Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Cornell University
Turkey, identity, foreign policy, Kurds, Syria, protest dynamics, social movements
Media Contact

Personal Info

About Me

I am currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of International Relations in the Political Science Department of Barnard College, Columbia University, where I teach courses on political violence and terrorism, psychological approaches to foreign policy decision-making, social movements, and the politics of the MENA. I received my Ph.D. in Political Science from George Washington University, and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Cornell University’s Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies in AY 2015-16. Next year I will start as an Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.
My current book manuscript draws on 18 months of fieldwork across Turkey I conducted while based as a Visiting Research Fellow at Bilkent University in Ankara. Using Turkey as an empirical window into broader links between identity and international relations, I develop an “inside out” theory of identity contestation to account for how the contours of debates over national identity change over time, and the conditions under which these debates spill over into foreign policy. In brief, I theorize when and how internal identity politics becomes externalized. Using data I gathered from a wide array of popular culture and social media sources as well as interviews, surveys, participant observation, and archival documents, I employ intertextual analysis to identify competing proposals for national identity present in Turkey. I then use process tracing to identify shifts in foreign policy initiatives, as well as the discourses that both reflect and shape identity politics, allowing me to account for puzzling outcomes such as the foreign policy swing toward and then away from the EU, and the explosion of “Ottomania” in everything from pop culture to political campaigns.  Future projects include an analysis of the conditions under which domestic civil society groups choose to engage global governance actors in attempting to advance their platforms back home, an analysis of how the use of satire and insult by regimes and their opposition movements shape the escalation dynamics of protests, and an investigation of pop culture’s role as a vernacular forum in which perspectives on foreign policy are reflected, informed, and contested.

Recent Publications
  1. “Opportunity Missed: Identities Alignment and Turkey’s Kurdish Question,” Project on Middle East Political Science Studies, Vol. 22.
  1. “Take It Outside! National Identity Contestation in the Foreign Policy Arena,” European Journal of International Relations, Vol. 22, No. 2.
  1. “Adding Insult to Injury: Vilification as Counter-Mobilization in Turkey’s Gezi Protests,” Project on Middle East Political Science Studies, Vol. 20.
  1. “Mapping the Dynamics of Identity Contestation: Hybridization, Polarization, and Self-Marginalization,” Paper Series for Cornell University’s Einaudi Center for International Studies, 1 June.
  1. “Turkey’s Post-Putsch Purge,” The Boston Globe, 28 July 2016.
  1. “What’s Next for Fractured Turkey?” International Peace Institute (Global Observatory), 21 July.
  1. “The Dark Side of the Mobilization that Stopped Turkey’s Coup,” The Washington Post (The Monkey Cage blog), 21 July.
  1. “The Real Refugee Crisis Is in the Middle East, Not Europe,” The Washington Post (The Monkey Cage blog), 14 May. With Rawan Arar and Kelsey Norman.

2015. “The Heinous Consequences of Turkey’s Polarization,” The Washington Post (Monkey Cage blog), 15 October.

2014. “No Opposition, No Democracy in Turkey’s Elections,” The Washington Post (Monkey cage blog), 3 April.

2013. “Us v. Them, Over and Over Again? National Identity in Turkey’s Stalled EU Bid,” Turkish Policy Quarterly, Vol. 12, No. 1.

2013. “The Might of the Pen(guin) in Turkey’s Protests,” Foreign Policy, 6 June.

2012. “Reading Turkish Politics from a Soap Opera,” Foreign Policy, 12 December.

Media Coverage

Live interview with BBC World News

Live interview with Knowledge@Wharton

Country Focus
Turkey, Turkey-Syria-ISIS, Turkey-EU, Kurdish region, Middle East

Research Areas

If this is your entry, please click here to request a link to edit your information.