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Personal profile

Research interests

My research areas include phenomenological anthropology, music and cultural politics, Islam and subjectivity, and transnationalism. My current research on Islamic art pedagogies in Istanbul explores the effects of skill acquisition, engaging with important debates in anthropology around learning, self-formation and ethics, specifically in relation to Sufi Islam and to one of its most significant dimensions, music. I have secondary research expertise in the areas of migration, transnationalism and diasporic politics. My first monograph ‘Beyond Turkey’s Borders’ explored the topic of Turkish transnationalism and the Turkish State’s mobilizing for domestic and international  purposes of its migrants abroad (I.B.Tauris, 2013). 

My most recent research projects include: Revitalizing Islamic Arts: Nationalism, Islamism and Cultural Politics in Contemporary Turkey, Ethical Pedagogies: The Teaching and Learning of Sufi Music in Istanbul,  Turkish Skilled Migration and Brain Drain to Australia, and Political and Religious Transnational Flows between Turkey and Australia


I arrived at Macquarie in 2017, after a three-year post-doctoral fellowship in Anthropology at the University of Melbourne. I received my PhD from the Department of Anthropology at Macquarie University in 2010. 


In the anthropology programme at Macquarie I teach in the areas of anthropology of religion and fieldwork methods.

Research student supervision

I am available to supervise post-graduate projects in a number of areas of social anthropology, notably on Islam, music, cultural politics, and contemporary Turkey, as well as in areas of migration, nationalism, and transnationalism.

External positions

Post-doctoral Fellow, The University of Melbourne


Projects 2018 2018

Research Outputs 2008 2020

  • 2 h-Index
  • 11 Article
  • 8 Chapter
  • 2 Book
  • 2 Book/Film/Article/Exhibition review

Musical ethics and Islam: the art of playing the Ney

Senay, B., Feb 2020, (Accepted/In press) University of Illinois Press.

Research output: Book/ReportBookResearchpeer-review

"Turkey is bigger than Turkey": diaspora-building and the transnational politics of the Turkish State

Senay, B., 2020, (Accepted/In press) Routledge handbook of Turkey. Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review

Humor, amnesia, and making place: constitutive acts of the subject in Gezi Park, Istanbul

Houston, C. & Senay, B., 1 Sep 2017, In : Social Analysis. 61, 3, p. 19-40 22 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Rethinking spirituality through music education in Istanbul

Senay, B., 8 Dec 2017, In : European Journal of Turkish Studies. 25, p. 1-20 20 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Open Access
Music Education
Commercial Development

Textual ecologies in Islam: improvising the perfect Qur'an in calligraphy

Senay, B., 2017, In : Journal of Religious and Political Practice. 3, 1-2, p. 46-56 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Activities 2017 2019

  • 2 Organising a conference, workshop, ...

Histories and Trajectories of Islam: Comparing Turkey and Indonesia Workshop

Banu Senay (Organiser)
11 Oct 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventOrganising a conference, workshop, ...

Religion as Creative Practice

Anna-Karina Hermkens (Organiser), Banu Senay (Organiser)
7 Sep 2017

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventOrganising a conference, workshop, ...