Dr Cemal Burak Tansel

Department of Politics and International Relations

Lecturer in International Politics

Director of Postgraduate (Taught) Recruitment

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+44 114 222 0660
Feedback and consultation hours: Tuesdays 15:00-17:00

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Dr Cemal Burak Tansel
Department of Politics and International Relations
Elmfield Building
Northumberland Road
S10 2TU

Dr Cemal Burak Tansel is a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in International Politics and an Associate Fellow at Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute (SPERI).

His research focuses on the political economy of development and explores the variegated trajectories of capitalist restructuring and state formation in the global South. He is the editor of States of Discipline: Authoritarian Neoliberalism and the Contested Reproduction of Capitalist Order, and Authoritarian Neoliberalism: Philosophies, Practices, Contestations (with Ian Bruff). His peer-reviewed research has been published in, among others, the European Journal of International Relations, New Political Economy, Review of International Studies, South European Society and Politics, Globalizations, The South Atlantic Quarterly and Journal of International Relations and Development. His public writing has appeared in Dissent, openDemocracy and Jadaliyya.

Dr Tansel is a Governing Board member of the European International Studies Association (EISA) and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. At EISA, he coordinates the association’s Mobility and Inclusion Fund. Dr Tansel is also leading the Department’s ‘Decolonising the Curriculum and Education for Sustainability’ portfolio, along with Lisa Stampnitzky and Judith Verweijen.

Between 2021 and 2023, Dr Tansel will be acting as co-chair of Political Economy Beyond Boundaries (with Lisa Tilley), a standing section organised annually at the EISA Pan-European Conference on International Relations.

Research interests

My current research programme focuses on two distinct lines of inquiry:

  1. My ongoing work on authoritarian neoliberalism investigates the co-constitution of neoliberal economic reforms and authoritarian state practices in the Middle East and beyond. I examine how the judicial, administrative and coercive apparatuses of the state are mobilised to curtail democratic spaces in which to challenge dominant socio-economic policies, and document how these strategies play a key role in shielding a variety of actors and policies from public contestation.
  2. The second strand of my research programme is concerned with the socio-economic, political and ideological dimensions of capitalist state formation in the Middle East. The project seeks to de-centre Eurocentric and exogenous accounts of modernity and state formation in the region by retracing the centrality of social struggles and subaltern forces in the processes/projects of state formation.

Edited books

  • Bruff I & Tansel C (Ed.) (2019) Authoritarian Neoliberalism: Philosophies, Practices, Contestations. Routledge. RIS download Bibtex download
  • Tansel CB (Ed.) (2016) States of Discipline: Authoritarian Neoliberalism and the Contested Reproduction of Capitalist Order. London: Rowman & Littlefield International. RIS download Bibtex download

Journal articles


Book reviews

Website content


Research group

Current PhD students:

I would be delighted to receive proposals from prospective doctoral researchers planning to work in the areas of:

  • The political economy of development
  • Historical sociology of the Middle East
  • Contemporary Egyptian and Turkish politics
  • Authoritarian neoliberalism
  • Historical materialist and postcolonial/decolonial approaches in IR Theory
  • Marxist historiography

If you are interested in pursuing a PhD degree under my supervision, please read my suggestions and guidelines for prospective students.

Teaching activities

I teach modules on the political economy of capitalism, historical materialism and the historical sociology of the Middle East. I am currently convening the following modules in the Department:

  • POL217 The Political Economy of Global Capitalism (Level 2).
  • POL3030 Marx and Contemporary Marxism (Level 3) (with Peter Verovšek).
  • POL3031 The Making of the Modern Middle East (Level 3).

Module outlines are available on my website.

Professional activities

The full list of my past/upcoming talks, conference panels and workshops can be found on my website.