Portrait of Salih Emre Gercek
  • Visiting Instructor of Politics


  • PhD, political science, Northwestern University, expected April 2020
  • MA, University of Essex, 2011
  • BS, Middle East Technical University, 2010


Salih Emre Gercek is a visiting instructor of politics at Oberlin College, where he teaches courses on political theory, democratic theory, and contemporary continental political thought.

Gercek is currently completing a PhD in political science at Northwestern University (expected April 2020), where he was also a fellow in the Paris Program in Critical Theory from 2016-17.

His dissertation considers how the modern idea of democracy emerged and evolved in 19th-century European political thought against the background of the “social question”–e.g., debates over the problems of social disintegration, poverty, and class conflict.

Through an investigation of the thought of Alexis de Tocqueville, John Stuart Mill, and Louis Blanc, it recovers how the idea of democracy expressed not only demands for political reform (e.g., the extension of suffrage) but also for therestructuring of social relations in light of the principles of equality, participation, and the common good.

His research also engages with efforts to rethink collectivity, agency, and power in contemporary political theory. Elements of his research on these themes have been published (online first) in the European Journal of Political Theory.