SOAS University of London

Department of Politics and International Studies

Dr Ulas Ince

Ph.D. Cornell University, Department of Government, 2013
  • Teaching
  • Research


Ince Ulas - POL - IMG - 240, 186, 56
Department of Politics and International Studies

Senior Lecturer of Political Theory and Political Economy

Dr Ulas Ince
Email address:
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
Russell Square: College Buildings
Office No:
Academic Support Hours:
Mondays 1:00pm - 3:00pm


Onur Ulas Ince is Senior Lecturer of Political Theory and Political Economy. His research broadly investigates how the imperial constitution of global capitalism has been theorised in the medium of political economy since the early-modern period. He is the author of the award-winning book, Colonial Capitalism and the Dilemmas of Liberalism (Oxford UP, 2018), and of single-authored, peer-reviewed articles published in the American Political Science Review, The Journal of Politics, New Political Economy, Political Theory, and History of Political Thought.

Ulas’s research interests have been shaped by his global academic trajectory over the past decade and a half. Before joining SOAS, he held faculty positions at Koç University and Singapore Management University as well as fellowships at Princeton University, Brown University, and the National University of Singapore. He has given invited talks in several countries, from the US and Canada and to Japan and Korea.



Ulas’s research stands at the intersection of political theory, political economy, history of capitalism, and colonial studies. His first book, Colonial Capitalism and the Dilemmas of Liberalism (Oxford University Press, 2018), examines the distinctly liberal vindications of British colonial capitalism in the long-eighteenth century. Parting ways with culturalist approaches in political theory and postcolonial studies, the book discloses how imperial economic agendas mediated European constructions of civilisational and racial difference.

Colonial Capitalism won the 2020 David and Elaine Spitz Prize by the International Conference for the Study of Political Thought and was a finalist for the 2020 C. B. Macpherson Prize by the Canadian Political Science Association. It has been reviewed in Political Theory, Perspectives on Politics, Contemporary Political Theory, Canadian Journal of Political Science, The Review of Politics, and The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History. The book has also been featured in a podcast interview on the New Books in Political Science Network.

Ulas has published a dozen peer-reviewed articles and chapters in major disciplinary journals and handbooks. Taking the history of colonial capitalism as their departure point, several of these engage social and political theory in order to sharpen the political contours of capitalism. Other articles excavate the history of political thought for the ideological problems that colonial capitalism posed for liberal political economy.

Ulas is currently working on two research projects. The first of these, “Deprovincializing Racial Capitalism,” challenges the narrow Atlantic focus of the recent scholarship on race and capital. Widening the aperture to European colonial capitalism in Asia, the project draws theoretical insights from a trans-imperial frame. The arguments of the project are outlined at a recent talk at the University of Sussex. The second project, “Between Commerce and Empire: Capitalism and the Limits of Liberal Anti-Imperialism”, reappraises the Enlightenment critique of European colonialism. It is argued that the Enlightenment thinkers’ denunciation of European empires and their sympathy for its non-European victims were ultimately constrained by their commitment to commercial and capitalist expansion.