Dr Cemal Burak Tansel

Department of Politics and International Relations

Lecturer in International Politics

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

Full contact details

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

Dr Cemal Burak Tansel is Lecturer in International Politics in the Department of Politics. Previously, he was Anniversary Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Sheffield (2015–2017) and a fellow of the Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice at the University of Nottingham. He completed his doctorate at the University of Nottingham in 2015 after successfully defending his thesis on state formation and capitalist development in modern Turkey.

Burak's research focuses on the historical sociology of state formation and capitalist development in the Middle East and the political economy of development. He is the editor of States of Discipline: Authoritarian Neoliberalism and the Contested Reproduction of Capitalist Order (Rowman & Littlefield International, 2017) and has published peer-reviewed research articles in the European Journal of International Relations, Review of International Studies, South European Society and Politics, Globalizations and Journal of International Relations and DevelopmentHe contributes to a number of online outlets, including openDemocracy, The Conversation, SPERI Comment, Jadaliyya and Progress in Political Economy.

Dr Tansel recently completed two collective research projects on the intersections of neoliberal governance and authoritarian statisms, the results of which have been published in the special issues Authoritarian Neoliberalism: Philosophies, Practices, Contestations (co-edited with Ian Bruff) and Decoding the Repertoires of Authoritarian Neoliberalism in Turkey.

His research and teaching updates can be found on his personal website.

Research interests

My current research programme comprises two projects on the question of the state and economic development.

Authoritarian Neoliberalism and the State

This project explores the centrality of the state’s administrative, coercive and legal branches in promoting and reproducing neoliberal governance in the Middle East and beyond. The project aims to contribute to the recent literature that focuses on the ways in which neoliberalism is maintained politically through a matrix of ‘non-market’ apparatuses—such as the state’s coercive and administrative apparatuses—and the deepening of ‘market’ relations.

State Formation and Social Change in the Middle East

Building on my doctoral thesis, this strand of my research programme investigates the socio-economic, political and ideological dimensions of the capitalist state formation in the Middle East. Formulated within a historical materialist framework, the project seeks to unravel the extent/limits of the structural factors that forged the post-Ottoman trajectory of the region as well as to underscore the ways in which social struggles shaped the processes of state formation.


Journal articles



Edited books

  • Bruff I & Tansel C (Ed.) (2019) Authoritarian Neoliberalism: Philosophies, Practices, Contestations. Routledge. RIS download Bibtex download

Book reviews


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
Teaching activities

My teaching involves the application of methods that (I) address the explicit and hidden hierarchies within the classroom and encourage the students to articulate their own standpoints through active participation; (II) concretise how theoretical frameworks reflect and shape the way in which we interpret global politics; (III) stress the significance of alternative methodologies and forms of knowledge beyond the dominant paradigms in IR theory.

I employ role-playing methods and audio-visual interactive teaching techniques to encourage the students to take an active role in shaping the discussion. These methods also challenge the students to utilise alternative frameworks that they might not have considered otherwise.

I remain committed to providing a rich learning experience to my students beyond the classroom. To this end, I provide my students with links to relevant blog posts, magazine articles, audio and video clips as well as contributing to the social media discussions of the modules I teach.

I am currently convening the following modules:

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