Mehmet Kurt

Visiting Fellow
115 Prospect St., New Haven, CT 06520-8206
Fields of interest : 

Anthropology of religion; political sociology; ethnography and visual anthropology; the Middle East; Turkey; Kurds and Kurdistan; Islamism and transnational Islamic movements; Kurdish Hizbullah; political violence; youth; radicalization; civil society; Muslims in the west; decolonizing epistemologies and critical pedagogies

Dr. Mehmet Kurt is a lecturer at Yale University and a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Global Fellow at the London School of Economics (LSE). His research lies at the intersection of political sociology and anthropology of religion with a specific focus on political Islam and civil society in Turkey and among the Muslim diasporic communities in Europe and the USA. He currently works on transnational Islamic movements and mobilisations, and examines the ways in which Turkish Muslim communities experience and imagine Islam, ethnicity, identity and citizenship in Europe and the USA.

His book, Kurdish Hizbullah in Turkey: Islamism, Violence and the State - published in English (Pluto Press, 2017) and Turkish (İletişim, 2015) – offers a textured and nuanced analysis of the political theology, intercommunal conflict, and the everyday manifestation of ethnic and religious identities among the Hizbullah members in Turkey. The book follows trajectories of a once clandestine violent organization, its transformation into a social movement and a political party, and examines how this has shaped the Kurdish public and political space in contemporary Turkey. He is the author of numerous articles, book chapters and op-eds published in English, Turkish and Kurdish.

Mehmet’s research received funding from the British Academy Newton Advanced Fellowship (Queen Mary University of London, 2015-2017), EU Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme (University of Manchester, DARE Project, 2018), Marie Sklodowska-Curie Global Fellowship (London School of Economics and Political Science, Yale University and SciencesPo Paris, 2019-2022) and the European Research Council’s Starting Grants (University College London, TAKHAYYUL Project).

In addition to his academic scholarship, Mehmet directed an ethnographic documentary film, the Seven Doors (2019), which tells the story of seven students in search of an alternative educational model in the provincial context of the Kurdish Turkey, against the backdrop of urban warfare and political conflict. The Seven Doors is screened in numerous film festivals and received The Jean Rouch Award 2020 from the American Anthropological Association Society for Visual Anthropology’s Film and Media Festival and Merit Award in Youth Issues 2020 from Docs Without Borders Film Festival.

Recent Publications:

(Forthcoming 2021), “Religion and Politics in Turkey’s Kurdistan from the Beginning of the Republic”, In H. Bozarslan, C. Güneş and V. Yadırgı (eds.), The Cambridge History of the Kurds, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

(Forthcoming 2021), “Spreading Whose Word? The Role of Religion and Turkish Mosques in the Diasporic Kurdish-Turkish Conflict”, HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory

2020, “A Conversion to Civil Society? The Incomplete Reconfiguration of the Hizbullah Movement in Turkey”, Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, Vol. 22/6, pp. 762-776.

2019, “ ‘My Muslim Kurdish brother’: Colonial Rule and Islamist Governmentality in the Kurdish Region of Turkey”, Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies, Vol. 21/3, pp. 350-365.

2017, Kurdish Hizbullah in Turkey: Islamism, Violence and the State, London: Pluto Press