Esen Kirdis

Esen Kirdis

Associate Professor of International Studies, J.S. Seidman Research Fellow; Program Chair, Jewish, Islamic and Middle East Studies

I grew up in three different countries on three different continents, all of which have undergone massive transformations in the last twenty years. Turkey, where I was born, has been experiencing a fundamental questioning of its Republican form of government and a resurgence of religion in public life, and has sought to plant its feet firmly in Europe through its efforts to join the EU. I lived in Germany from 1989 to 1994 – soon after unification and the collapse of the communist bloc, and experienced the simmering resentment against immigrants, especially Turks. And I have lived in the US since 2005, experiencing firsthand changes in US foreign policy in the aftermath of 9/11. Such global changes over the last twenty years that not only affect domestic and international politics but also the lives of ordinary individuals form the background to my academic interests. Hence, my research and teaching interests focus on the relationship between religion and politics, Islamic movements and parties, Middle East and North Africa, cross-religious comparative politics, judicial politics, authoritarian persistence, and democratization.


Kirdiş, Esen. 2022. “Revisiting Religious Economy Models: The Decline of Religious Engagement among Turkish Youth.Political Science Quarterly 137 (1): 73-97.

Kirdiş, Esen. 2021. “Islamic Movements and Party Politics: Two Competing Visions in Morocco.” In The Routledge Handbook of Political Islam, ed. by Shahram Akbarzadeh. New York & London: Routledge.

Kirdiş, Esen. 2021. “Uncertainty and the Religious Market: The Unexpected Rise of Salafism in Egypt and Tunisia after the Arab Spring.” Journal of Church and State 63(1): 23–46.

Kirdiş, Esen. 2019. The Rise of Islamic Political Movements and Parties: Morocco, Turkey and Jordan. Edinburgh, UK: Edinburgh University Press.

Kirdiş, Esen. 2019. “Religion and Party Platforms.” In The Routledge Handbook of Religion and Political Parties, ed. by Jeffrey Haynes. New York & London: Routledge.

Kirdiş, Esen. 2019. “Similar Contexts, Different Behaviour: Explaining the Non-Linear Moderation and Immoderation of Islamic Political Parties in Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, and Turkey.Politics, Religion & Ideology. 20(4): 467-483. 

Kirdiş, Esen. 2019. “From Outsiders to Kingmakers: A Comparative Study of Political Salafism in Egypt and Political Haredism in Israel.” Religion, State, and Society 47(3): 325 – 340.

Kirdiş, Esen. 2018. “Wolves in Sheep Clothing or Victims of Times? Discussing the Immoderation of Incumbent Islamic Parties in Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia.” Democratization 25 (5): 901-918. 

Kirdiş, Esen. 2016. "From Loyal to Hard Opposition: The Political Transformation of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood." Politics, Religion & Ideology 17 (2-3): 121-142. 

Kirdiş, Esen & Amina Drhimeur. 2016. "The rise of populism? Comparing incumbent pro-Islamic parties in Turkey and Morocco." Turkish Studies 17(4): 599-617. 

Kirdiş, Esen. 2016. "Same context, different political paths: Two Islamic movements in Turkey." International Area Studies Review 19(3): 249-265. 

Kirdiş, Esen. 2016. “Immoderation: Comparing the Christian Right in the US and Pro-Islamic Movement-Parties in Turkey.” Democratization 23(3): 417-436. 

Kirdiş, Esen. 2015. Kirdiş, Esen. 2015. “Between Movement and Party: Islamic Movements in Morocco and the Decision to Enter Party Politics.” Politics, Religion & Ideology 16(1): 65-86. Politics, Religion & Ideology 16(1): 65-86.

Kirdiş, Esen. 2015. “The Role of Foreign Policy in Constructing the Party Identity of the Turkish Justice and Development Party (AKP).” Turkish Studies 16(2): 178-194.  

Shambayati, Hootan and Esen Kirdiş. 2009. “In Pursuit of Contemporary Civilization: Judicial Empowerment in Turkey.” Political Research Quarterly 62(4): 767-780.  


2011, PhD, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
2005, BA, Koc University, Istanbul, Turkey