University Lecturer Modern Turkish History and Culture
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.
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.
- 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
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:
- BA seminar: Ideology and Politics in the Middle East
- BA seminar: History and Culture of Modern Turkey
- MA seminar: The Making of the Modern Middle East (1870-1940)
- MA seminar: Political History of the Middle East in the 20th Century
- BA International Studies: Thesis and Thesis Seminar Middle East E, sem 2: Contentious Politics in the Middle East
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 relations, pan-Islamism, anticolonialism and Bolshevism, postwar insurgencies, conspiracy 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.
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
- Yenen A.A. (4 August 2022), Enver Enigma. Tha Lausanne Project [blog entry].
- Yenen A.A. (2022), Between imperialism and revolution: geopolitics of the Great War in the Middle East. In: Thogh P. (Ed.) ‘For civilisation’: the First World War in the Middle East, 1914–1923. Gent: Tijdsbeeld. 87-91.
- Anonymous (2022), Tussen imperialisme en revolutie: de geopolitiek van de Groete Oorlog in het Midden-Oosten [Between imperialism and revolution: geopolitics of the Great War in the Middle East] (translation: Yenen A.A.). In: Thogh P. (Ed.) ‘Voor de beschaving’: de Eerste Wereldoorlog in het Midden-Oosten, 1914–1923. Gent: Tijdsbeeld. 87-91.
- Yenen A.A. (2 June 2022), Killing Heroes: How Martyrdom and Revenge Complicate the Relationship between History and Memory. Behind the Scenes. Ann Arbor: Comparative Studies in Society and History [blog entry].
- Yenen A.A. (2022), The Talat-Tehlirian complex: contentious narratives of martyrdom and revenge in post-conflict societies, Comparative Studies in Society and History 64(2): 394-421.
- Yenen A.A. (28 July 2021), Interwar Diplomacy between Soviet Russia, Turkey, Iran, and Afghanistan. Contemporary European History Blog [blog entry].
- Yenen A.A. (2021), Internationalism, diplomacy and the revolutionary origins of the Middle East's ‘Northern Tier’, Contemporary European History 30(4): 497-512.
- Öztan R.H. & Yenen A.A. (Eds.) (2021), Age of Rogues: Rebels, Revolutionaries and Racketeers at the Frontiers of Empires. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
- Yenen A.A. & Öztan R.H. (2021), Age of rogues: transgressive politics at the frontiers of the Ottoman empire. In: Öztan R.H. & Yenen A.A. (Eds.) Age of Rogues: Rebels, Revolutionaries and Racketeers at the Frontiers of Empires. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 3-52.
- Yenen A.A. (2020), Banditen. In: Asch R.G., Aurnhammer A., Feitscher G., Schreurs-Morét A. (Ed.) Compendium heroicum. Freiburg: Sonderforschungsbereich 948 „Helden – Heroisierungen – Heroismen“ der Universität Freiburg.
- Yenen A.A. (2020), Pan-Islamism (Ottoman Empire). In: Daniel U., Gatrell P., Janz O., Jones H., Keene J., Kramer A., Nasson B. (Ed.) 1914–1918 Online: International Encyclopedia of the First World War. Berlin: Freie Universität Berlin. 1-7.
- Yenen A.A. (2021), Envisioning Turco-Arab co-existence between empire and nationalism, Die Welt des Islams / International Journal for the Study of Modern Islam 61(1): 72-112.
- Yenen A.A. (2020), ‘Bir Heyet-i Sefaret Değil, Bir İhtilal Heyeti’: İttihatçılar ve Asya’da Devrimci Diplomasi. In: Akbulut E, Ülker E, (Eds.) 100 Yılın Ötesinde Ekim Devrimi ve Türkiye. Istanbul: Türkiye Sosyal Tarih Araştırma Vakfı Yayınları. 132–167.
- Yenen A.A. (18 December 2019), “Turkey Is Not Iran”: Middle East Experts in the 1979 Moment. The “1979 Moment” in the Middle East: TRAFO – Blog for Transregional Research [blog entry].
