Nazlı Konya Receives the 2023 Leo Strauss Award –


The Leo Strauss Award is presented annually by the American Political Science Association (APSA) to honor the best doctoral dissertation in political philosophy.   

Nazlı Konya’s research interests are in contemporary democratic and critical theory, with a focus on politics of protest, populism, and authoritarianism. Her research appeared in Political Theory and Contempo rary Political Theory. She is currently working on her first book manuscript, The Inappropriable People of Gezi: Refusal, Protest, Desire, which engages with questions of peoplehood, refusal, and power in political protest through a cross-interpretation of scholarship in democratic theory alongside rich empirical material that she collected on the 2013 Gezi Protests of Turkey. At Colby, she teaches courses on these themes, as well as on incarceration and decarceration, politics of identity, race, gender, and sexuality. She is affiliated with Colby’s inside-out prison education program, Colby Across the Walls, and the Justice Think Tank.

Citation from the Award Committee: 

Dr. Nazli Konya’s “The Inappropriable People of Gezi: Refusal, Protest, Desire” is an exceptionally sophisticated analysis of the 2013 Gezi protests in Turkey as an instance of direct political action. Two qualities distinguish this dissertation from others. First, the manuscript moves deftly between classic critical theoretical texts and Turkish political practices to argue that the Gezi protests exceed the reach of Western analytic frameworks. The dissertation thus performs a kind of pedagogy for the reader about how far these theoretical frameworks can travel beyond spaces easily sited in the Global North. Second, the project carefully teases apart the critique and “undoing” of one political order while also composing a new collective that seeks to organize and understand itself on different political, psychological, and social terms. A brilliantly crafted and executed project, this dissertation challenges political theory to abandon frameworks of popular sovereignty, fugitive democracy, or failed states when theorizing politics beyond the West. In this vein, Konya’s “The Inappropriable People of Gezi” contributes important new forms of protest and refusal, and so vivifies new collectives and their political agency.

APSA thanks the committee members for their service: Dr. Neil Roberts (chair) of the University of Toronto, Nancy Luxon of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and Dr. Kyong-Min Son of the University of Delaware.

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