Valentina Cantori is a sixth-year Ph.D. Candidate in the Sociology Department at the University of Southern California. Her interests include cultural sociology, sociology of religion, political sociology, and theory. She received her B.A. in Linguistic and Cultural Mediation from the University of Milan, where she also completed her first M.A. in Linguistics. She received her second M.A. in Nationalism Studies and Religious Studies from Central European University, Budapest.

Her current dissertation project focuses on investigating how American Muslims craft public representations of Islam and present “Muslimness” in U.S. civic spaces. For this project, Valentina is conducting participant observation in two Muslim advocacy organizations in Southern California. Her dissertation titled “Imagining Inclusion: How Muslim Advocates Craft Public Images in U.S. Civic Life,” has been funded by the American Sociological Assocoation Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant (ASA DDRIG 2023), the Society for the Scienyific Study of Religion Student Grant, and the Luce-AAR Advancing Public Scholarship Grant. 

Valentina Cantori has recently published an article in Sociology of Religion: A Quarterly Review: “Inclusive and Included? Practices of Civic Inclusivity of American Muslims in Los Angeles,” in which she investigates the bridging practices that two groups of American Muslims in U.S. civic spaces utilize to bridge religious differences with non-Muslims. In this study, she also points to the trade-offs that these bridging practices, or practices of civic inclusivity, offer and their important implications for understanding the implicit exclusionary mechanisms to which minorities are subject in U.S. civic spaces. 



“Inclusive and Included? Practices of Civic Inclusivity of American Muslims in Los Angeles.” Sociology of Religion: A Quarterly Review (2022),

“Civic Engagement as Religious Duty among American Muslims: Between ‘Muslim Charity’ and ‘Collective Goodness’ in a Muslim Food Pantry.” Journal of Muslim Minorities Affairs (2022).


  • M.A. Religion, Central European University, 6/2017
  • MA University of Milan, 2014
  • B.A. Linguistics, University of Milan, 2011
  • CERT Alquds University
  • CERT University of Damascus