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
The presentation will be held online, please register at
Ahmet T. Kuru is Porteous 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 UP). His works have been translated
into Arabic, Bosnian, Chinese, French, Indonesian, Persian, and Turkish. His 2019
book, Islam, Authoritarianism, and Underdevelopment: A Global and Historical
Comparison (Cambridge UP) became the co-winner of the American Political Science Association's
International History and Politics Section Best Book Award.