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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)


Banu Turnaoğlu is an Affiliated Lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS).


Banu Turnaoğlu is an Affiliated Lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS). She was a Research Associate at St. John’s College, Cambridge and held a postdoctoral position as an Early Career Leverhulme Fellow at POLIS, from which she received her PhD supervised by Professor John Dunn. 

Her dissertation on “The Formation of Turkish Republicanism (1299-1923)” was awarded the Political Studies Association’s 2015 Sir Ernest Barker Prize for Best Dissertation in Political Theory. Before Cambridge, she obtained an MSc in Political Theory from the University of Oxford and a BA in International Relations and History (double major) from Koç University, Istanbul.


Banu’s research lies at the intersection of political theory, global intellectual history, international relations, and Ottoman political thought. She is primarily interested in the topics of republicanism, democracy, and imperialism and related questions of the nature and sources of the modern international order, more generally linking existing patterns of political development with contemporary events. She is the author of The Formation of Turkish Republicanism (Princeton University Press, 2017), which examines the origins and development of republican thinking and conceptions of the state within the intellectual and political context of the Ottoman Empire.


She is working on a new book manuscript, provisionally entitled The Eastern Question: A New History, which is under contract with Princeton University Press. It traces the deep roots of the “Eastern Question” – a defining international issue concerning the Great Powers’ rivalry over the territorial management of the Ottoman Empire – from its conceptual origins in the 1820s until after the First World War and explores its continued historical and political legacy in the Middle East, Europe and Caucasus today. It reconstructs the history of the Eastern Question with the combined perspectives of both West and non-West in an intertwined transnational discourse and over a longue durée. In examining the debates that this question generated on war and peace, the union of the states, civilisation, nationalism, and empire, the project offers insight into the way in which these ideas and dynamics reshaped the ideological bases of the modern international order.


Key publications: 


The Formation of Turkish Republicanism (Princeton University Press, 2017).

The Eastern Question: A New History (provisional title), under contract, Princeton University Press.




Journal Articles


“Despotism (İstibdad) in Ottoman Political Thought,” History of Political Thought, vol. 41, issue 1 (2020): 16-42.


“The Eastern Question and the Ottoman Empire,” Modern History Review, vol. 22, no. 4 (2020).


“Positivist Universalism and Republicanism of the Young Turks,” Modern Intellectual History, vol. 14, issue 3 (2017): 777-805.


“A Battle of Ideologies in the Formative Years of the Turkish Republic,” Middle Eastern Studies, vol. 52, issue 4 (2016): 677-93.


“Neo-Roma ve Neo-Atina Cumhuriyetçiliği: Türkiye, Cumhuriyetçilik ve Demokratikleşme” [Neo-Roman and Neo-Athenian Republicanism: Turkey, Republicanism and Democratisation], co-authored with Professor Fuat Keyman, Doğu-Batı, sayı 47, (2009): 37-65.


Book Chapters

“The Origins of Turkish Radical Republicanism,” in Bruno Leipold, Karma Nabulsi, Stuart White (eds.), Radical Republicanism: Recovering the Tradition's Popular Heritage (Oxford University Press, 2020).


“The New Ottoman Conception of War, State and Society in the Prelude to the First World War,” in Dimitris Stamatopoulos (ed.), European Revolutions and the Ottoman Balkans: Nationalism, Violence and Empire in the Long Nineteenth-Century (I.B. Tauris, 2020).

Teaching and Supervisions


POL 8/10: History of Political Thought, c.1700-c.1890

POL 11: Political Philosophy and the History of Political Thought since c.1890

Affiliated Lecturer

Contact Details

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