Jean-François Ratelle is a part-time faculty member at the University of Ottawa, and an adjunct Professor at Carleton University. He completed his Ph.D at the University of Ottawa in 2012, and a Postdoctoral Fellowship at George Mason University. His main research interests include the micro-dynamics of violence, civil wars, terrorism, Islamic radicalization, the North Caucasus, and the Balkans.
His doctoral research in political science analyses the processes and pathways of violent radicalization and engagement in the North Caucasus following the end of the counter-terrorist operation in Chechnya in April 2009. In order to write his dissertation, he conducted a 13-month fieldwork research in Russia including 6 months in the North Caucasus (Chechnya, Dagestan, Kabardino-Balkaria).
He conducted interviews with a broad spectrum of political actors including (ex)-insurgents in Dagestan and Chechnya in order to identify the factors and processes that lead individuals toward the insurgent groups and terrorism. His fieldwork experience and his theoretical reflection about the processes and pathways leading toward terrorism offer an important comparative material in order to study home-grown terrorism and radicalization in Canada. His research about the North Caucasus also touches at the programs of deradicalization and disengagement which also offers a crucial comparative material for the Canadian case.
Finally, his actual research also put forward a multi-disciplinary approach by relying on active political ethnography on the field as well as socio-psychological analysis of the processes of radicalization. Ratelle’s future research plans seek to push forward his analysis of these processes by broadening comparative cases to Western countries with important Muslim minorities.