Associate Professor of Government, Wesleyan University

Editor, Socio-Economic Review

Scholar in Residence, Max Planck Institute in Cologne (spring 2024)

Basak Kus is an Associate Professor of Government at Wesleyan University. She earned her PhD in Sociology from UC Berkeley in 2008. Before joining Wesleyan in 2012, she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Yale and Princeton universities, and taught political economy and public policy at University College Dublin in Ireland.

Professor Kus teaches and writes about the interplay between the state, capitalism, and democracy. A central question drives her diverse research interests: How do governments (the US government, in particular) conceptualize and respond to crises and risks across different fields, whether it is the financial sector, climate change, or national security? To date, her research has delved into economic crises and liberalization reforms, the restructuring of the welfare state, state-labor union relations, regulation of the financial sector, financialization, debt, and the politics of inequality in the US, Europe, and Turkey.

Professor Kus is the author of Disembedded: Regulation, Crisis, and Democracy in the Age of Finance (Oxford University Press). The book examines the evolution of the state-finance relationship from the early 1970s onward, specifically in the context of the US financial crisis and subsequent political developments. Additionally, she is the editor of two journal special issues: a special issue of Economic and Social Review on Politics of Financialization” (2012), and a special issue of International Journal of Comparative Sociology on “Credit, Consumption, and Debt” (2013).

Currently, she is involved in a number of projects that explore the intersections of state, economy, and climate change. She recently co-organized an international conference on “Greening the Economy: Towards a New Political Economy in Berlin (featured here), and is co-editing a special issue on the topic in the journal Regulation & GovernanceShe is also working on a book tracing the historical evolution of US climate policy, from the initial environmental protection debates in the 1970s to its current form. The book examines the climate-economy nexus, exploring how economic objectives have shaped environmental protection efforts and the management of climate-related risks, while also emphasizing the critical role economists have played in formulating policies aimed at mitigating these risks.

Professor Kus is currently serving on the SASE Women and Gender Forum (WAG) committee

She earned her PhD from the University of California-Berkeley, and her BA from Bogazici University in Istanbul.  

Areas of scholarship and teaching: State and Society; Political Economy (American and Comparative); Law and Politics; Public Policy; Research Methods