Banu Bargu

Dr. Banu Bargu

Mercator Fellow from January 1st till February 28th 2017 & from May 15th till JULY 2017

Banu Bargu is Associate Professor of Politics at the New School for Social Research. Her main area of specialization is political theory, especially modern and contemporary political thought. Her work draws upon continental and critical theory as well as the history of Western political thought to address salient political problems and contemporary resistance practices. Her thematic interests include the body, subjectivity, sovereignty, sacrifice, violence, materialism, and aesthetics. In her research and teaching, Banu Bargu is interested in bringing together political theorization with empirical, ethnographic, and historical research, relying on methods that are trans-disciplinary and hybrid. Her research is situated at the intersection of philosophy, politics, history, and political anthropology, with a regional interest in the Middle East, especially Turkish politics.

She is the author of Starve and Immolate: The Politics of Human Weapons (Columbia University Press, 2014), which received APSA’s First Book Prize given by the Foundations of Political Theory section and was named an Outstanding Academic Title by Choice.

Banu Bargu is currently working on two book-length projects. The first is a volume that examines contemporary modalities of corporeal counter-politics and processes of subjectivation, focusing on the use of the body in political struggles and its implications. The other project is a monograph on rethinking the materialist tradition, especially in light of the posthumous publication of Louis Althusser’s work on the aleatory.

Banu Bargu graduated from Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey. She completed her PhD at Cornell University. She has been teaching political theory at the New School for Social Research since 2007. Banu Bargu has also taught at SOAS, University of London, and Kadir Has University in Istanbul, Turkey.

Recent Publications


Banu Bargu (2014) Starve and Immolate: The Politics of Human Weapons (New York: Columbia University Press).

Articles and Essays

Banu Bargu (2016) “Why Did Bouazizi Burn Himself? The Politics of Fate and Fatal Politics,” Constellations: An International Journal of Critical and Democratic Theory 23, no. 1, 27-36.

Banu Bargu (2016) “Warum verbrannte sich Bouazizi? Die Politik des Schicksals und verhängnisvoll-tödliche Politik,” in Praktiken der Kritik (Normative Orders), ed. Katia Henriette und David Roth-Isigkeit (Frankfurt/New York: Campus Verlag), 187-214. (Translation)

Banu Bargu (2016) “Another Necropolitics,” theory & event 19, no. 1.

Banu Bargu (2016) “Hunger Strikes: When the Body Becomes A Battlefield,” The Funambulist Magazine: Politics of Space and Bodies, no. 7: 34-39.

Banu Bargu (2015) “Althusser’s Materialist Theater: Ideology and Its Aporias,” differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies 26, no. 3, Special Issue: Balibar on Althusser and Ideology’s Dramaturgy, 81-106.

Banu Bargu (2015) “Machiavelli after Althusser,” in The Radical Machiavelli: Politics, Philosophy, and Language, edited by Filippo Del Lucchese, Fabio Frosini, and Vittorio Morfino (Leiden and Boston: Brill Academic Publishers), 420-39.

Banu Bargu (2014) “Odysseus Unbound: Sovereignty and Sacrifice in Hunger and the Dialectic of Enlightenment,” Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities 19, no. 4, 7-22.

Banu Bargu (2014) “The Predicaments of Left-Schmittianism,” South Atlantic Quarterly 113, no. 4, 713-27.

Banu Bargu (2014) “Sovereignty as Erasure: Rethinking Enforced Disappearances,” Qui Parle: Critical Humanities and Social Sciences 23, no. 1, 35-75.

Banu Bargu (2014) “Sovereignty,” in The Cambridge Foucault Lexicon, edited by Leonard Lawlor and John Nale (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), 456-65.

Banu Bargu (2013) “Human Shields,” Contemporary Political Theory 12, no. 4, 277-95.

Banu Bargu (2013) “Politics of Commensality,” in The Anarchist Turn, edited by Jacob Blumenfeld, Chiara Bottici, and Simon Critchley (London: Pluto Press, 2013), 35-58.

Banu Bargu (2013) “Theorizing Self-Destructive Violence,” International Journal of Middle East Studies 45, no. 4, 804-806.

Banu Bargu (2012) “In the Theater of Politics: Althusser’s Aleatory Materialism and Aesthetics,” diacritics 40, no. 3, 86-111.

Banu Bargu (2011) “Stasiology: Political Theology and the Figure of the Sacrificial Enemy,” in After Secular Law, edited by Winnifred Sullivan, Robert Yelle and Mateo Taussig-Rubbo (Stanford: Stanford University Press), 140-159.

Banu Bargu (2011) “Max Stirner, Postanarchy avant la lettre,” in “How Not to Be Governed”: Readings and Interpretations from a Critical Anarchist Left, edited by Jimmy Casas Klausen and James Martel (Lanham: Lexington Press), 103-122.

Banu Bargu (2010) “Unleashing the Acheron: Sacrificial Partisanship, Sovereignty, and History,” theory & event 13, no. 1.

Banu Bargu (2010) “Spectacles of Death: Dignity, Dissent, and Sacrifice in Turkey’s Prisons,” in Policing and Prisons in the Middle East: Formations of Coercion, edited by Laleh Khalili and Jillian Schwedler (London: Hurst & Company; New York: Columbia University Press), 241-261.

(Changed: 2021-04-30)