Juliette Tolay, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Political Science, School of Public Affairs
Office Phone
Office Location
Olmsted Building, W160

Juliette Tolay is associate professor of Political Science at the School of Public Affairs at Penn State University, Harrisburg. Her research focuses on asylum, migration and foreign policies, as well as public attitudes in Europe, Turkey and the Middle East. With Laura Batalla, she co-authored for the Atlantic Council, “Toward Long-Term Solidarity with Syrian Refugees? Turkey’s Policy Response and Challenges” (2018). She is co-author of Turkey and Its Neighbors: Foreign Relation in Transition, (2012). Her publications have appeared in International Migration, Perspectives on Politics, Ethnopolitics, Rising Powers Quarterly, Les Etudes du CERI, and several edited volumes. Her research has been featured online in the Conversation, Huffington Post and Open Democracy. Dr. Tolay is a former fellow at the Transatlantic Academy of the German Marshall Fund and was the 2010 recipient of the first prize of the Sakıp Sabancı International Research Award for a paper on multiculturalism in Turkey. Dr. Tolay received her Ph.D. in Global Governance from the University of Delaware, and studied at Sciences Po and the Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales in Paris, and in Galatasaray Universitesi in Istanbul. Dr. Tolay is also the faculty director of Penn State Harrisburg Model United Nations (PSHMUN). Dr. Tolay is the 2018 recipient of the Penn State Harrisburg James A. Jordan Award for Teaching and Excellence, and the 2019 recipient of the Torch of Global Enlightenment Award.


Dr. Tolay's research interests center around attitudes toward migration at the individual and state level: Why do some individuals oppose immigration, while other support immigration? Are the reasons similar in the case of refugees? Why do some states use more or less restrictive immigration and asylum policies? What are the historical, institutional, cultural, social, economic and psychological roots of specific attitudes? What role does framing (media) and prestige or self-praise play in the pursuit of these attitudes and policies? How do considerations of domestic and foreign policy affect migration policies?

Turkey lies at the core of Dr. Tolay's scholarship. She is particularly interested in how knowledge about immigration into Turkey is generated by the media, social media and Academia. She also uses insights from critical theory and post-colonial studies to analyze the broader implications of Turkey’s discourses and policies on migration and asylum, an in particular toward Syrian refugees since 2011.


Dr. Tolay teaches a wide variety of courses on International Politics at the introduction and advanced levels. “International Relations” and “Comparing Politics around the Globe,” together with “Contemporary Controversies of International Relations,” around the Globe are general education courses that exposes students to the theories and main realities of international politics. At the 400-level, Dr. Tolay teaches interactive courses on politics in the Middle East (through graphic novels) and Europe (and the European Union), as well as a course on International Law where students role-play the trial of a world leader at the International Criminal Court, and a U.S. foreign policy course where each week, students write a memo to the White House advising the U.S. President of a course of action for the most pressing issue of that week. Dr. Tolay is also teaching courses on the United Nations that provides a solid academic background and prepare students for PSHMUN. Tolay also works closely with Penn State Harrisburg Honors Program, assisting with honors theses’ supervision and teaching honors courses. In 2018, Dr. Tolay received the Penn State Harrisburg James A. Jordan Award for Teaching and Excellence, presented by the Student Government Association.


Since 2014, Dr. Tolay is the (co-)advisor of the International Affairs Association/Rotaract Club (IAA/RC). The Club is one of the oldest and most active club on campus, organizing events to raise awareness on international cultures and international affairs: participation in MUN conference, WorldFest, international dinner, national geography week, and many more. Dr. Tolay is also the faculty director of Penn State Harrisburg Model United Nations (PSHMUN), which celebrated its 45th anniversary in 2017, and hosts over 300 high-school students coming to simulate the work of the UN and solve important issues. Dr. Tolay is also active in a number of college and school committees, and is actively involved in the campus’ international and intercultural activities. Off-campus, Dr. Tolay regularly engage with the local, national and international community through numerous public speaking engagement to discuss about important political developments. In 2019, she received the Torch of Global Enlightenment Award, presented by the World Affairs Council of Harrisburg.

Social Media & Profiles

Research Interests

Immigration, asylum and displacement

Foreign policy

Turkish politics

European politics

Middle Eastern Politics

Public opinion and Public attitudes (qualitative approaches)


Selected recent publications.

Juliette Tolay, (Forthcoming 2019). “Eurocentrism in Migration Policy,” in Turkey in Transition: The Dynamics of Domestic and Foreign Politics, Eds. Gürkan Çelik and Ronald H. Linden, Boulder: Lynne-Rienner.

Battala, Laura and Juliette Tolay, 2018. “Towards Long-Term Solidarity with Syrian Refugees? Turkey’s Policy Response and Challenges”, Atlantic Council, 1-27.

Juliette Tolay, 2018. “Rewriting National Narratives through the Study of Past Migrations: Turkey's History of Migrations,” Ethnopolitics, 17(2): 201-221.

Tolay, Juliette, 2017. "Refugees, Is there room for a middle ground?," The Conversation, February 13, 2017

Balci, Bayram and Juliette Tolay, 2017. "Pourquoi les réfugiés syriens sont devenus une monnaie d'échange entre l'Europe et la Turquie" (in French), Huffington Post, January 12, 2017.

Balci, Bayram and Juliette Tolay, 2016. "Turkey Hosting Syrian Refugees: Between Humanitarian Commitment and Political Instrumentalization," (In French) Les Etudes du CERI, 225: 1-36.

Tolay, Juliette, 2016. "Mass Migration and Images of State Power: Turkey's Claim to the Status of a Responsible Rising Power," Rising Powers Quarterly, 1(2): 135-149.

Tolay, Juliette, "Pennsylvanians say "yes" to Syrian refugees but are concerned over screening" Pennsylvania 2016 Pre-Election Poll on Policy and Governance, School of Public Affairs, Penn State Harrisburg, November 1, 2016.

Tolay, Juliette, 2016. Review of Border Thinking on the Edges of the West: Crossing over the Hellespont by Andrew Davison, Perspectives on Politics, 14(2): 547-548.

Tolay, Juliette, 2015/2012. "Discovering Immigration into Turkey: The Emergence of a Dynamic Field,” International Migration, 53(6), 57-73.

Tolay, Juliette, 2014.“Deconstructing Turkish Public Attitudes Towards Refugees: Empowering Rights Over Politicization and Self-Gratification,” USAK Yearbook of Politics and International Relations, 6: 1- 29.

Tolay, Juliette, 2014. “The legal and institutional framework of asylum policy in Turkey: towards more protection?” in Baklacıoğlu and Özer, Migration, Asylum, and Refugees in Turkey: Studies in Control of Population at the Southeastern Borders of the EU, Lewiston: Edwin Mellen Press, 77-126.

Linden et al. 2012. Turkey and its Neighbors: Foreign Relations in Transition. Boulder, Lynne-Rienner, 258p. (co-authored with Ronald Linden, Ahmet Evin, Kemal Kirişci, Thomas Straubhaar, Nathalie Tocci and Joshua Walker).

Tolay, Juliette, 2012. “Turkey’s “Critical Europeanization:” Evidence from Turkey’s Immigration Policies,” in Elitok and Straubhaar, Turkey, Migration and the EU: Potentials, Challenges and Opportunities, Hamburg University Press, Series HWWI Volume 5, 39-61.


Ph.D., Global Governance, University of Delaware

M.A., Political Science and International Relations, University of Delaware,

M.A., Turkish Language and Civilization, Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales (INALCO)

M.A., International Affairs, Sciences-Po, Paris, France

B.A., Political Science and International Relations, Sciences-Po, Paris, France

Course Schedule
PLSC 003 - Comparing Politics around the Globe
PLSC 014 - International Relations
PLSC 140 - Contemporary Controversies of International Relations (regular and honors sections)
PL SC 442 - American Foreign Policy
PL SC 455 - Governments and Politics of Western Europe
PL SC 467 - International Relations of the Middle East
PL SC 487 - International Law and Organizations
PL SC 497 - Special Topics: The United Nations