“The Politics of Religious Party Change: Islamist and Catholic Parties in Comparative Perspective,” is nonresident fellow A.Kadir Yildirim’s newest book (Cambridge University Press 2023). By examining the effect of religious institutions on religious party evolution in the Middle East and Western Europe, he determines how and why ideological change and secularization of religious political parties occurs.
Yildirim traces the striking similarities in the origins of Islamist and Catholic parties, chronicles their conflicts with existing religious authorities and then analyzes their subsequently divergent trajectories. He finds that centralized and hierarchical religious authority structures — like the Vatican — incentivize religious parties to move in pro-system, secular and democratic directions. By contrast, less centralized structures — such as those of Sunni Islam — create more permissive environments for religious parties to be anti-system and more prone to diverse, smaller and localized party movements.
Registration has closed.
5:30 pm — Reception
6:00 pm — Presentation
A.Kadir Yildirim, Ph.D., is a nonresident fellow for the Middle East at the Baker Institute. His main research interests include politics and religion, political Islam, the politics of the Middle East and Turkish politics.
Yildirim is the author of two books. His most recent book, “The Politics of Religious Party Change: Islamist and Catholic Parties in Comparative Perspective” (2023), addresses the comparative effect of religious institutions on religious party evolution in the Middle East and Western Europe. In support of this book, he was the recipient of the Smith Richardson Foundation’s prestigious Strategy & Policy Fellows grant. “Muslim Democratic Parties in the Middle East: Economy and Politics of Islamist Moderation” (2015), his first book, analyzes Islamist parties' moderation trajectories and the impact of economic liberalization processes on moderation in Egypt, Morocco and Turkey.
Yildirim also served as the principal investigator for a study funded by the Henry Luce Foundation on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on religiosity in the Muslim world. Previously, Yildirim led two major research projects at the Baker Institute. In a project funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Yildirim and his colleagues examined pluralism and inclusion in the Middle East since the beginning of the Arab Spring protests. In a second project funded by The Henry R. Luce Foundation, he analyzed the relationship between religious authority and U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, using an experimental survey design.
Yildirim's work has been published in journals such as the British Journal of Political Science (forthcoming), Party Politics, Political Science Quarterly, Politics & Religion, Representation, Comparative European Politics, Democratization, Middle Eastern Studies, Sociology of Islam and Soccer & Society. His opinion pieces have appeared in The Washington Post, Carnegie’s Sada, the Huffington Post and Al Jazeera. Previously, Yildirim was a faculty member at Furman University and a postdoctoral fellow at Princeton University’s Niehaus Center.
Yildirim holds a Ph.D. in political science from the Ohio State University, where he also earned an M.A. degree. Yildirim received his B.A. from Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey.