Research Team

Dr. Marlene Schäfers


marlene schafers

Marlene Schäfers is a social anthropologist and holder of a Newton International Fellowship awarded by the British Academy. Her research focuses on the impact of state violence on intimate and gendered lives, the politics of death and the afterlife, and the intersections of affect and politics. She specializes in the anthropology of the Kurdish regions and modern Turkey. She holds a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge and was Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow at the Middle East and North Africa Research Group at Ghent University, Belgium. Her work has been published in Comparative Studies in Society and History, the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Society, the Journal of Middle East Women's Studies and Social Anthropology. She is co-editor of a special issue on loyalty and critique in resistance movements that is forthcoming with Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East and associate editor of the journal Kurdish Studies. In May 2020 she will deliver the Evans-Pritchard Lectures at All Souls College, Oxford.  


Dr Esin Düzel


Esin Duzel

Esin Duzel is a Fellow in Culture and Conflict at the LSE European Institute. She is a socio-cultural anthropologist with a PhD from University of California, San Diego (2016). She also holds MA in Comparative Studies from Ohio State University and BA in Cultural Studies from Sabanci University (Turkey).

Among her research and teachings interests are political violence, radical movements and utopia, gender and sexuality, memory and trauma studies, critical multiculturalism, critical race studies and feminist pedagogy. Her work spans Kurdish Studies, Middle East studies and New Europe studies. She taught courses on multiculturalism, racism and transnational feminism in the departments of Anthropology, Ethnic Studies and Critical Gender Studies at University of California, San Diego.

Her article, “Fragile Goddesses: Moral Subjectivity and Militarized Agencies in Female Guerrilla Diaries and Memoirs” is published by the International Feminist Journal of Politics, as Cynthia Enloe Award 2016 winner. She is currently working on her book, provisionally entitled, “Revolutionary Morality, Gendered Militancy: Kurdish movement in-between Radical and Liberal Democracies.”

Before London, she has lived, worked and studied in Istanbul, San Diego and Helsinki.


Dr Seçkin Sertdemir Özdemir

seckin_sertdemir photo 200 200

Seçkin Sertdemir Özdemir is visiting fellow in Contemporary Turkish Studies, European Institute at the London School of Economics and Political Science. She was previously visiting researcher in the Centre for Research on Modern European Philosophy, Kingston University from 2016 to 2017, and worked as a research fellow from 2003 to 2016 and then an assistant professor in the department of philosophy at Galatasaray University in 2016. After completing her joint PhD thesis on the subject of political freedom of Alexis de Tocqueville and Hannah Arendt at Paris VII-Denis Diderot University and Galatasaray University, her primary research goal was directed towards understanding the meaning of democracy and its paradoxes and on the current problems of political philosophy such as civil disobedience, voluntary servitude, the meaning of action, and political rights.

Her vision for the field of political philosophy is an interdisciplinary and international one that seeks to relate real-world problems and events to larger questions about political participation and ethical ways of living together in a swiftly shrinking world. Her recent publications include “Exile and plurality in neoliberal times: Turkey's academics for peace” (with Nil Mutluer and Esra Özyürek), Public Culture, vol. 31, no. 2, 2019; “Pity the exiled: Turkish academics in exile, the problem of compassion in politics and the promise of dis-exile”, Journal of Refugee Studies, February 2019 and “Civil and Civic death in the New Authoritarianisms: Punishment of Dissidents in Turkey” (with Esra Özyürek), British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, July 2019. She received for the paper titled ‘Citizenship deprivation, securitisation, and the neoliberal academy: academic purges in Turkey, 1933–2019’ the Best Conference Paper prize at the Past, Present and Future in the Middle East and Africa, Twelfth Annual Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa Conference (ASMEA) on 1st November 2019, Washington D.C., USA.


Dr Mehmet Kurt



Mehmet Kurt is a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Global Fellow at the London School of Economics (LSE) and Yale University. His research lies at the intersection of political science, sociology, and political ethnography with a specific focus on political Islam and civil society in Kurdish Turkey and among the Turkish diaspora in Europe and the USA. He examines the relationship between state policy and non-state actors to better understand Islamist mobilisation, its political, social, and economic grounds, and its influences on the masses in comparative perspective. He received his PhD from Selçuk University. He was a research assistant at Yale University, an assistant professor at Bingöl University (Turkey) and a British Academy Newton Advanced Fellow at Queen Mary University of London. He recently took part in the Dialogue about Radicalisation and Extremism (DARE) EU Horizon 2020 Project at the University of Manchester, before joining the LSE.

Kurt has published a monograph titled Kurdish Hizbullah in Turkey: Islamism, Violence, and the State (Pluto 2017). He has published widely in both English and Turkish on religion, civil society, human rights, and politics across Turkey and the Middle East.

In addition to his academic scholarship, Kurt has directed/co-directed an array of highly-received documentaries and ethnographic films, including The Seven Doors (forthcoming, 2019), I Miss my Country (2016), and Tandoor House (2015). He is also a regular contributor to media outlets across Europe and the Middle East, including the BBC, Open Democracy, Al Jazeera, and Jadaliyya.