Dr Zeynep Kaya

Department of Politics and International Relations

Lecturer in International Relations

Profile image for academic staff member Zeynep Kaya
+44 114 222 1669

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Dr Zeynep Kaya
Department of Politics and International Relations
Room 1.4
Elmfield Building
Northumberland Road
S10 2TU

Dr Zeynep Kaya joined the Department in May 2021, having previously worked at SOAS and the LSE. She holds a PhD in International Relations from the LSE. Her main research areas involve borderlands, territoriality, conflict, peace, political legitimacy and gender. She has recently published a monograph entitled Mapping Kurdistan: Territory, Self-Determination and Nationalism with Cambridge University Press. 

Zeynep is co-editor of I.B. Tauris-Bloomsbury’s book series on Kurdish studies and co-convenor of Kurdish Studies Series with the LSE Middle East Centre. She is also an Academic Associate at Pembroke College, University of Cambridge. 

Research interests

My research adopts an international historical sociology approach to the study of territoriality, borderlands and political legitimacy in the Middle East. I examine how politics related to these concepts change over time in connection with the transformation of international norms in world history. I am particularly interested in understanding non-state political actors (either sub-national or transnational) through situating them within an international context. I specifically focus on the Kurds and other groups in the borderlands of the Ottoman Empire and contemporary states in ex-Ottoman territories. 

A second theme of my research is about the interactions between international and non-state actors in relation to peace, conflict and development processes in the Middle East today. I examine contemporary peacebuilding and development policies on gender, minorities and displacement in Iraq and situate this examination within a long-term political and historical international context. 



  • Kaya ZN (2020) Mapping Kurdistan Territory, Self-Determination and Nationalism. Cambridge University Press. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download

Journal articles



Working papers

  • Kaya Z (2019) Iraq's Yazidis and ISIS: The Causes and Consequences of Sexual Violence in Conflict. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Kaya Z, Dodge T, Luchtenberg K, Mathieu-Comtois S, Saleh B, van den Toorn C, Turpin-King A & Watkins J (2018) Iraq synthesis paper: understanding the drivers of conflict in Iraq. Conflict Research Programme. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Kaya Z (2018) Resilience policy and internally displaced women in Iraq: an unintentionally flawed approach. LSE Women, Peace and Security Working Paper Series, 13. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • Kaya Z (2017) Gender and Statehood in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. LSE Middle East Centre Paper Series, 18. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
  • HEIF Knowledge Exchange & Impact Fund, £27K: UK's gender practice in aid and security (2022)
  • NAFR1180137 British Academy, £5K, Post-conflict emergency rule as a tool of everyday government in Turkey (2020-2021)
  • KEI Fund (LSE), £45K, Displacement and WPS in Iraq (2017-2019) 
  • 262164UCF GRRI Collaboration Grant, £24K: Victimhood, survival and societal transformation among the Yezidis in Iraq (2017-2019) 
  • GB-1-- 204428 DFID, £6million (named lead researcher): Conflict Research Programme (2017-2020) led by Mary Kaldor and Alex de Waal
  • RLWK6-261840247 British Council Researcher Links, £32K: Displacement, social welfare and human security in Turkey: challenges and prospects (2018-2019)
  • Emirates Foundation, £90K: Complexity of humanitarian response to internal displacement in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (2016-2018)
  • Rockefeller Fund, £6K: Disaster and displacement: the resilience of women in Iraq and Nepal (2016-2017)
  • Emirates Foundation, £90K: International actors and women’s rights in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (2013-2016)
Teaching activities

Dr Zeynep Kaya currently teaches:

  • POL3043 The Politics of Security
  • POL3045 Sexual Violence in Armed Conflict
Professional activities
  • Co-Founder and Co-Editor of Kurdish Studies Book Series I.B. Tauris-Bloomsbury
  • Co-Convenor of the Kurdish Studies Events Series, LSE Middle East Centre
  • Specialist Adviser, UK Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee (2017-2018)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Authority