Christopher Houston is Professor of Anthropology at Macquarie University, Sydney. He has carried out extensive fieldwork in Turkey on Islamic social movements, nationalism, urban processes in Istanbul, and on the Kurdish issue. His most recent book is Theocracy, Secularism, and Islam in Turkey. Anthropocratic Republic (2021, Palgrave Macmillan).
I remember the sweet smell of the state Caykur tea factory, intimate, like perfume in the air; and the shabby suitcase traders from the ‘East’ in towns along the way, selling Russian cameras, samovar teapots, and handicrafts in makeshift harbour bazaars.
The Kurds, the Russians, and democracy in Turkey In Turkey, perhaps more than most other places, the significance of events is hard to grasp. One reason for this is the sheer number of major, often extreme, politically inspired actions: the murder of the Appeals Court judges in 2004; the huge Republic protests in support of state secularism in 2007; the massive Gezi Park protests against urban development in 2013; the shocking suicide bombings in Suruc…
Cultural supremacism or shared ordinariness? In multireligious societies like Australia, what should be the purpose of critiquing Islamophobia? Is it to reassure anxious white Australians that there is nothing to fear from real Islam, and that rhetoric about its supposed intrinsic violence, sexism or hostility to other religions is misinformed and racist?