Juliette Galonnier

Area(s) of Interest:  Race, Ethnicity, Religion, Islam, Qualitative Research, Comparative Sociology, Urban Sociology


In a world where the categories of race and religion have become closely intertwined, my research focuses on white converts to Islam as anomalous individuals. Using in-depth interviewing with 80 converts, ethnographic observations in convert associations and content analysis of media and historical documents, I compare how French and American Muslim converts relate to their allegedly dissonant religious and racial identities in national contexts where Islam has been racialized as foreign. As individuals who used to belong to the “invisible majority” and are suddenly stigmatized for embracing a minority religion, converts allow us to observe in real time how racial categorization is reconfigured by religious conversion.


Articles in peer-reviewed journals

  • (with Hamzi Khateb, Géraldine Mossière, Amélie Puzenat), “Conversions à l’islam: culture, ethnicité, race, religion,” Archives en sciences sociales des religions (introduction to a special issue with six articles), forthcoming
  • (with Solène Brun), “Devenir(s) minoritaire(s) : la conversion des Blanc-he-s à l’islam en France et aux Etats-Unis comme expérience de la minoration,” Tracés, 2016, vol. 16, n°30, p. 29-54
  • (with Diego de los Rios), “Teaching and Learning to be Religious: Pedagogies of Conversion to Islam and Christianity,” Sociology of Religion, 2016, vol. 77, n°1, p. 59-81
  • “The Racialization of Muslims in France and the United States: Some Insights from White Converts to Islam,” Social Compass, 2015, vol. 62, n°4, p. 570-583
  • “The Enclave, the Citadel and the Ghetto:  The Three-fold Segregation of Upper-Class Muslims in India,” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 2015, vol. 39, n°1, pp. 92-111

 Book chapters

  • “Moving In or Moving Towards: Reconceptualizing Conversion to Islam as a Liminal Process”, in Karin van Nieuwkerk (ed.), Moving in and out of Islam, forthcoming
  • “Les convertis blancs à l’islam en France et aux Etats-Unis : la racialisation du religieux au prisme d’un cas atypique ” in Le religieux au prisme de l’ethnicisation et de la racisation, Actes de colloque, Nanterre: PUPO, forthcoming
  • “Aligarh: Sir Syed Nagar and Shah Jamal. Contrasted Tales of a Muslim City”, in GAYER, Laurent, JAFFRELOT, Christophe (ed.), Muslims of Indian Cities: Trajectories of Marginalization, London/New York: Hurst/Columbia University Press, 2012, pp. 129-158


  • “When ‘White Devils’ Join the Deen: White American Converts to Islam and the Experience of Non-Normative Whiteness,” Notes&Documents, Sciences Po Paris/OSC, February 2015, URL: http://www.sciencespo.fr/osc/sites/sciencespo.fr.osc/files/nd_2015_01.pdf
  • (with Violette Graff), “Hindu-Muslim Communal Riots in India I (1947-1986),” Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence, July 2013, URL: http://www.massviolence.org/Hindu-Muslim-Communal-Riots-in,736, ISSN 1961-9898
  • (with Violette Graff), “Hindu-Muslim Communal Riots in India II (1986-2011),” Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence, August 2013, URL: http://www.massviolence.org/Hindu-Muslim-Communal-Riots-in,738, ISSN 1961-9898


  • Northwestern Presidential Fellowship (Induction ceremony, May 6th, 2015)
  • Robert Winch Award delivered by the Sociology Department of Northwestern University for the Best Second-Year Paper (Winter 2014)


Juliette is in the joint PhD program between Northwestern University and Sciences Po (Paris).

She co-organized the international conference “Investigating conversions to Islam: which approaches in social sciences?”, held at Sciences Po (Paris) on February 15-16th 2016. Around twenty papers were discussed with presenters coming from a wide range of countries: France, Belgium, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Poland, Ukraine, Latvia, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Australia.

Content is available here: http://www.sciencespo.fr/osc/fr/content/podcast-rendre-compte-des-conversions-lislam-investigating-conversions-islam