Book Talk with Sebnem Gumuscu — Democracy or Authoritarianism: Islamist Governments in Turkey, Egypt, and Tunisia

Thursday, April 4, 2024
4:00 PM - 6:00 PM

Encina Hall E008 (Garden Level, East)     
616 Jane Stanford Way, Stanford, CA 94305

Online via Zoom

  • Sebnem Gumuscu
Sebnem Gumuscu book talk

Why do some parties in power commit to democracy while others do not? Sebnem Gumuscu will explain why by relying on her extensive field research in Turkey, Egypt, and Tunisia. Islamist parties rose to power in free and fair elections in all three countries, yet only in Tunisia remained committed to pluralism and liberal democratic norms. In Turkey and Egypt, in contrast, the AKP and the Muslim Brotherhood subverted democracy by committing to righteous majoritarianism. Gumuscu will explore the different trajectories of these Islamist parties and unpack the role of party factions in charting their democratic course.

This event is co-sponsored by CDDRL's Program on Turkey, the Program on Arab Reform and Democracy, and the Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies.


Sebnem Gumuscu is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Middlebury College. Her research interests include political Islam, dominant parties, democratization and democratic backsliding, and Middle Eastern and North African politics. Her articles appeared in journals such as Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Democracy, Government and Opposition, Third World Quarterly, South European Society and Politics, and Middle Eastern Studies.

Her first book, Democracy, Identity, and Foreign Policy in Turkey: Hegemony through Transformation (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014), co-authored with E. Fuat Keyman, examines Turkey's transformation under the Justice and Development Party since 2002 within the broader context of Turkish modernization.

Her new book, Democracy or Authoritarianism: Islamist Governments in Turkey, Egypt, and Tunisia (Cambridge University Press) focuses on Islamist parties and their democratic commitments in power. Relying on extensive fieldwork in Turkey, Egypt, and Tunisia, she unpacks intra-party dynamics to explain divergent trajectories of Islamist governments.