I am an an Assistant Professor of Political Science and Director of the International Studies Program at Luther College, Iowa. I received my Political Science Ph.D. from Florida International University (FIU). My research broadly focuses on populism, polarization, and opposition from a cross-regional perspective. I have been teaching Comparative Politics, International Relations, and first-year-writing courses for the past eight years.

My first book Populism and Affective Leader Polarization: Inclusion, Exclusion, and Opposition is forthcoming with the Kellogg Institute Democracy and Development Series of the University of Notre Dame Press. The book introduces the concept of affective leader polarization and studies countries where the elite and/or the citizens polarize over personally dominant chief executives. To analyze the causes of affective leader polarization, I unpack the dynamics of populist inclusion and exclusion toward the members of the in-group and the out-group. Finally, the book considers the role of the opposition actors in reinforcing and mitigating polarization. The book primarily focuses on Turkey under Erdoğan, Venezuela under Chávez, and Ecuador under Correa, but its theoretical framework and empirical findings apply to other contexts where populist leaders affectively polarize the political spectrum between their hardcore supporters and staunch opponents.

Out of my current research on populism, polarization, and opposition, I have published three peer-reviewed journal articles: “Strong Presidents and Weak Institutions: Populism in Turkey, Venezuela, and Ecuador”, “The Rise of the Democracy-Authoritarianism Cleavage and Opposition Coordination in Turkey (2014-2019)” and “The Erdoğanization of Turkish Politics and the Role of the Opposition” in Democratization and Southeast European & Black Sea Studies. Besides those articles, I have published several book chapters and book reviews.

At Luther College, I have taught Global Politics, Developing Democracies, Latin American Politics, Comparative Politics, Global Populism, Research Methods, Global Politics and Movies, International Studies Seminar, Migration and Border Issues, and Model United Nations. I am also the faculty adviser of Luther’s Model United Nations team.

During my time at FIU, I had taught Introduction to Comparative Politics, Politics of Latin America, Politics of South America, and first-year-writing courses at the undergraduate level. I also worked as teaching assistants for courses on the Politics of Latin America, the Middle East, the United States, and Russia. Based on faculty nominations, I won the Best Political Science Teaching Assistant Award in 2017.

On this website, you can find my latest CV, publications, and pictures from research trips.

You can reach me by sending an email to oselc001@fiu.edu or a direct message on Twitter @orcunselcuk.