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Photograph of Cynthia Miller-Idriss

Cynthia Miller-Idriss Professor, School of Public Affairs and School of Education Department of Justice, Law & Criminology

Additional Positions at AU
Director of Research, Center for University Excellence (CUE)
Director, Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab (PERIL)
PhD Sociology, University of Michigan; MPP Public Policy, University of Michigan; MA Sociology, University of Michigan; AB Sociology and German Area Studies, magna cum laude, Cornell University

Cynthia Miller-Idriss is Professor in the School of Public Affairs and in the School of Education, and runs the Polarization and Extremism Research & Innovation Lab (PERIL) in the Center for University Excellence (CUE). Before her move into the School of Public Affairs in fall 2020, she was Professor of Education and Sociology at American University.
Dr. Miller-Idriss has testified before the U.S. Congress and regularly briefs policy, security, education and intelligence agencies in the U.S., the United Nations, and other countries on trends in domestic violent extremism and strategies for prevention and disengagement. She is the author of Hate in the Homeland: The New Global Far Right (Princeton University Press, 2020); The Extreme Gone Mainstream: Commercialization and Far Right Youth Culture in Germany (Princeton University Press, 2018); Seeing the World: How U.S. Universities Produce Knowledge about the World  (with Mitchell Stevens and Seteney Shami, Princeton University Press, 2018); Blood and Culture: Youth, Right-Wing Extremism, and National Belonging in Contemporary Germany (Duke University Press, 2009), co-editor of Middle East Studies for the New Millennium: Infrastructures of Knowledge (with Seteney Shami, New York University Press, 2016) and author of over two dozen peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and essays on nationalism, extremism, education, higher education and internationalization.

In addition to her academic work, Miller-Idriss writes frequently for mainstream audiences. She is an opinion columnist at MSNBC, and has additional recent by-lines in Foreign Affairs, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, CNN, The Hill, Politico, The Guardian, Le Monde, Salon, and more. She appears regularly in the media as an expert source and political commentator, including regular appearances on Fareed Zakaria GPS as well as other CNN news programs, PBS News Hour, NPR's Morning Edition and All Things Considered, MSNBC's Meet the Press Daily with Chuck Todd and Hardball with Chris Matthews, NBC's Evening News with Lester Holt and The Today Show, C-SPAN's Washington Journal, ABC's Good Morning America, and in global news outlets in over a dozen countries, including BBC News, Deutsche Welle, France 24, al Jazeera and more.

Dr. Miller-Idriss’ research has been funded by grants and fellowships from the National Science Foundation, the Spencer Foundation, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Economic and Social Research Council (U.K.) and the Goethe Institute, among others.  From 2009-2012 she was a nominated fellow in the Teagle Foundation’s National Forum on the Future of Liberal Education. She has received several research and teaching awards, including the 2019 DC Sociological Society's Morris Rosenberg Award and a 2013-14 global fellowship from Morphomata Center for Advanced Studies at the Universität zu Köln, Germany. Dr. Miller-Idriss serves on the international advisory board of the Center for Research on Extremism (C-REX) in Oslo, Norway, and is a member of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) Tracking Hate and Extremism Advisory Committee.

Prior to her arrival at American University in August 2013, Dr. Miller-Idriss served on the faculty of New York University for a decade, and also taught previously at the University of Maryland and the University of Michigan. She holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Sociology and a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Michigan, and a B.A. (magna cum laude) in Sociology and German Area Studies from Cornell University.


Spring 2022

  • EDU-386 Terrorism, Extremism & Educ

AU Experts

Area of Expertise

extremism, far-right movements, youth radicalization, higher education

Additional Information

Cynthia Miller-Idriss is Director of Research at the Center for University Excellence (CUE), where she runs the Polarization and Extremism Research and Innovation Lab (PERIL).

For the Media

To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.

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