Back to top

Dilan Okcuoglu Professorial Lecturer School of International Service

Send email to Dilan Okcuoglu
SIS - School of International Service
Additional Positions at AU
Postdoctoral Fellow
PhD, Political Studies, Queen's University (Canada); MA, Political Studies, Queen's University (Canada); MA, Political Science, Central European University; BA, Economics, Bogazici University.

Dilan Okcuoglu is a postdoctoral fellow and professorial lecturer in School of International Service at the American University in Washington, DC. Before that, she was a visiting scholar at the Cornell University, M. Einaudi Center for International Studies. Also, affiliated with the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Diversity and Democracy (CRIDAQ) at the Université du Québec à Montréal in 2018-2019. She received her PhD and MA in Political Studies from Queen’s University in Canada where she was also affiliated with Center for the Study of Democracy and Diversity as well as the Laboratory for Ethnic Conflict Research.

Dr. Okcuoglu has an interdisciplinary background in politics, economics and philosophy. Her teaching and research interests primarily lie in the politics of MENA, conflict and peace studies, comparative territorial and border politics, Kurdish politics, democratization, ethnic politics and nationalism as well as state-minority relations in conflict zones.  She is currently working on her book proposal in addition to two scholarly publications. For more details, please see her CV attached.

Courses Taught:

• Ethnic Conflict, Political Violence and Peace (American University, School of International Service, 2021)
o This course offers a global framework to understand and examine the drivers of ethnic conflict and political violence.

• International Conflict Analysis (Bogazici University, 2013)
o The purpose of this course is to make empirical and normative assessments of state policies vis-à-vis minority groups in ethnically divided societies.

• International Regimes: States, Regimes and Democratization in the Middle East (Queen’s University, Canada, 2016)
o The purpose of this course is to develop conceptual and empirical understanding of interlocking relations on states, regimes and political change.

• Teaching Assistant, DEVS 240: Culture and Development (2018);

• Teaching Assistant, POLS 241: Political Transformations (2018);

• Teaching Assistant, POLS 242: Comparative Regimes (2016);

• Teaching Assistant, POLS 242A: Comparative Politics (2012; 2010);

• Guest Lecturer, POLS 243: Democracy and Democratization (2012);

• Teaching Assistant, POLS 243: Democracy and Democratization (2011)

• Head Teaching Assistant, POLS 243: State, Nation, and Democracy (2012);

• Teaching Assistant, POLS 101: Introduction to Politics (2010);

• Teaching Assistant, POLS 250: Political Theory (2009).

• Research Assistant, Prof. John McGarry and Prof. Margaret Moore (2012-2010; 2008)


Book Chapters and Articles:

“The Kurdish Movement in Turkey: Understanding Everyday Perceptions and Experiences” Oxford Handbook of Turkish Politics edited by Günes Murat Tezcür. London: Oxford University Press, 2021. (

“Rethinking democracy and autonomy through the case of the Kurdish movement in Turkey” Democratic Representation in Plurinational States: The case of Kurds in Turkey edited by Ephraim Nimni and Elcin Aktoprak in the series on Comparative Territorial Politics (edited by Michael Keating). London: Palgrave MacMillan, 2019. )

“Representation of Kurdishness in the Turkish Academia: A Quest for the Ethical Principles of Spatial Justice,” Birikim, 321 (Ocak 2016): 108-115.


Scholars in Context: Dilan Okcuoglu, Jadaliyya, December 2021:

Book Reviews:

Hardi, Choman. Gendered Experiences of Genocide (London: Ashgate, 2011), International Feminist Journal of Politics, vol. 15 No. 1, (Jan. 2103);

Ozar, Semsa, Handan Caglayan and Ayse Tepe. Ne Degisti? Kurt Kadinlarinin Zorunlu Goc Deneyimi (What Changed? Experiences of Kurdish Women on Forced Migration) (Ankara: Ayizi Kitap, 2011), International Feminist Journal of Politics, vol. 15 No. 3, (Sept. 2013);

Manuscripts under review:

“State-building and Borderlands: Ethnic Control of the Turkish State on an Everyday Level,” (Politics and Society);

Work on submission:

“Informal Control: Everyday Lives of State-building in Turkey’s Kurdish Borderlands” (Book Proposal to be submitted to Cambridge University Press)

Works in Progress:

“Why did the peace process fail in Turkey? The role of territorial control examined” (in progress). To be submitted to Democratization (Fall 2022)

“An insider/outsider in the field: Observations from a zero-level border town in Turkey’s Kurdistan” (in progress). To be submitted to PS: Politics and Political Science (Summer 2022)

“Comparative Study on Ambiguities and Contestations of State Spatiality in Turkey’s Borderlands” (in progress). To be submitted to Security Dialogue (Winter 2023).


“Informal Control of the Turkish State: Lived Experiences from Kurdish Borderlands” Journal of Middle Eastern Politics and Policy, Harvard University Kennedy School Student Publication, 2021:

“The trials of betrayal,” Jerusalem Post, November 2019 (co-authored with Prof. Uriel Abulof):

“The elusive quest for peace between the Turks and the Kurds,” The Conversation Canada, January 2019:

“La quete Kurde de l’autonomie territoriale,” Le Devoir, August 2015 (translated by Remi Carbonneau): autonomie-territoriale

“Local peace-building in Turkey’s Kurdish borderlands,” Insight on Conflict, May 2015:

Newspaper Articles:

“The plight of Kurdish children in Turkish prisons,” Rudaw, April 2012:

“Memories behind postum (Armenian drink) in cookbook,” Turkish Daily News, July 2008:

“Observational style used to present real stories-What a beautiful democracy!” Turkish Daily News, July 2008:

“At the urban epicenter of Kurdish pain,” Turkish Daily News, August 2008:


Harvard University, Center for Middle East Studies, “Panel Title: De-development and Political Violence: The Kurds in Iran and Turkey,” (April 2022)

Johns Hopkins University, School of Advanced International Studies, “Panel: Political Struggles of Kurds: Regional, National and Subnational Dynamics,” (April 2022)

Northwestern University, Buffett Institute of Global Affairs, “Panel Title: Geopolitics, Actors and Encounters in Contested Borderlands,” (Spring 2022)

UCLA, Center for Near Eastern Studies, “Panel Title: The Making and Unmaking of Borders and the State,” (October 2021)

Middle East and Islamic Studies Aotearoa (MEISA) Network in New Zealand, “Roundtable: Graduate School, Publishing and Job Market Tips,” (May 2021)

R. Bosch Academy, Berlin, “Roundtable: The Role of Europe in MENA’s Conflict Zones,” (March 2021)

Center for Kurdish Progress, London, “The Biden Administration and US-Kurdish Relations” (February 2021)

American University, School of International Service, “Violence, Control and Governance in Turkey’s Kurdish Borderlands” in “War Crimes and Catastrophe Symposium,” (November 2020)

American University, School of International Service, Complex Governance Research Cluster, “A Micro-Study of Territorial Control in Turkey: Rethinking the Kurdish Case at the Local Level,” (November 2020)

Brown University, Center for Middle East Studies, Watson Institute, “Contested Borders and Sovereignty at the Margins of Turkey,” (February 2020)

Cornell University, Reppy Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies, M. Einaudi Centre of International Studies, “Ambiguous Geographies of Violence, Control and Peace in Turkey: Revisiting the Kurdish Case at the Local Level,” (October 2019)
See Also
My Website
For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.