Dr Emel Akcali
Senior Lecturer in International Relations
Political and Cultural Studies
Telephone: (01792) 295226

Emel Akçalı is a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Politics and International Relations. Prior to coming to Swansea, she was a resident fellow at the IMERA - Institute of Advanced Study of Aix Marseille University in France and an assistant professor at the International Relations Department of Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. Her teaching and research interests span the state, society, conflict and politics in the Middle East and North Africa, social movements, upheavals and (trans-)formation of collective identities in the age of globalization, the limits of neoliberal governmentality outside of the Western realm, critical realist philosophy and non-Western and alternative globalist geopolitical discourses. She has been awarded the CEU Institute of Advanced Study and Aix-Marseille University Institute for Advanced Study resident fellowships for her on-going research on the challenges of state and societal transformation in post-revolutionary Tunisia. She is the author of Chypre:Un enjeu géopolitique actuel (l’Harmattan, Paris, 2009) and her work has been published in Political Geography, Security Dialogue, Eurasian Geography and Economics, Antipode, Annals of the American Geographers, Asian Journal of Social Sciences and Geopolitics. She has also recently published an edited volume from Palgrave entitled Neoliberal Governmentality and the Future of the State in the Middle East and North Africa. 

Areas of Expertise

  • State, Society and Politics in the Middle East and North Africa
  • Social Movements and Upheavals
  • Globalisation and neoliberalism
  • Ethno-territorial conflicts and their resolution
  • Critical Realism


  1. Do Popular Assemblies Contribute to Genuine Political Change? Lessons from the Park Forums in Istanbul. South European Society and Politics, 1-18.
  2. & Urban transformation in Istanbul and Budapest: Neoliberal governmentality in the EU's semi-periphery and its limits. Political Geography 46, 76-88.
  3. (Eds.). Neoliberal Governmentality and the Future of the State in the Middle East and North Africa. Emel Akcali (Ed.),
  4. Deciphering Eurasianism in Hungary: Narratives, Networks, and Life-styles. In Marlene Laruelle (Ed.), Eurasianism and the European Far Right.
  5. Inter-Asian postneoliberalism: Adoption, Disjuncture and Transgression. Asian Journal of Social Science 43, 5-21.

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  • PO-118 War and Peace in the Nuclear Age

    In this module you will examine the history of the international system from the end of the Second World War to the present day. It will provide an examination of the origins of the Cold War, how the two superpowers managed their relationship during the Cold War and an analysis of some of the key features of the post-Cold War world. We begin by assessing the rise of the USA and USSR and the emergence of deterrence. The failure of the US policy of containment in Vietnam and the emergence of tripolarity and detente in the 1970s then follows. By the beginning of the 1980s the superpowers relations had worsened and it was the time of the Second Cold War. Yet within ten years the Cold War that had dominated international relations since 1945 would be over. Why did it end, and who won will be questions for you to answer. The module will then examine the challenges facing the international system in the aftermath of the Cold War. Challenges ranging from failed states and military intervention to the rise of China and the re-emergence of Russia, and we conclude by asking, in the post 9/11 era, are we facing a clash of civilisations?

  • PO-125 What is Politics and International Relations?

    This module has two aims. Firstly, the module will introduce students to a set of key study skills needed in order to undertake the study of Politics and International Relations, including ways of presenting arguments in essays or seminar presentations, learning where and how to find information needed to construct arguments about politics and IR, and provide a brief introduction to some of the methods that political scientists use to study the world of politics and IR. Secondly, it seeks to introduce students to different frameworks through which politics and IR can be studied by focusing on the deceptively simple question of what is politics and IR?

  • PO-222 Globalisation

    The term globalisation has become a central concept for all the social sciences in an astonishingly short period of time. This module is dedicated to making sense of this new addition to the lexicon. What are its various meaning and are they congruent? Whence did the concept arise and why has it gained ubiquity so quickly? And what should be made of the debates that the term has excited? These issues are explored directly, and also through a range of subordinate themes, including space, territoriality and the states-system; the world market, trade, and economic interdependence; governance, war and social movements. Globalisation is a complex and contentious concept, which is variously interpreted as: a form of `time space compression¿ which is `shrinking¿ our world; a series of opportunities for growth and modernisation; or the institutionalisation and internationalisation of inequalities and injustice. Its advocates argue that it has increased the depth and scope of the application of human rights and lifted millions of people out of poverty. Its detractors point to its connection with the recent global financial crisis and the willingness and ability of powerful elites to manipulate its mechanisms and consequences.

