migration, secularism and religion in international politics. He is the author of Europe’s Encounter with Islam: The Secular and the Postsecular (Routledge 2012). He has co-edited, with Fabio Petito, The Postsecular in International Relations (2012 Special Issue of the Review of International Studies) and Towards a Postsecular International Politics: New Forms of Community, Identity, and Power (Palgrave, 2014), and, with Erin K. Wilson, The Refugee Crisis and Religion: Secularism, Security and Hospitality in Question (Rowman and Littlefield, 2017). His article have appeared in the European Journal of International RelationsInternational Studies QuarterlyReview of International StudiesSecurity DialogueMillenniumInternational PoliticsCritical Studies on TerrorismJournal of Religion in Europe, and Teaching in Higher Education.  

Research interests

Luca’s research places itself within the growing body of literature on religion in international politics, with a particular focus on secularization in its historical and theoretical dimensions and how it shapes contemporary international relations. 

His research has explored: Europe’s secular tradition and its role in Europe’s conflictual encounter with Islam; the relation between security and secularization in International Relations; the securitization of Islam as a mechanism of reproduction of secular subjectivity; and the concept of postsecularity, with a particular focus on the concepts of postsecular resistance and its relevance in the context of the 2011 Egyptian revolution. His current research focuses on the relation between secularization and violence.

Methodologically, Luca is particularly interested in Michel Foucault’s view of critical research as a ‘history of the present’ grounded in the assumption that ‘not everything is bad, but everything is dangerous’.  




Luca is interested in supervising PhD students on topics related to his research interests and more broadly in the field of religion and international politics.  

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