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Jytte Klausen


Jytte Klausen is the Lawrence A. Wien Professor of International Cooperation at Brandeis University and an Affiliate at the Center for European Studies at Harvard University.

Her background is in comparative historical research with a focus on Western Europe and North America. By the late 1990s, it became apparent that Europe saw itself confronted with a fresh and daunting challenge associated with rising numbers of immigrants. Muslim immigrants seemed to many Europeans to present particular problems of integration. Klausen began to think about the way in which European institutions were recalibrating postwar stabilization pacts that had been struck between religious institutions and secular civic and political movements, particularly those on the Left. An article published in 2005 in Perspectives on Politics, “The Re-Politicization of Religion in Europe: The Next Ten Years,” summarized her perspective.

Klausen's second single-authored book, The Islamic Challenge: Politics and Religion in Western Europe (2005, 2007pb), was based on intensive interviews with Muslim politicians that she conducted in a number of European countries. (German and Turkish translations were published in 2006 and 2007. Rights have been granted to an Arabic translation.) In 2007, she received the Carnegie Scholars’ Award in support of her research on the integration of Muslim faith communities in Europe. In 2009, Klausen published her third single-authored book, The Cartoons That Shook the World. This was a study of the global protests against the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten following the publication of twelve satirical drawings portraying Muhammad. Shortly before publication, Yale University Press decided to remove all the illustrations used in the book that portrayed Muhammad. The censored illustrations ranged from Ottoman Golden Age manuscript pages depicting the Prophet, to illustrated editions of Dante’s Inferno, to the Danish cartoons. The resulting controversy put her book at the center of a maelstrom of controversy, during which colleagues were immensely supportive and earned her lasting gratitude.

At the same time, Klausen initiated a new research project focused on the study of transnational Jihadist terrorist organizations that operated — and still operate — in Western Europe and North America. This involved the creation of a new purpose-built database capable of supporting quantitative comparative analysis and network graphing by means of social network analysis techniques (SNA). The data derive from archival research using public sources, the approach of clio-metrics. What is now called the Western Jihadism Project (WJP) has become a comprehensive web-based data portal and archive designed for the study of Al Qaeda-inspired terrorist offenders from Western states. From the start, the WJP has been based in a laboratory, staffed mainly by students, who collect and process data. At the same time, it supports an intensive educational program.

For three years now, Klausen has been involved the development of 2G computational social science methods for the analysis of networks and recruitment processes. She recently received an award from the National Institute of Justice, her third from the Department of Justice. Klausen is currently working on a book that traces the 30-year history of global jihadist networks in Western democratic nations. She spent 2016-2017 as a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington D.C. working on the manuscript. One product of her new focus is an article published in 2015 titled “Tweeting the Jihad.” The article has had around 40,000 unique downloads and was listed as the fifth most impactful article in medicine, health, STEM and social science with a woman as the lead author over the last five years (#100womeninscience).