Assistant Professor of International Relations
Johns Hopkins University
School of Advanced International Studies
I am fascinated by the intersection of identity politics, protest dynamics, pop culture, and foreign policy. My regional focus is on Turkey and its neighborhood relations, particularly in Europe and the Middle East. My 2018 book from Oxford University Press, Identity Politics Inside Out: National Identity Contestation and Foreign Policy in Turkey, examines how Turkey's Justice and Development Party (AKP) used foreign policy gambits to weaken its domestic obstacles and open up space for disseminating its own Ottoman Islamist understanding of Turkish national identity. My current book project, under contract with Cambridge University Press, examines state-society struggles over identity in Turkey through the lens of pop culture.
My recent BJMES article explores pop culture as a vernacular platform of resistance against the Turkish government's increasing authoritarianism. I preview both these works for a wide audience in a recent Washington Post article exploring how two rap videos galvanized Turkey's embattled opposition around issues ranging from increasing violence against women to environmental degradation to apathy. I also discuss these dynamics on a panel on art and authoritarianism in Turkey with one of the video's creators, rapper Sarp Palaur (aka Şanışer).
Turkey is a culturally vibrant and intellectually puzzling state, from aspects of civil-military relations to ethnic and gender politics to regional (in)security. While a traditional Western ally, Turkey is an increasingly erratic actor at home and abroad, most visibly in Syria and Libya. Understanding its domestic and foreign policies is vital, and demands innovative forms of analysis that can be communicated to academic audiences, policy communities, and university classrooms. With this aim, I speak and write widely on Turkey’s relations in its complex neighborhood as well as with the US and the EU, the Syrian refugee crisis, Kurdish and Alevi issues, and the ruling AKP’s increasingly authoritarian grip on Turkish politics and society. My academic work includes publications in British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, Nationalities Papers, European Journal of International Relations, International Journal of Turkish Studies, Survival, and Project on Middle East Political Science Series. I also have contributed to Foreign Policy, the Washington Post's Monkey Cage, Boston Globe, War on the Rocks, BBC World News, and other media outlets as well as to government and think-tank panels and publications.
I am thrilled to work with Johns Hopkins SAIS students in teaching courses on foreign policy decision-making, comparative politics, social movements, and the intersection of politics and pop culture. Prior to joining SAIS, I was a postdoctoral fellow at Cornell University in AY 2015-16 and a Visiting Assistant Professor at Barnard College, Columbia University in AY 2016-17.