  • PO-395 Dissertation (PO-325)

    Subject to the approval of the Departmental Dissertations Tutor, students will choose their own area for research. They will be given guidance on research skills and techniques and supervised by a specialist research topic supervisor during the research for, and writing of, their dissertation. Dissertation word length - 8000 words.

  • PO-397 Researching Politics 2

    This module offers students a valuable experience of both individual and collective research - as well as the opportunity to study in depth an important aspect of Politics and International Relations. Students extend and deepen the research undertaken in PO-396 Researching Politics 1 and continue to meet regularly in order to share ideas, opinions and sources. In these meetings, students evaluate, criticise and analyse issues concerning the topic under investigation. Minutes of the meetings are kept and the meetings are conducted with a view to arriving at a common position that will serve as the basis for producing a collectively authored report and presentation. Each student in the group also produces a shorter individual report on their own experience of Researching Politics, in the course of which they reflect on their individual contribution to the groups output. This self-assessment is validated by the other members of the group.

  • PO-M25 Dissertation

    Individual research based, under the guidance of appointed supervisor.

  • PO-M35 Approaches to International Relations

    The module explores a variety of approaches to the study of internation relations. It focuses on key issues which have become central to the sunject, notably the changing states system and the emergence of major non state actors, economic globalisation and security studies. It also examines key theoretical approaches, notably realism, liberalism and Marxism; Neo-realism and neo-Liberalism; and reflectivist critiques of rationalism, including constructivism, critical theory, post-structuralism and feminism.

  • PO-M60 Critical Security Studies: Issues and Approaches in Contemporary Security

    This MA module will offer students an opportunity to explore a multiplicity of new approaches to the study of international security, and analyse a number of pressing issue-areas within this subject area. The module allows students to engage theoretical debates over the meaning and definition of the concept of security itself and various theoretical approaches to the study of security. The module starts with a traditional understanding of security as `military security,¿ by looking at strategic studies. The module then explores the debate regarding the broadening and deepening of security. The first theoretical part of the module also includes: the Copenhagen School, the Welsh School of Critical Security Studies, post-structuralist approaches and feminist approaches. In the second part, the module will use these theoretical lenses to debate prominent security issues increasingly seen to form part of the broadened security agenda, such as the environment, migration, identity, gender and human security.

  • PO-M79 Gender, Society and Politics in the Middle East and North Africa

    The subject of gender relations in the Middle East and North Africa is probably one of the most widespread themes in western popular culture. Women's rights in the Middle East often stimulate curiosity in the West although there is at the same time a high level of ignorance concerning the lives, struggles and achievements of Muslim/Arab women. This course examines hence what the obsession with gender relations in the Middle East and North Africa tells us about the power relations in contemporary world politics. To this end, this module will scrutinize the gender and the societal politics in the contemporary Middle East and North Africa, including the Arab countries, Iran, Israel, and Turkey. This course will have three components: theoretical, historical, and political. During the seminars students will learn about Middle Eastern history in relation to gender via and early Islamic, Ottoman, colonial and recent histories. It will particularly look at women's involvement in politics, monarchical government, and resistance movements; state intervention into questions of gender, including family law, inheritance and citizenship rights, laws regulating sexuality, and state feminism; masculinities and women's and feminist movements, including peace movements, Islamist feminisms, pro-democracy activism, etc.. In particular, it will analyze the gender perspective of the recent and current revolutionary transformations in the Middle East and North Africa,


  • Energy, human and national security: an analysis of the possible desecuritization of energy in China-US relations (current)

    Student name:
    Other supervisor: Prof Alan Collins
    Other supervisor: Dr Emel Akcali

Administrative Responsibilities

  • Examination Officer - Politics and International Studies

    2018 - Present

  • Politics and International Studies UOA Environment Leader

    2016 - Present

  • Masters Programme Convenor for International Relations

    2016 - Present

Career History

Start Date End Date Position Held Location
2011 2016 Assistant Professor Central European University, Budapest

Key Grants and Projects

  • British Institute at Ankara 2018 - 2019

    Diaspora business: the economic contribution of Syrian refuges to Turkey and their political role in post conflict resolution

  • IMéRA resident fellowship for world-class foreign researchers 2016

    Aix-Marseille University Institute for Advanced Study

  • Central European University Institute of Advanced Study Fellowship 2013

  • Central European University Research Support Scheme grant 2012

  • Central European University Academic Event Fund 2012

  • Višegrad Fund: “Public Portrayal of Turkey in Višegrad Countries” 2011

    Project in collaboration with Anglo-American University in Prague