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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)


I am a Professor of International Relations at the University of Cambridge, where I also have an appointment as a Politics Fellow at Emmanuel College.

I grew up in Istanbul, Turkey and moved to the US to attend Middlebury College, Vermont (BA in Political Science and Classical Studies). My graduate degrees are from University of Wisconsin - Madison (MA and PhD in Political Science). After graduation I worked as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in Politics at Washington & Lee University, Virginia, until I moved to Cambridge University in 2013. 

My research is at the intersection of historical sociology and IR, focusing on East-West relations in the international system, history and future of world order(s), conceptualisations of modernity and sovereignty, rising and declining powers, and Turkish politics in a comparative perspective. My articles can be found in journals such as American Political Science Review (forthcoming), International Organization, International Affairs, International Theory, International Studies Quarterly, European Journal of International Relations, Review of International Studies, among others. 

I am the author of After Defeat: How the East Learned to Live with the West (Cambridge University Press, 2011), which deals with international stigmatisation and the integration of defeated non-Western powers (Turkey after WWI, Japan after WWII and Russia after the Cold War) into the international system. This book was also published in Turkish as Yenilgiden Sonra: Doğu Batı ile Yaşamayı Nasıl Öğrendi from Koç University Press (2012), with a new introduction I wrote for Turkish readers. A second Turkish edition was published in 2019. Between 2013 and 2017, I oversaw an international collaboration aimed at theorising Hierarchies in World Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2017) [runner up for 2019 ISA Theory section prize].  

My most recent book, Before the West: the Rise and Fall of Eastern World Orders, which advances an alternative global history for IR focused on (Eur)asia, was published in 2022 by Cambridge University Press. This book retheorises sovereignty, order and decline from a more global perspective. It has won book prizes from the Social Science History Association, International Studies Association (ISA) Northeast Conference, ISA History section, ISA Theory section and American Political Science Association International Politics and History section. 

My research has been recognised by a number of funding institutions and professional associations: I have held fellowships funded by the Council on Foreign Affairs (as IAF), CRASSH (University of Cambridge), the Norwegian Nobel Institute and the University of Copenhagen/ERC. At the moment I am leading a two-year British Academy Knowledge Frontiers grant that will bring IR scholars and Global historians together to study historical periods of disorder. 

I am currently an Associate Editor at International Organization (2022-7).  I also sit on the editorial boards of the following journals: Review of International Studies, International Theory, International Relations, Conflict & Cooperation, International Political Science Review, Cambridge Review of International Affairs, Global Constitutionalism, Relaciones Internacionales and New Area Studies. I also serve on several advisory boards of various grants, centres and scientific committees. Since 2010, I have been a member of the PONARS Eurasia international academic network which advances new policy approaches to research and security in Russia and Eurasia. I also regularly author policy memos, edited book chapters, book reviews and pieces for a more general audience.

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International Relations Theory, International Orders, Sovereignty, East-West Relations


Key publications: 

For a complete list of publications see Google Scholar


Before the West: Rise and Fall of Eastern World Orders. ​Cambridge University Press, February 2022. 



Hierarchies in World Politics. Cambridge University Press, 2017. 
Ayşe Zarakol (editor & contributor); David Lake; Andrew Phillips; Michael Barnett; Laura Sjoberg; Vincent Pouliot; J.C. Sharman; Alex Cooley; Sarah Stroup and Wendy Wong; Rebecca Adler-Nissen; Shogo Suzuki; Jack Donnelly. 



After Defeat: How the East Learned to Live with the West. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011.



Yenilgiden Sonra: Doğu Batı ile Yaşamayı Nasıl Öğrendi. trans. Barış Cezar. Istanbul, Turkey: Koç University Press, 2012. (with a new Introduction)


Other publications: 


2021. (with Rebecca Adler-Nissen). 'Struggles for Recognition: The Liberal International Order and the Merger of its Discontents', International Organization (75th Anniversary Special Issue edited by David Lake, Lisa Martin and Thomas Risse). 75.2: 611-34.

2021.  'Anatomies of Revolution and Global Historical Sociology', Debating Anatomies of Revolution Forum hosted by Progress in Political Economy blog. April.

2021. 'Linking up the Ottoman Empire with IR's timeline', Routledge Handbook of Historical International Relations. Routledge. pp. 464-76. 

2021. 'Literary Hierarchies and Their Academic Parallels'. Symposium on Orhan Pamuk and the Good of World Literature. Syndicate Network. 

2021. 'Book Review: The Rebirth of Area Studies: Challenges for History, Politics and International Relations in the 21st Century', The Slavonic and East European Review 99.2: 393-94. 

2020. Did the COVID19 Pandemic End the 'Long Twentieth Century'? Symposium on Global Governance in the Age of COVID, Northwestern University. 

2020. 'Europe: A Family, A Marriage, A Social Club or Something Else Altogether?' in Giulio Squillacciotti, ed., What Has Left Since We Left: Europe through six metaphors​. Eindhoven, NL: ​Onomatopee.

