H. Zeynep Bulutgil is a Professor of Political Science and International Relations in the Department of Political Science at University College London. Her general research interests focus on political violence, the relationship between religious and political institutions, as well as inequality and ethnic politics. Her first research project explored the conditions and processes that lead to (or prevent) ethnic cleansing. This research project resulted in her first monograph, The Roots of Ethnic Cleansing in Europe (Cambridge University Press, 2016; 2018), which was the Winner of the 2017 Best Book Award in the European Politics and Society Section of APSA. She has also published articles on ethnic cleansing, political violence, social cleavages, and political mobilization in International Security, Journal of Peace Research, Journal of Global Security Studies, and Nationalities Papers.
Her second monograph, The Origins of Secular Institutions: Ideas, Timing, and Organization (Oxford University Press, 2022), explores the conditions under which the institutional structures of countries become divorced from religious actors and regulations. To address this question, she uses a historical-cross-national dataset on institutional secularization that covers the post-1850 period. Additionally, her monograph relies on historical case studies from Europe and the Middle East to analyze the conditions under which political actors that advocate for secular institutions emerge and succeed in achieving their goals. She was awarded a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship (2019-2020) to complete this project. Additionally, the book has received the 2023 Hubert Morken Best Book in Religion and Politics Award at APSA, 2023 Best Book Award in the Religion and International Relations Section of ISA, 2023 Honorable Mention for the APSA David Greenstone Prize in Politics and History, and was shortlisted for the 2023 Gregory Luebbert Award for Best Book in Comparative Politics at APSA.
She has also been working on a series of articles (co-authored with Neeraj Prasad at University of Amsterdam) that explore the relationship between economic inequality within and between ethnic groups and political mobilization in India. This research has resulted in two articles, one focusing on ethnic voting in the Journal of Elections, Public Opinion and Parties (2020), and another focusing on communal riots in the Journal of Peace Research (2022).
Her research has been supported by grants or fellowships from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School, Program on Order, Conflict, and Violence at the Yale Center for International and Area Studies, National Science Foundation, and British Academy. She holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. She currently serves as the Director of the PhD programme at UCL's Department of Political Science and is also an Associate Editor at Nationalities Papers.