Sefika Kumral

Sefika Kumral

Assistant Research Scientist

Contact Information

Research Interests: Social movements, ethnicity/ethnic conflict, political sociology; extreme right, democratization, development

Education: Ph.D.

I am a comparative-historical sociologist and an assistant professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.

I completed my PhD in the Department of Sociology at the Johns Hopkins University. My scholarly interests include social movements, ethnic violence, democratization, extreme right and fascism, and global inequality. I have taught classes on comparative study of ethnic conflicts and global social protest. I am also a co-coordinator of the NSF funded project on "Economic and Geopolitical Crises and Waves of Social Unrest."


My research interests lie in the fields of political, comparative-historical, and development sociology with a focus on social movements and collective violence; the extreme right and fascism; democracy and ethnic violence. 

My research analyzes the conditions under which democratization promotes extreme right movements and communal/ethnic violence in a comparative-historical perspective. My dissertation examines the rise of extreme right movements and anti-Kurdish communal violence in Turkey during the democratic opening period in the 21st century. To study why anti-Kurdish violence came to a peak during a period of democratization, I conducted intensive fieldwork in Turkey - including in-depth interviews in locations with anti-Kurdish communal violence, and the collection of archival data – and constructed the first comprehensive database on right-wing nationalist violence in Turkey using national newspaper archives. Through a combination of quantitative/statistical, qualitative, and comparative-historical analysis, my research shows that democratization is not a magical tool that immediately resolves ethnic conflicts but a contentious process whose outcome is contingent upon the power dynamics between different sections of the ruling elites and sections of masses with dynamic ethnic boundaries.

My research interests also extend to global analyses of social protest and income inequality. I am one of the coordinators of a research project on Global Social Protest, which constructs a new dataset of global social protest from 1791 to today using historical newspaper archives to compare sources and composition of global waves of social unrest in world history (funded by National Science Foundation). 

I have published articles on (1) the relationship between geopolitics, extreme right/fascism, and state-led nationalism; (2) transformation of global income inequality; and (3) dynamics of global social unrest.


AS.230.359.01.FA15: Research Seminar on Global Social Protest

AS.230.364.01.FA14 : Ethnic Violence in Comparative and Global Perspective

AS.230.364.01.SP15 : Ethnic Violence in Comparative and Global Perspective

Hegemonic Transition, War and Opportunities for Fascist Militarism. 2014. The Longue Durée of the Far-Right: An International Historical Sociology, eds. Neil Davidson, Adam Fabry, Richard Saull, and Alexander Anievas. London: Routledge.

Class, Crisis and the 2011 Protest Wave: Cyclical and Secular Trends in Global Labor Unrest. 2014. Overcoming Global Inequalities, eds.  Immanuel Wallerstein, Christopher Chase-Dunn & Christian Suter. Paradigm Publishers (with co-authors Karatasli, Scully and Upadhyay)

Financialization and International (Dis)Order: A Comparative Analysis of the Perspectives of Karl Polanyi and John Hobson. 2013. Berkeley Journal of Sociology vol 57 (1), pp.40-72 (with co-author Karatasli)

World Hegemonies and Global Inequalities. 2016. The Rest Beyond the West: New World Order in the XXI Century, in Popov and Dutkiewicz (eds.) Oxford University Press. (with coauthors Silver, Pasciuti and Karatasli; forthcoming)

World Hegemonic Ascendancy and National Liberation Movements in Comparative Perspective: China, United States, United Kingdom and United Provinces. Journal of World-Systems Research. (with coauthor Karatasli, forthcoming)

Short Pieces

"The Long March of Hindu Nationalism.  2014. Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism," (Nov 5, 2014).  [available online at:]