Philip Balboni

Research Interests: Turkish politics, history, and literature; Middle East studies; Orientalism and Occidentalism; post-colonialism; social and anthropological theory; religion and secularism.


Based on 30 months of fieldwork in Istanbul, Philip’s dissertation (“The Occidentalist Frame: Orientalism and the Idea of the West in Turkey”) focuses on the legacies of Orientalism and Westernization in contemporary Turkish politics and society. He completed his BA (2013) and MA (2015) at Columbia University, in the department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies. He also holds an MSc in Social Anthropology from Oxford University (2016).

Academic Publications: 

2023. “Occidentalism, Revisited: Notes on a Polysemic Concept.” Under Revision for Anthropological Theory.

2022. “Religious Distinctions: Rethinking Said on Religion, Criticism, and the Secular.” Qui Parle 31(2). December 2022.

2022. “Modern Translations: Reflections on Postcolonialism, New Ontology, and the Secular.” History of the Present 12(2). Co-authored with Henry Clements. October 2022.

Other Writings:

“Turkey is the EU’s Best Hope.” Foreign Policy, May 2023 (

“Is Erdoğan on His Way Out?” The Journal of Democracy, May 2023 (

“In Marx’s Novel…” The London Review of Books blog, April 2023 (