2020. 'Use of Historical Analogies in IR Theory', ISSF Roundtable XII-2 on 'Steve Chan. Thucydides’s Trap?  Historical Interpretation, Logic of Inquiry, and the Future of Sino-American Relations.' H-Diplo. November 9.  

2020.  'On Global Historical Sociology: the inaugural Fletcher Prize Forum', Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 33:6, 888-890.

2020. (with Jelena Subotic). 'Historical Narratives, Memory and Emotions in International Relations', in Simon Koschut, ed., The Power of Emotions in World Politics​. London: Routledge.

2020. 'The Ottomans and Diversity', in Andrew Phillips and Chris Reus-Smit, eds., Culture and Order in World Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 

2019.  (with Zeynep Gülşah Çapan).'Turkey's Ambivalent Self: Ontological Insecurity in "Kemalism" vs. "Erdoğanism"', Cambridge Review of International Affairs 32.3: 263-282.

2019. 'Rise of the Rest: As Hype and Reality', International Relations  33.2 [Special Issue: Reflections on a Century of International Politics]: ​213–228.

2019. 'Turkish Foreign Policy', in Takashi Inoguchi, ed. The SAGE Handbook of Asian Foreign Policy​. Sage. 

2018. 'A Non-Eurocentric Approach to Sovereignty', International Studies Review​ 3.20, Forum: In the Beginning There was No Word (for it): Terms, Concepts and Early Sovereignty: 489-520 (page numbers for entire forum). 

2018. 'Sovereign Equality as Misrecognition', Review of International Studies​. 44.5: 848-62.

2018  (with Zeynep Gülşah Çapan). 'Between "East" and "West": Travelling Theories, Travelling Imaginations', in Andreas Gofas, Inanna Hamati-Ataya and Nicholas Onuf, eds., The SAGE Handbook of the History, Philosophy and Sociology of International Relations. ​Sage.

2017. 'Introduction: Theorising Hierarchies', in Ayşe Zarakol, ed., Hierarchies in World Politics. Cambridge Studies in International Relations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

2017. 'Why Hierarchy?', in Ayşe Zarakol, ed., Hierarchies in World Politics. Cambridge Studies in International Relations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

2017. 'Are Eurocentrism and Babel the only options?' Contribution to a post-publication ISQ Symposium on 'Comparing International Systems in World History: Anarchy, Hierarchy, and Culture', pp. 6-7.

2017  (with Zeynep Gülşah Çapan). 'Postcolonial colonialism? The case of Turkey', in Charlotte Epstein, ed. Against International Relations Norms. Routledge. 

2017. ‘Türkiye ve Rusya: Tarihsel Benzerlikler’, in Gencer Özcan, Evren Balta, Burç Beşgül (eds.) Kuşku ile Komşuluk: Türkiye ve Rusya İlişkilerinde Değişen Dinamikler. İstanbul İletişim Yayınları.

2017. 'States and Ontological Security: A Historical Rethinking',  Cooperation & Conflict​. 52.1: 48-68.

2017. 'TRIPping Constructivism'. PS: Political Science & Politics 50.1: 75-78.

2016. 'Thoughts on How the West Came to Rule', Spectrum: Journal of Global Studies 8.1: 21-30.

2016 (with Janice Bially Mattern). 'Hierarchies in World Politics', International Organization vol. 70, no. 3: 623-54. 

2016. Contribution to 'ISSF Roundtable 8-10 on The Global Transformation: History, Modernity and the Making of International Relations by Barry Buzan and George Lawson', H-Diplo/ISSF Roundtable Reviews vol. VIII, no. 10:  12-13.

2016. ‘Is Judicialization Good for Democracy: A Comparative Discussion,’ in Giorgi Areshidze, Paul Carrese and Suzanna Sherry, eds., Constitutionalism, Executive Power, and the Spirit of Moderation: Essays in Honor of Murray P. Dry. SUNY Press.

2015. 'Afterword: Creating a Community of Area Studies in a Changing World,' in Edith Clowes and Shelly Jarrett Bromberg, eds., Area Studies in the Global Age: Community, Place, Identity​. Northern Illinois University Press.

2015. 'Recalling the caliphate: decolonization and world order by S.Sayyid', Cambridge Review of International Affairs vol. 28, no. 3: 508-9. [Book review]

2015. Contribution to ‘Roundtable: International History and Reconceptualizing Empire’, International History and Politics Section Newsletter of the American Political Science
Association (APSA), vol. 1, issue 1.

2015. 'The Interplay between Regional International Societies: A Response to Thomas Linsenmaier', Global Discourse vol.5, no.3: 467-9.  

2015. 'Opting out of the European Union: diplomacy, sovereignty and European integration by Rebecca Adler-Nissen', Global Affairs vol.1, no.2: 216-8. [Book review]

2014. 'What made the modern world hang together: socialisation or stigmatisation?' International Theory vol.6, no.2: 311-332.

2014. 'Emerging Powers', Journal of Asian Studies vol.73, no.3: 778-80. [Book review]


Professor of International Relations
University Teaching Officer
Fellow, Emmanuel College

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