Jenny White "Spindle Autocracies: Patterns of Polarization and Inter-Group Hostility"

Departmental Seminar Series features Jenny White, Professor at  Institute for Turkish Studies, Stockholm University.

The seminar is followed by informal gathering, at which refreshments are served. All are welcome!


Professor Jenny White explores the cultural logic of factionalism and hostile group formation in Turkey, inspired by research on the 1970s, a period of extreme social and political unrest culminating in a military coup in 1980. The larger question is whether there is a universal logic of hostile group formation that also can help to explain Turkey's current extreme factionalization and, if so, what role is played by local cultural values and specific social and political Dynamics.

Research profile

Jenny White is an author and social anthropologist, a professor at Stockholm University Institute for Turkish Studies specializing in contemporary Turkish culture, politics and society. At present, Professor White is working on an intimate history of social and political violence in Turkey in the 1970s. She is particularly interested in the role of reciprocity and mutual obligation and, in contrast, hostile group formation in organizing economic and political life.

White’s scholarly books on contemporary Turkey include “Muslim Nationalism and the New Turks” (chosen by Foreign Policy as one of three best books on the Middle East in 2012); “Islamist Mobilization in Turkey: A Study in Vernacular Politics” (Winner of the 2003 Douglass Prize for best book in Europeanist anthropology). She writes a blog on contemporary Turkey that Foreign Policy named as one of two blogs on Turkey that President Obama should read:

In her novels, historical events and political and social unrest take the form of personal tales of tragedy, death and dislocation. The Kamil Pasha novels of Jenny White includes The Sultan's Seal, The Abyssinian Proof, and The Winter Thief.

Professor White is formerly professor of anthropology at Boston University, the former president of the Turkish Studies Association and of the American Anthropological Association Middle East Section.

Published Dec. 15, 2017 12:32 PM - Last modified Aug. 8, 2019 3:30 PM