- Balistreri A.E. & Yenen A.A. (2019), Von der Orientalistik zur Osmanistik: Entwicklung eines Faches angesichts der Orientalismus-Debatte. In: Bolliger C., Würsch R. (Ed.) Blick auf den Orient: Vom Orientalischen Seminar zum Seminar für Nahoststudien (1919–2019). Publikationen der Universitätsbibliothek Basel no. 46 Basel: Schwabe. 139–163.
- Yenen A.A. (26 June 2019), Turkey beyond Partisanship. Turkey beyond Partisanship. Leiden: Leiden Islam Blog, Leiden University Centre for the Study of Islam and Society [blog entry].
- Yenen A.A. (2019), Legitimate Means of Dying: Contentious Politics of Martyrdom in the Turkish Civil War (1968–1982), Behemoth : a Journal on Civilisation 12(1): 14-34.
- Yenen A.A. (2019), Nuri Killigil. In: Daniel U., Gatrell P., Janz O., Jones H., Keene J.D., Kramer A. & Nasson B. (Eds.) 1914-1918 Online: International encyclopedia of the First World War. Berlin: Freie Universität Berlin.
- Yenen A.A. & Güney A. (2019), Berlin–Bâb-ı Âli–Bakü Hattında İttihatçı Emperyalizmi’nin Son Seferi: Sadrazam Talat Paşa’nın Almanya Seyahati, Eylül 1918, Toplumsal Tarih (302): 28-35.
- Yenen A.A., Azak U. & Erol E. (2018), Conference report on “Ottoman Continuities – Republican Inventions: Symposium in Honor of Erik Jan Zürcher”, 23–25. August 2018, Leiden University: H-Net.
- Yenen A.A. (2018), Making Sense of Unionist Activities during the Armistice Period.Leiden Insititute of Area Studies. [syllabus].
- Yenen A.A. (2018), Elusive Forces in Illusive Eyes: British Officialdom’s Perception of the Anatolian Resistance Movement, Middle Eastern Studies 54(5): 788–810.
- Yenen A.A. (2017), Review of: Ihrig S. (2016) Justifying Genocide: Germany and the Armenians from Bismarck to Hitler, Asiatische Studien/Études Asiatiques 71(3): 1039–1043.
- Yenen A.A. (2016), The ‘Young Turk Zeitgeist’ in the Middle Eastern Uprisings in the Aftermath of World War I. In: Yavuz M.H. & Ahmad F. (Eds.) War and Collapse: World War I and the Ottoman State. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press. 1181–1216.
- Yenen A.A. (15 December 2016), The Young Turk Aftermath: Making Sense of Transnational Contentious Politics at the End of the Ottoman Empire, 1918-1922 (PhD thesis. Graduate School of Social Sciences, Faculty of Humanities, University of Basel). Supervisor(s) and Co-supervisor(s): Reinkowski M., Dumont P.
- Yenen A.A. (22 July 2016), Triumph des Vulgärpopulismus: Erdogans Rachefeldzug. Neue Zürcher Zeitung: 11.
- Yenen A.A. (2015), Approaching Transnational Political History: The Role of Non-State Actors in the Post-Ottoman State-Formation. In: Marung S., Middell M. (Eds.) Transnational Actors - Crossing Borders: Transnational History Studies. Leipzig: Leipziger Universitätsverlag. 261–270.
- Yenen A.A. (2015), The Other Jihad: Enver Pasha, Bolsheviks, and Politics of Anticolonial Muslim Nationalism During the Baku Congress 1920. In: Fraser T.G. (Ed.) The First World War and its Aftermath: The Shaping of the Middle East. London: Gingko Library Press. 273–293.
- Yenen A.A. (2011), The Exile Activities of the Unionists in Berlin (1918–1922). In: Schönig C., Çalık R., Bayraktar H. (Eds.) Türkisch-Deutsche Beziehungen: Perspektiven aus Vergangenheit und Gegenwart. Berlin: Klaus-Schwarz-Verlag. 71–94.
- Yenen A.A. (2011), Wissenschaftlichkeit und Bequemlichkeit, Bulletin der Schweizerischen Gesellschaft Mittlerer Osten und Islamische Kulturen 32: 7–9, 12.
No relevant ancillary activities