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Monica Duffy Toft

Monica Duffy Toft

Former Associate Professor of Public Policy; Former Board Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Former Director, Initiative on Religion and International Affairs.

 

 

By Program/Project

 

International Security

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September 17, 2011

"The 'Glocalized' Roots of Religious Politics: Extremism from Below, Not Abroad"

Op-Ed, The Huffington Post

By Monica Duffy Toft, Former Associate Professor of Public Policy; Former Board Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Former Director, Initiative on Religion and International Affairs.

"What the Arab uprisings revealed is that today's people, in the Arab world assuredly but not only there, desire less a unified ideology around a single leader or leadership that touts triumphalism over some form of evil and more a system of governance that promotes accountability, transparency and protects every individual's needs and interests."

 

 

AP Photo

August 11, 2011

"The Dangers of Secularism in the Middle East"

Op-Ed, Christian Science Monitor

By Daniel Philpott, Timothy Samuel Shah and Monica Duffy Toft, Former Associate Professor of Public Policy; Former Board Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Former Director, Initiative on Religion and International Affairs.

"...[W]e find that religious groups are most likely to be peaceful and supportive of democracy when they live under regimes that respect their autonomy. Islamic countries as diverse as Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mali, Senegal, and Turkey demonstrate that when Islamic parties participate in politics they not only operate by the rules of the democratic game but also, in time, become more moderate."

 

 

AP Photo

May 20, 2011

"God and Terror"

Op-Ed, Public Discourse

By Timothy Samuel Shah, Daniel Philpott and Monica Duffy Toft, Former Associate Professor of Public Policy; Former Board Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Former Director, Initiative on Religion and International Affairs.

"...[R]eligion has made a political comeback, abetted by globalization, democratization, and technological development. Those religious actors who are most closely integrated with state authority and who hold a political theology that calls for state sponsorship, the subordination of minorities, and the use of violence are most likely to be violent. Those who have remained independent of state authority and carry a political theology that prescribes democracy, peace, and reconciliation are most likely to be peaceful and democratic."

 

 

AP Photo

May 18, 2011

"God and Democratic Diplomacy"

Op-Ed, Public Discourse

By Timothy Samuel Shah, Daniel Philpott and Monica Duffy Toft, Former Associate Professor of Public Policy; Former Board Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Former Director, Initiative on Religion and International Affairs.

"Democracy, with its open debate and its popular control, was supposed to have exposed religion as a crutch for primitive people. Surprisingly, though, religion has profited precisely from the open debate and room to operate that democracy affords. The best squelchers of religion are, in fact, secular dictators."

 

 

AP Photo

May 16, 2011

"God and Political Science"

Op-Ed, Public Discourse

By Timothy Samuel Shah, Daniel Philpott and Monica Duffy Toft, Former Associate Professor of Public Policy; Former Board Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Former Director, Initiative on Religion and International Affairs.

"...[T]he success of these political enemies of God helped to make it seem that secularization was the wave of the future. They made it seem that religion was a dying supernova, enjoying its penultimate glow before disappearing from history. They made it easily forgivable to think of the 20th century as the 'Godless Century,' at least as far as politics was concerned, making it increasingly common to ask whether God was dead, as Time magazine famously did on its cover in April 1966. They made it possible to view religion as absolutely defenseless in the face of modernity."

 

 

AP Photo

April 17, 2011

"God's Partisans Are Back"

Op-Ed, The Chronicle of Higher Education

By Monica Duffy Toft, Former Associate Professor of Public Policy; Former Board Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Former Director, Initiative on Religion and International Affairs., Daniel Philpott and Timothy Samuel Shah

"But if American foreign-policy makers want to promote democracy and stability, they must come to realize that secularism is a poor analytical tool. The great surprise of the past generation has been the resurgence of religion's influence. Despite a powerful array of secularizing regimes, ideologies, and social trends, religion has not only outlasted its most ferocious 20th-century rivals, but in many cases, it also appears poised to supplant them. The Brotherhood is a perfect example: An organization that survived decades of harsh repression is now in a position to wield considerable influence in Egypt."

 

 

AP Photo

April 6, 2011

"Does the U.S. Have a Responsibility to Protect the Libyan People?"

Op-Ed, The Huffington Post

By Monica Duffy Toft, Former Associate Professor of Public Policy; Former Board Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Former Director, Initiative on Religion and International Affairs.

"...[T]he question that should have stopped the intervention in the first place: Are there reasonable prospects for success? Or might the use of force produce more harm than good?"

 

 

March 2011

God's Century: Resurgent Religion and Global Politics

Book

By Monica Duffy Toft, Former Associate Professor of Public Policy; Former Board Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Former Director, Initiative on Religion and International Affairs., Daniel Philpott and Timothy Samuel Shah

Is religion a force for good or evil in world politics? How much influence does it have? Despite predictions of its decline, religion has resurged in political influence across the globe, helped by the very forces that were supposed to bury it: democracy, globalization, and technology. And despite recent claims that religion is exclusively irrational and violent, its political influence is in fact diverse, sometimes promoting civil war and terrorism but at other times fostering democracy, reconciliation, and peace. Looking across the globe, the authors explain what generates these radically divergent behaviors.

 

 

AP Photo

December 22, 2010

"Working Toward a Russia For All"

Op-Ed, Moscow Times

By Simon Saradzhyan, Fellow, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Monica Duffy Toft, Former Associate Professor of Public Policy; Former Board Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Former Director, Initiative on Religion and International Affairs.

The show of force by ultranationalists across Russia should serve as a wake-up call for the authorities, write Simon Saradzhyan, a Belfer Center research fellow, and Monica Duffy Toft, associate professor of public policy. "While [the authorities] took some steps over the past few years to dismantle violent ultranationalist groups, more needs to be done — and soon," they argue.  

 

 

AP Photo

June 14, 2010

"Understanding Rationality in Religious Violence"

Op-Ed, The Huffington Post

By Monica Duffy Toft, Former Associate Professor of Public Policy; Former Board Member, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; Former Director, Initiative on Religion and International Affairs.

"[R]eligion is not necessarily the sole driving force of much of the large-scale violence we see today. Nationalism remains a powerful peer competitor. Since 1940 only about one-third of all civil wars had a religious basis, and of these only about half featured religion as a central issue. However, if you look at the nature of ongoing civil wars, half of them now have religion as an element. More often than not religion is married to nationalism. Religion alone is rarely the sole culprit."

 

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