Photo of Birgul Kutan

Dr Birgul Kutan

Role: Research Fellow

Affiliation: University of Sussex

Dr. Birgul Kutan is a Lecturer at the Centre for International Education at the University of Sussex. Holding a PhD in Human Geography and two MA degrees (one in Society and Space, one in International Development) from the University of Bristol. She specializes in political geography and ethnography, focusing on contemporary politics and social movements in Turkey.

Her research centers on the pivotal role played by non-state actors (individual and collective) in driving social transformation.

Key themes in her work include democracy, human rights, the nation-state, social movements, and the construction of new futures, particularly through the lens of social movements shaping new paradigms globally. While her geographic focus lies on Turkey, Birgul’s work extends to global spaces, examining processes such as colonialism, globalization, social and political conflicts, uneven development, inequalities, and injustices.

Birgul is particularly interested in exploring how communities creatively produce new knowledge and technologies to defend their rights and envision alternative political futures. Her theoretical framework is rooted in the critical epistemologies and methodologies of the Global South, challenging dominant Western-centric perspectives. She emphasizes the importance of historically marginalized spaces and bodies in shaping new epistemologies, adopting a political and ethical standpoint that acknowledges their indispensability.

Methodologically, Birgul employs critical methodologies and ethnographic/participatory research methods, emphasizing dialogical, collective and co-productive research to map out the political and cultural realities of people. Her aim is to contribute to existing social histories and political resistance, critiquing dominant colonial and global power structures and epistemologies that are often a source of generating epistemic injustices while simultaneously seeking to create a pluri-diverse epistemologies across the world.

Her recent work includes the ESRC-funded project on ‘Learning and Knowledge Production in Social Movements,’ which aimed to disrupt dominant knowledge-making practices by highlighting the significance of struggle spaces as sites of learning and knowledge creation. She is currently involved in the PEER Network Project, focusing on developing a locally grounded approach to Political Economy Analysis of Education, aiming to inform socially just decisions in contexts of conflict and crisis and critique Western-led research hegemony in Education in Emergencies.