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New Faculty: Assistant Professor of Political Science Aytuğ Şaşmaz

September 13, 2022
Assistant Professor of Political Science Aytuğ Şaşmaz

As we begin the semester, we're highlighting Bryn Mawr's newest faculty members. The College supports faculty excellence in both research and teaching.

Assistant Professor of Political Science Aytuğ Şaşmaz specializes in comparative politics of the Middle East and North Africa region. His primary research interests include secular-religious electoral competition, political parties and organizations, and youth political and civic engagement.

His current book project explores the reasons behind the weak electoral appeal of secular parties in the Middle East and North Africa region after the popular uprisings of 2011–2013 and why they could not form a robust electoral alternative to Islamist parties. The dissertation that forms the basis of this book project won the Edward M. Chase Prize for the best dissertation on a subject relating to the promotion of world peace from the Harvard University Department of Government. A paper from this project won the Best Paper Award from the Political Organizations and Parties section of the American Political Science Association.

Şaşmaz also conducts research on democratic decline, social policy in the contexts of ethnic and organizational diversity, and the role of international organizations in the management of refugee movements. His co-authored papers on these topics have been published or are forthcoming in Comparative Political Studies, Governance, International Studies Quarterly, Journal of Development Economics, and World Development.

Prior to coming to Bryn Mawr, Şaşmaz was a post-doctoral fellow at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford University for 2021–22, and a pre-doctoral fellow at the Middle East Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University in 2021. He also holds M.A. and M.Sc. degrees from Brown University and London School of Economics and Political Science. He is a proud alumnus of Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, Turkey.

In his first year at Bryn Mawr, Şaşmaz is teaching Middle East Politics, Introduction to Comparative Politics, and Comparative Political Parties (with special reference to the MENA region). 

Şaşmaz is an avid fan of volleyball. In his free time, he plays, watches both men’s and women’s games, and comments on them on Twitter and in a podcast (in Turkish).

Political Science