Kelly was selected to present at the 2nd annual Nanovic Institute for European Studies Conference 2020 that was scheduled for March 27th at University of Notre Dame. Due to the pandemic, the conference was cancelled. The conference’s theme was “Contesting the Idea of ‘Europe’” and organizers requested abstracts from research dealing with pressing issues in contemporary European life; their often fraught historical contexts; and their significance for dialogue between scholars, policymakers, and the general public. Kelly's research on Western Muslim women joining the Islamic State and the Orientalist frameworks that limit the West’s understanding of this phenomenon was selected for one of seven presentations at the conference. Some of the country’s top institutions were also represented in the presentations, including Yale, University of Michigan, University of Notre Dame and UC Berkeley.
Kelly's research examined the role Orientalism plays in the West’s understanding of Muslims and women. These Orientalist frameworks have been utilized by scholars and news media to understand why Western women are leaving their countries to join the Islamic State. The static frameworks exclude critical components to understanding the women’s motivations and, thus, create incomplete conclusions. Concepts such as agency, structure, feminism and Islamophobia need to be utilized to create an adequate analysis of a multi-dimensional issue.