Nationalist and Ethno-religious Dynamics (NERD)

A major source of political activity, as well as violent conflict, is generated by nationalist movements, ethnic and religious-based groups. Our working group, Nationalist and Ethno-religious Dynamics (NERD), seeks to better understand the role of religion and ethnicity in collective political action, variations in patterns of behavior by such groups, their interactions with states and other international actors, their influence on the promotion or violation of human rights, and the sources and impact of their motivations and capacities for organization and any subsequent political action. The group features a mix of disciplines, substantive foci, methodological approaches, and area expertise. Faculty regularly collaborate and co-author with graduate students, and have a successful, strong record of winning external grants to fund their research, and are affiliated with a variety of research centers at ASU: Center for the Study of Religion and Conflict, Center for Social Dynamics and Complexity, Center on the Future of War, Center for Jewish Studies, the Melikian Center on Russian, Eurasian and East European Studies, and the Pat Tillman Veterans Center, to name a few. They also have affiliations and memberships in research and academic organizations nationally and internationally.

NERD - reading group in comparative politics

For details contact: Henry Thomson

Learn More about NERD at ASU


This portion is under construction - please come back another time.


Anti-Semitism in Comparative Perspective: Recent Trends and Research Frontiers | Spring 2021

January 25, 2021

Recent years have witnessed a dramatic rise in anti-Semitic incidents and the growth of anti-Semitic attitudes around the world. New research estimates more than a quarter of the world—1.09 billion people out of more than 4.1 billion people surveyed—harbors anti-Semitic attitudes. This workshop—organized by David Siroky and Lenka Bustikova — brings together leading scholars from around the globe to discuss the frontiers in the study of anti-Semitism and to debate critical factors that influence where and when ethnoreligious groups, and Jews in particular, are likely to be targeted and viewed with prejudice.

Conference Page

Download workshop program PDF

Ethnic / Religious Identities and Party Competition | Spring 2017

Febrary 16 & 17, 2017 |

Theories of party competition have long held that the economic and pocket-book considerations dominate competitive politics during peacetime. Identity related issues related to group boundaries (ethnic concerns) and the role of religion in the state have been regularly relegated to a secondary status. This conference aims to bring to the fore this “second dimension” of party competition by investigating the degree to which theories of economic voting are relevant to voting behavior and electoral exchange between voters and politicians that emphasizes non-economic issues. In other words, under which conditions do citizens vote against their economic interests and embrace politicians or parties that emphasize national pride, ethnic affinities and religious devotion?

The conference will bring together scholars that have worked on identity-based voting and those who have written on the limitations of economic voting models along with scholars who study  “non-economic” populism and the effect of migration, religion and ethnicity on political mobilization. Due to its emphasis on the processes of party competition, the conference will focus on these issues within electoral democracies.

The conference will complement the previous NERD conference held in February 2015, and other conflict-related conferences being held at ASU, that have focused mostly on violent forms of political mobilization. If funded, the 2017 NERD conference would examine the conditions under which ethnic and religious issues “trumps” economic concerns and anxieties in the electoral arena, and will also explore how, if at all, peaceful party competition around ethnic identity is fundamentally different from political competition based on religious considerations.

We hope the conference will also be of interest to faculty members at SPGS who work on party competition aligned along gender (as a form of non-economic competition), and faculty who study political mobilization. Given the surge of anti-establishment, niche candidates in the U.S. Presidential primaries who are emphasizing race, ethnicity and hatred in their appeals, this topic will also hopefully resonate with scholars of U.S. politics, campaigns and elections. The conference will thus be open to all those in SPGS who would like to participate across the working groups and sub-fields and the broader university community, both faculty and graduate students.

Conference page

Ethnic and Religious Conflict Conference | Spring 2015

With the support of SPGS and the Center for Studies of Religion and Conflict at ASU, our Working Group organized an international Conference on Ethnic and Religious Conflict that took place in February 2015 at ASU. The conference, attended by leading scholars in political science, sociology, anthropology and history, analyzed the implications of these different kinds of groups for political mobilization, violence and conflict.