Department of Politics and International Studies

Dr Ulas Ince

Key information

Department of Politics and International Studies Senior Lecturer of Political Theory and Political Economy Centre for Comparative Political Thought Member
Ph.D. Cornell University, Department of Government, 2013
Russell Square, College Buildings
Email address
Support hours
Wednesday, 1:00pm-3:00pm (In-person)


Onur Ulas Ince is Senior Lecturer in Political Theory. His research and teaching interests are in political theory, political economy, history of capitalism, and colonial studies.

Ulas is the author of the award-winning book, Colonial Capitalism and the Dilemmas of Liberalism (Oxford UP, 2018), which received the 2020 David and Elaine Spitz Prize (ICSPT) and was finalist for the 2020 C. B. Macpherson Prize (CPSA). The book has also been reviewed in several academic journals and featured in a podcast interview on the New Books Network.

Ulas is currently writing a second monograph, entitled “Before the Color Line: Empire, Capital, and Race in Asia, 1800-1850, ” which is under contract with Oxford University Press.

In addition to book projects, Ulas has published numerous articles in leading disciplinary journals, including American Political Science Review, The Journal of Politics, New Political Economy, History of Political Thought, and Political Theory.

Before joining SOAS, Ulas held faculty positions at Koç University and Singapore Management University as well as visiting fellowships at Princeton University, Brown University, and the National University of Singapore.

Further details of Ulas’s research can be found on his personal website:

Research interests

Ulas’s research broadly investigates how the imperial constitution of global capitalism has been theorised in the medium of political economy since the early-modern period. His first book, Colonial Capitalism and the Dilemmas of Liberalism examines the liberal vindications of British colonial capitalism in the long-eighteenth century. Parting with culturalist approaches, the book discloses how imperial economic agendas mediated European constructions of civilisational and racial difference.

Ulas is currently working on two book monographs. The first, “Before the Color Line,” situates the study of race and capital in a trans-imperial frame and connects it to the Enlightenment discourses of political economy and civilisation/savagery. The book’s main arguments are outlined in a recent article entitled “Deprovincializing Racial Capitalism” (American Political Science Review).

The second, “Between Global Commerce and Empire: Capitalism and the Limits of Liberal Anti-Imperialism,” reappraises the Enlightenment critique of European colonialism from a political economic perspective. An early elaboration of the book’s arguments are published in two articles: “David Hume, Colonial Slavery, and Commercial Incivility” (History of Political Thought), and “Adam Smith, Settler Colonialism, and Limits of Liberal Anti-Imperialism” (Journal of Politics).


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