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Photo of Associate Professor Jonathan Githens-Mazer

Associate Professor Jonathan Githens-Mazer

PhD London School of Economics, BA (Summa Cum Laude) Swarthmore College

Associate Professor in Ethno-Politics


01392 724032

Professor Jonathan Githens-Mazer is an academic based in the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies and the Strategy and Security Institute at the University of Exeter. He was awarded his PhD from the London School of Economics in 2005, and graduated from Swarthmore College in 1997. Githens-Mazer’s research examines nationalism, radicalisation, terrorism, counter-terrorism and he has published on these issues in Ireland, North Africa, and the United Kingdom. He has received funding for this research from the British Academy, Economic and Social Research Council and the Higher Education Innovation Fund. Some of his current research is to try to understand how to use technological innovation to buttress and improve qualitative research and ethnography, and to develop methods and techniques which use qualitative and ethnographic research to calibrate analysis of very large data sets. In 2013, he (as co-author) won the IEEE ASE SocialCom 2013 Best Paper award for this work. His current book projects include an examination the appeal of Salafi Islam amongst young gang members in South London and another that looks at the symbolic role of Islam for nationalism in North Africa. Githens-Mazer has worked extensively with Muslim communities in the UK and beyond, he acts as a consultant to the UK Government, MoD, DoD, NATO and the UN, and he is an Associate Fellow of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). He was a past president of the Association for the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism (ASEN), is currently on the Editorial Board of the OpenSecurity, and he has published extensively and appeared on radio and television on a number of different sites and stations including the Guardian, Al Jazeera, the Christian Science Monitor, the New York Times, the BBC, and Channel 4.

Githens-Mazer is also Director of Doctoral Studies and Deputy Director of Research in the Strategy and Security Institute (

I am a member of the middle eastern social science research cluster.

For office hours and research leave go here.


Research interests

My research has two main focuses. I have an interest in theories of nationalism, particularly ethno-symbolic approaches to nationalism, and how nationalist movements constitute a sustained form of contentious politics. I am keen to further the 'fleshing out' of ethno-symbolism - examining the mechanisms and processes which help to explain how national myths, memories and symbols may be understood to ‘resonate" amongst members of the nation, and how they can subsequently serve as a basis for nationalist mobilisation. I am also interested in moments when national myths, memories and symbols lead to popular changes in perspectives on the role of the nation, potentially helping to explain transformations in popular support from moderate and constitutional to radical and/or violent nationalisms. My first book, Myths and Memories of the Easter Rising has provided the foundation for my latest research, which compares the radicalisation of nationalism in the Irish (1916) and Algerian (1955) cases.

My latest research examines 'radicalisation', particularly in relation to myths, memories and symbols of the past. My ESRC funded project (Cultures of Repression), examines how colonial violence and repression contributes to narratives of radicalisation amongst North African immigrants and inidividuals of North African descent in Britain, France and Spain. In this research, I am also interested in methodologically separating issues of 'causation' (why radicalisation happens) from 'recuitment' (how inidividuals are recruited to participate in this form of political violence).

Research supervision

Theories of nationalism,

ethno-symbolist approaches to nationalism
ethnic conflict
national myths, memories and symbols
nationalist mobilisation

Irish nationalism
Algerian nationalism



I am the lecturer in politics at the Cornwall Campus. My undergraduate degree was from Swarthmore College in the USA, and I completed my PhD in the Government Department at the London School of Economics in 2005. I have formerly been a lecturer in politics at Queen Mary, University of London (2003-4) and Nottingham Trent University (2005-6).

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