A Professor of Political Science in the Department of Philosophy and Political Science, I am currently Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Theology at TU Dortmund University, Germany.
From 1996 to 2001, I studied Social Sciences and Geography at Giessen University (Germany) and the University of Tampere (Finland), completing my Ph.D. as a DAAD-scholarship-holder at Giessen University with a thesis on Indonesia's democratic transition in 2003. In the following years, I became a DFG Postdoctoral Research Fellow and directed several projects for Germany's Federal Foreign Office. In 2008, I completed my habilitation on transnational Islamism, followed by an interim professorship in International Relations at the University of Jena. In 2009, I became an Associate Professor, was Head of Department from 2011-14, and was made a Full Professor of Political Science at TU Dortmund University in 2013. In the same year, I was admitted to the Global Young Faculty (GYF) of the Mercator Foundation. From 2014-16, I worked as a Vice-Dean for Research and Finance in my faculty.
Whether in research, teaching or consulting, I am internationally focused: I have been a visiting researcher at Yale University, New Haven, CT (USA), Parahyangan Catholic University Bandung (Indonesia), the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), the University of Lucerne (Switzerland), and ADA University Baku (Azerbaijan).
In terms of research, I am particularly interested in issues related to security. While I had established a regional focus on Southeast Asia in the earlier stages of my career, I have since broadened my scope. In recent years, I have concentrated on topics such as transnational terrorism and military interventions. In particular, I am keen to derive a theory of Islamism which will help to understand the motivations and the behavior of Islamist groups. Currently, I am trying to shed some light on the prospects and limitations of militant Islamist disengagements.
I am the author of several books and many articles, including "A Conceptual Framework of Sunni Islamism" (Politics, Religion & Ideology), "Peacebuilding through Militant Islamist Disengagement: conclusions drawn from the case of Al-Gama'a al-Islamiyya in Egypt" (Peacebuilding), "For Still by Policy the World is Ruled? On the Decreasing Significance of Critical Security Studies/the Welsh School in IR", (Zeitschrift für Internationale Beziehungen (zib, published in German, together with Steve Schlegel), and "How Islamist is the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG)? An ideological assessment" (Asian Security).
Moreover, I have been the Principal Investigator (PI) of several research and consulting projects focusing, among other issues, on aspects of democratization in Southeast Asia and regional co-operation in Central Asia. Recently, I became a co-director to establish a new Graduate School on Politcal Cohesion (GSPC), which is a joint venture of TU Dortmund University and RUB.