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Karakaya’s research and teaching interests are in political sociology, cultural sociology, and collective memory. Specifically, she studies nostalgia as a collective force, highlighting its central place within both populist political discourse and popular culture. 

She currently examines social performance of election campaign rallies and their cultural significance in the United States. 

Her dissertation, Imperial Daydreaming: Disentangling Contemporary Ottoman Nostalgia in Turkey, examines the contemporary Ottoman revival as a dynamic process between two forms: state-sponsored neo-Ottomanism observable in public displays, and the entertainment-oriented popular Ottomania, exemplified by leisure activities.

In her article in American Journal of Cultural Sociology, Karakaya argues that state-led populist nostalgia mobilizes both emotions and reflexive cognition to shape political engagement. This article was awarded an honorable mention by the American Sociological Association’s Culture Section in 2019.

Recent Courses Taught

Politics and Culture

Select Publications

  • Karakaya, Yagmur and Alejandro Baer. 2019. “Hatred has never flourished on our soil” The Politics of Holocaust Memory in Turkey and Spain” Sociological Forum 2018.
  • Karakaya, 2020. “The Conquest of Hearts: The Central Role of Ottoman Nostalgia within Contemporary Turkish Populism,” American Journal of Cultural Sociology.
  • Ergin, Murat and Yagmur Karakaya, 2017. “Between neo-Ottomanism and Ottomania: Navigating the State-led and Popular-cultural Representations of the Past,” New Perspectives on Turkey. (equal authorship)
  • Moen, Phyllis, Erik Kojola, Erin L. Kelly, and Yagmur Karakaya. 2016. “Men and Women Expecting to Work Longer: Do Changing Work Conditions Matter?” Work, Aging and Retirement 2, no. 3

Appointed to the Faculty


Educational Background

Ph.D., University of Minnesota
M.A., Koç University 
B.A., Bogaziçi University

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