Ahmet T. Kuru will talk about his new book Islam, Authoritarianism, and Underdevelopment: A Global and Historical Comparison (Cambridge University Press, 2019). Why do Muslim-majority countries have high levels of authoritarianism and low levels of socio-economic development in comparison to world averages? Kuru elaborates an argument about the ulema-state alliance as the cause of these problems in the Muslim world from the eleventh century to the present. Criticizing essentialist, post-colonialist, and new institutionalist alternative explanations, Kuru focuses on the relations between intellectual, economic, religious, and political classes in his own explanation.
Ahmet T. Kuru is Professor of Political science at San Diego State University. Kuru received his PhD from the University of Washington and held a post doc position at Columbia University. He is the author of award-winning Secularism and State Policies toward Religion: The United States, France, and Turkey(Cambridge University Press) and the co-editor (with Alfred Stepan) of Democracy, Islam, and Secularism in Turkey (Columbia University Press). Kuru’s works have been translated into Arabic, Chinese, French, Indonesian, and Turkish.