Chris Houston

Associate Professor

1991 …2019
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Personal profile


I arrived at Macquarie in 2005, after teaching anthropology for three years at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. In the anthropology programme at Macquarie I teach in the broad area of political anthropology, and also co-convene first year and Honours. In my teaching I try to engineer a meeting - as anthropology always does - between more abstract social theory and particular ethnographic interpretation and representation. At the moment I am interested in the broad areas of the anthropology of the city and the politics and lived experience of Islam. Both of these interests have been fostered by my fieldwork in the wonderful/terrible city of Istanbul, where I have lived on and off for a number of years. Istanbul was my base for the study of the Islamic social movement in Turkey, in which I explored the ways political Islam in the Turkish context was organized and practiced. My years in Turkey (and other places) have also encouraged my interest in republicanism, nationalism and literature, as well as how the organization of space and architecture are connected with these political practices.

Research interests

All of my work in Turkey has been dealing with the political repercussions of Turkish Republicanism, both in terms of its excluding and assimilating nationalism and its fundamentalist secularism. For this reason I have done work on the Kurdish question in Turkey and on the politics of the Islamist social movements, both of which reveal the way Turkish politics is structured to severely limit the ability of civil society to democratically self-organize free from the heavy hand of the State.

Secondly, and as part of my research on Turkish Kemalism, I have a particular interest in the politics of the built environment and the control of space by the Republic. My research into the built environment is also seeking to take a historical turn, to examine how social actors in the late 70s used and controlled space for ideological ends in the bitter struggle between leftists and rightists leading up to the military intervention of 1980. Here I am focusing on spatial strategies of terror - bombing, segregation of space, occupation of suburbs etc. - to understand urban politics.

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Turkey Social Sciences
anthropology Social Sciences
islamism Social Sciences
Muslim Social Sciences
Islam Social Sciences
Kurd Social Sciences
Kurdistan Social Sciences
event Social Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Projects 2006 2016

Research Outputs 1991 2019

Anthropocratic Republic? Theocracy, secularity and Kemalism in Turkey

Houston, C., Sep 2019, In : Critique of Anthropology. 39, 3, p. 329-349 21 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

political system

Anthropology as critique: the legacy of Joel Kahn

Baldacchino, J-P. & Houston, C., 1 Sep 2019, In : Critique of Anthropology. 39, 3, p. 261-271 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Event-stanbul? Contemporary Istanbul as site of intersecting urban events

Houston, C., 13 Feb 2019, In : Ethnos.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

urban planning

The inadequate Islamic grappling with the Kurdish issue

Houston, C., 2019, Routledge handbook on the Kurds. Gunter, M. M. (ed.). London ; New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, p. 169-180 12 p.

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


Plotters and martyrs: the Justice and Development Party's (AKP) constituting of political actors in the 15 July coup event

Houston, C., 13 Dec 2018, In : Politics, religion, ideology. 19, 4, p. 531-545 15 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

political actor
emergency decree

Activities 2009 2009

  • 1 Editorial work

Journal of Intercultural Studies (Journal)

Chris Houston (Reviewer)

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial work