Timur Kuran is Professor of Economics and Political Science, and Gorter Family Professor of Islamic Studies at Duke University. One branch of his research focuses on economic, political, and social change, with emphasis on institutions and preferences. Another branch explores the economic and political history of the Middle East, with a focus on the roles of Islamic institutions.
Among his publications are Private Truths, Public Lies: The Social Consequences of Preference Falsification (Harvard University Press), Islam and Mammon: The Economic Predicaments of Islamism (Princeton University Press), The Long Divergence: How Islamic Law Held Back the Middle East (Princeton University Press), and Freedoms Delayed: The Political Legacy of Islamic Law in the Middle East (Cambridge University Press), all translated into multiple languages. He is also the editor of the tri-lingual, ten-volume compilation, Socio-Economic Life in Seventeenth-century Istanbul: Glimpses from Court Records (İş Bank Publications), and co-author of Microhistory of the Turkish Posts, 1920-2015 (İş Bank Publications). He is at work on a sequel to Private Truths, Public Lies; drawing evidence from the United States and elsewhere, this book in progress focuses on the role that preference falsification plays in political polarization and the spread of disinformation.
After graduating from Robert Academy in Istanbul, Kuran earned an AB from Princeton University and an MA and Ph.D. from Stanford University, all in economics. Between 1982 and 2007 he taught at the University of Southern California. He was also a member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, the John Olin Visiting Professor at the Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago, a visiting professor of economics at Stanford University, and a visiting professor of law at Yale Law School.
He currently directs the Association for Analytic Learning about Islam and Muslim Societies (AALIMS); edits a book series for Cambridge University Press, Economics, Choice and Society; co-edits the Journal of Comparative Economics; and serves on numerous editorial boards.
As a promoter of expressive freedoms, Kuran is a founding member of the Academic Freedom Alliance (AFA), and he serves on the advisory council of the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE).