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Research Interests:
Social Sciences
Discipline: Anthropology
Pillar / Cluster: Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences


Gabriel Tusinski received his PhD from the Department of Anthropology at the University of Chicago. Trained in sociocultural and linguistic anthropology, his research draws on semiotic approaches to material and visual culture to examine contemporary political transformations in urban Southeast Asia. His dissertation “The Spectral City: Cultural Belonging, Urban Space, and Post-Conflict Reconstruction in Dili, Timor-Leste” explored how post-conflict urban architectural reconstruction projects and nation-building discourses in the capital city of Timor-Leste at once revitalize indigenous Timorese cultural sensibilities about house-based kinship and simultaneously frame these kinship practices as incompatible with democratic ideals. Some of his current scholarly interests include: urban space, domestic and vernacular architecture, material culture studies, kinship, violence, sovereignty and nation-building, multilingualism, language and semiotic ideologies, and space, place, and landscape.


  • Tusinski, Gabriel. “House-Life, Oikopolitics, and the Failures of Social Housing in Timor-Leste” in The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary East Timor.” Andrew McWilliam and Michael Leach, Eds. London: Routledge. 2019.
  • Tusinski, Gabriel. [Review] “The Land of Gold: Post-Conflict Recovery and Cultural Revival in Independent Timor-Leste” by Judith Bovensiepen. American Anthropologist. 119(4). 2017.
  • Tusinski, Gabriel. “Fates Worse Than Death: Destruction and Social Attachment in Timor-Leste.” Social Analysis. 60(4): 13-30. 2016.


  • PhD. University of Chicago (Anthropology)
  • M.A. University of Chicago (Anthropology)
  • B.A. Reed College (Anthropology)


  • Urban Timorese Cultural Topographies and the Ethics of Movement
  • Housing and The Good Life in Timor-Leste
  • Attitudes towards East Timor in ASEAN
  • Food and Cosmopolitan Consciousness in Dili, Timor-Leste