Güneş Murat Tezcür, Ph.D.

Distinguished Speaker Series:
Güneş Murat Tezcür, Ph.D.

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Gunes Murat TezcurWhat do Terrorists and Freedom Fighters Have in Common?

Dr. Güneş Murat Tezcür
Jalal Talabani Chair of Kurdish Political Studies, University of Central Florida Orlando, FL

Wednesday, January 25, 2017 at 6:00 p.m.
Tuscawilla Country Club
1500 Winter Springs Blvd.,
Winter Springs, FL 32708

Why do ordinary men and women risk their lives to engage in acts of political violence? The frequency and intensity of civil wars and acts of terrorism in contemporary times makes this question a central concern to global peace and security. While some individuals pursuing violence are motivated by pecuniary concerns, for many others joining an armed organization is a self-sacrificial behavior entailing life threatening risks.

This presentation focuses on the latter type and builds on insights from multiple disciplinary approaches to conceptualize the decision to fight as a form of altruistic punishment. It draws on original empirical research and provides examples about individuals fighting for a secular ethno-nationalist insurgency as well as committing violence in the name of religion and far-right ideologies.

About Dr. Güneş Murat Tezcür:

Güneş Murat Tezcür (Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2005), the Jalal Talabani Chair of Kurdish Political Studies, is a social scientist studying political violence, identity, and movements. His current main research project examines the motivations of ordinary people who take extraordinary risks and join armed movements. He has authored around 20 scholarly articles that appeared in leading journals such as American Political Science Review, Comparative Politics, Journal of Peace Research, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, Law and Society Review, Nationalities Papers, Party Politics, and Political Research Quarterly. He is also the author of Muslim Reformers in Iran and Turkey: The Paradox of Moderation (University of Texas Press, 2010). His research has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the United States Institute of Peace, and the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation. He teaches a wide range of courses on political violence and nonviolence, the Middle East, democratization, social movements, and politics of energy. He conducts his research in Kurdish, Persian, and Turkish. He also serves on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Middle East Studies and Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics & Religion.