Universiteit Leiden

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Alp Yenen

University Lecturer Modern Turkish History and Culture

Dr. A.A. Yenen
+31 71 527 2943

Alp Yenen is a University Lecturer at the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies. Dr. Yenen works primarily on the political history of modern Turkey and the Middle East. He is specialized on the turn of the 20th century, First World War, Interwar period, and the Cold War period. He also comments and consults on contemporary politics in Turkey.

More information about Alp Yenen

Turkish Studies

I am part of the Turkish Studies track in the Middle Eastern Studies program at Leiden University, where I cover themes of political history, political culture, and international relations of modern Turkey since late Ottoman Empire. I am also a founding member of the Turkey Studies Network in the Low Countries, an independent academic platform for researchers in the Benelux interested in the study of Turkey.

Fields of interest

My research interests lie in the history of Turkey and the Middle East in international affairs of the twentieth century. In research and teaching, I am interested in transnational relations, transitional periods, and transgressive politics.

Research themes:

  • International and transnational history
  • Empires and nationalism
  • Diplomatic history and history of international relations
  • Revolution, war, and genocide
  • Contentious politics and social movements
  • Conspiracy theories and parapolitics
  • Heroization, masculinity, and martyrdom
  • Orientalism and history of Oriental Studies
  • History of the First World War and the Interwar period
  • History of the Cold War in the Third World

Teaching activities

I supervise MA theses on the political history of the late Ottoman Empire, modern Turkey, and modern Middle East, preferably on the above listed themes.

Courses regularly taught:


The End of the First World War and the Making of the Modern Middle East

I am specialized on the so-called “Young Turk era”, a transitional period from the late Ottoman Empire to post-Ottoman world, ca. 1889–1927, a timeframe centered around the formation of the modern Middle East at the end of the First World War. In particular, I have published several journal articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia entries on various themes such as Turkish-Arab relationspan-Islamismanticolonialism and Bolshevismpostwar insurgenciesconspiracy theories and intelligence services, Turkish-Armenian relations, and revolutionary diplomacy during the end of the Ottoman Empire and their legacies. Currently, I am finalizing a book manuscript (under advanced contract with Columbia University Press) based on my PhD thesis on the international history of Young Turk networks and Muslim revolutionary movements during the aftermath of the First World War.

In more general terms, I also teach and do research on broader revolutionary processes during the making of the modern Middle East from the nineteenth to twentieth centuries. I authored a forthcoming article about a frontier theory of revolution and empire in the Middle East and an encyclopedia entry on the heroization of social bandits in world history. Together with Dr. Ramazan H. Öztan, I’ve have co-edited a volume, titled Age of Rogues: Rebels, Revolutionaries, and Racketeers at the Frontiers of Empires (Edinburgh University Press, 2021), which offers case studies on transgressive actors from the Balkans, the Middle East, and the Caucasus.

The End of the Cold War and the Unmaking of the Modern Middle East

In the last years, I have been teaching and working on Turkey and the Middle East in the Cold War period. As a second book project, I am doing research on Turkey in the “long” 1970s. My research looks into two aspects:

On the one hand, I am studying cultures of agency in contentious politics of Turkey, namely global frames of contention such as Maoism, Third Worldism, anti-communism, and Islamism, as well as the role of personality cult, masculinity, and martyrdom of the political mobilization of radical-leftist and far-right groups. For this aspect, I am collaborating with Dr. Olmo Gölz from the Masculinities section of the Collaborative Research Center for Heroes – Heroizations – Heroisms at the University of Freiburg.

On the other hand, I am interested in the international history of Turkey during the unmaking of the Cold War order in the Middle East in late 1970s. Especially, in the context of the Iranian Revolution of 1979, the crisis in Turkey, which resulted in the military intervention of September 1980, requires a connected and comparative framework. I argue that Turkey was part of a regional wave of contentious politics that eventually led to the formation of a new Middle East towards the end of the Cold War. With my research on Turkey in the Cold War period, I am a member of Dr. Berna Pekesen’s DFG Research Network on Contemporary History of Turkey.

Curriculum Vitae

PhD (2016) in Near and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Basel
MA (2009) in Middle Eastern Studies, Political Science, Economic Geography, University of Munich

Since 2018      University lecturer for modern Turkish history and culture, Leiden University 
2017–2018      Senior resident in Middle Eastern Studies, University of Basel
2017–2018      Lecturer, University of Applied Sciences & Arts Northwestern Switzerland
2013–2016      Research associate in Middle Eastern Studies, University of Basel

Grants and Awards
2021        Faculty Impact Grant, Leiden University
2021        Small Research Grant, LIAS, Leiden University
Nov. 2019      Travel grant for faculty members, LIAS, Leiden University
2014–2017      Travel grants for young academics at four occasions, University of Basel
2010–2013      PhD full scholarship, Graduate Scholarship of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation

University Lecturer Modern Turkish History and Culture

  • Faculty of Humanities
  • Leiden Institute for Area Studies


  • No relevant ancillary activities
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