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“South Africa is our pride whereas Rwanda is our shame”, say many Africans, when they think of the end of apartheid and the genocide in 1994, two weeks one after other.  The history did not end in 1994 of course. The end of the 1990s and the 2000s indicates a clear shift from the image of the Dark Continent to the Hopeful Continent, for Africa. Nevertheless, there are times this shift disappears today. It makes us happy to see democratization trials on the public level such the Gambia and DR Congo, or the technological revolution that some states like Rwanda are adapting, but it also makes us sad to see the off the record economies’ weak contribution to the individuals such as lemon sellers in Kampala market, Uganda. There is an urgent need to cover the roots of this sentimental polarization, from happiness to sadness, and that is why Africa is a critical part of the Tricontinental Conference 2017.

Asst. Prof. Volkan İpek

Biography CV

Chair of Africa Sessions


From the experience of colonialism to nation and state-building, democratization or dealing with the past, Latin America has generously presented political scientists and comparativists with a huge range of case studies to explore and topics to elaborate on. Latin American trajectory in decolonization, economic development, policies addressing poverty and inequality, social programs, identity politics, social protest, constitution-making, competitive politics, violence and its transformation, reckoning with authoritarian episodes and post-conflict reconstruction has shed light on the experiences of a multitude of political systems all around the world. A wide range of issues that remain to be topical such as the judicialization of politics, early presidential exits, discrediting of established political actors due to corruption charges, the Church in the realm of social issues, drug wars, migration, regional integration efforts, environmental activism or the current state of right and left-wing politics offer further opportunities for comparative analysis. While not losing sight of the subregional variations in Latin America, papers that compare the regional patterns with those that prevail in Africa and the Middle East are also encouraged.

Asst. Prof. Ebru İlter Akarçay

Biography CV 

Chair of Latin America Sessions



Democracy has long been celebrated as the most ‘civilized political regime’ while the Middle East as one of the most ‘problematic’ regions to embrace its ideals. The subtle relationship between democracy and violence; the root causes of underdevelopment; history, politics and economics of Orientalism, and identity politics; the state of political institutions (i.e. the state, regime types, etc), social and economic relations; issues of development, chronic political violence, inequality, authoritarianism and power politics that have shaped the complex trajectory of democracy and the nature of violence after WWI; and the institutional mechanisms obscuring democratic consolidation are some of the profound phenomena that political scientists explore in the Middle East. The Middle East is also an interesting realm to present particularities pertaining to a set of countries that problematize the usual definitions of democracy and violence as well as normative values associated with those definitions. Some of the questions that have long occupied local political and intellectual debates in the region and shaped political events and ideologies are: What is the relationship between political democracy and political sovereignty? What is the relationship between freedom (of thought, expression, conscience, and religion) and political sovereignty? Is democracy, ‘rule of the people’, viable without the sovereignty of the state and the economy? Is democracy viable without a functioning system of rule of law, secular (that is non-divine originated) legal system, -relatively- fair income distribution, social justice and accountability? Is secularism/laicism, as an institutional mechanism, a necessary condition to secure social, economic, and political spaces not dominated by a certain sectarian interpretation, organization and use of religion for political and economic purposes; and therefore essential to define social justice and resource-sharing, and to consolidate democracy institutionally? Is the political practice of secularism/laicism compatible with liberal democracy? What is the impact of (the history of) imperialism, liberal democracy, ideology on state institutions, national political actors, and the processes of empowerment/disempowerment of masses?  For this conference, papers analyzing the interplay amongst these issues and concepts as well as critically raising new ones are welcome. Papers exploring the institutional dynamics behind hindered democratic transitions in a macro-historical way; the state of (socio-economic) underdevelopment; political ideologies based on different sectarian interpretations of religion, and persistent patterns of violence or unrest besieging the region are welcome. Analyses based on country-based variations and comparative perspective -within the region and with patterns prevalent in Africa and Latin America- or relations with Europe and the US within a world-politics context are also encouraged. 

Assoc. Prof. Seda Ünsar

Biography CV

Chair of the Middle East Sessions


From the establishment of the Republic of Turkey onwards, Turkish foreign policy has experienced a number of noteworthy turning points. Since the formation of the Republic, there have been 65 governments in Turkey, many of which followed more or less ideologically different routes in terms not only of domestic policy, but also foreign policy. On the other hand, several factors have impacted Turkish foreign policy, in addition to governmental policy preferences. Foreign policy analysis demands comprehensive study, especially in the case of Turkey due to its special status as geopolitical domain, identity issues -whether national or religious-, crucial protracted debates from nationalism to neo-Ottomanism or pan-Islamism, the dilemma between the status quo and a revisionist conduct of foreign policy, and the “question of belonging” globally. The papers, which assess these pillars of Turkish foreign policy within an analytical and a methodological frame, are welcomed. Also tricontinental comparative studies, which include Turkish foreign policy, are encouraged. The participants have the chance to present their papers in English and Turkish. 

Phd Candidates Yüksel Kamacı & Hakan Sezgin Erkan

Chairs of Turkish Foreign Policy Sessions