Faculty & Staff
Professor, Department Chair
Phone: (415) 405-2470
Office: Humanities (HUM) 304C
Nicole F. Watts is a professor in the Dept. of Political Science, where she teaches on comparative politics, the politics of the Middle East and North Africa, and social movements. Her research interests include ethnopolitical and national movements, state-society relations, protest and dissent, and Kurdish politics and mobilization, particularly in Iraq and Turkey. She is a graduate of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London (1992) and the University of Washington in Seattle (2001).
Watts is the author and editor of books, chapters, and articles. She co-edited (with Elise Massicard) Negotiating Political Power in Turkey: Breaking up the Party (Routledge 2012), and her book Activists in Office: Kurdish Politics and Protest in Turkey was published by the University of Washington Press in 2010. The Turkish edition, Sandıkla Meydan Okumak: Tűrkiye’de Kűrtlerin Siyasi Yolculuğu (translated by Bilgesu Sűmer) was published in 2014 by Iletişim Publishing in Istanbul. Most recently, she published a book chapter, “Democracy and Self-Determination in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq,” in Conflict, Democratization, and the Kurds in the Middle East, ed. by David Romano and Mehmet Gurses (Palgrave MacMillan 2014) and a chapter entitled “State-Society Relations and Protest in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq,” in The Middle East in the World: An Introductory Guide, ed. by fellow SFSU professor Lucia Volk (Routledge 2015). She also recently authored “The Role of Symbolic Capital in Protest: State-Society Relations and the Destruction of the Halabja Martyrs Monument in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq,” published in 2012 in Comparative Studies on South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East . Her work has appeared in a number of other refereed journals, including the International Journal of Middle East Studies; New Perspectives on Turkey; and Ethnopolitics. She has also made a short documentary entitled "Campaigning with Osman: An Alternative Kurdish Struggle" (2006). The film documents a pro-Kurdish election campaign for mayor in Diyarbakir, southeast Turkey. She is currently working on a book manuscript on dissent and state-society relations in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.
Watts is an associate editor of the European Journal of Turkish Studies (EJTS), a refereed, on-line scholarly journal. She is a former co-director of the Middle East and Islamic Studies minor at SFSU, and still closely involved with the group and its activities. Watts makes regular visits to the Kurdistan region of Iraq and to Turkey and has presented papers at many conferences and centers around the world.