Staff profile - Benjamin Isakhan

Staff image

AsPr Benjamin Isakhan

Position: Associate Professor of Politics and Policy
role description
Faculty or Division: Faculty of Arts and Education
Department: SHSS Arts & Ed
Campus: Melbourne Burwood Campus
Phone: +61 3 924 43934 +61 3 924 43934



Benjamin Isakhan is Associate Professor of Politics and Policy Studies and Member of the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalization at Deakin University, Australia.

Ben is also Adjunct Senior Research Associate, Department of Politics at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa and an Associate of the Sydney Democracy Network at the University of Sydney, Australia.

Ben is the author of Democracy in Iraq: History, Politics, Discourse (Routledge, 2012 HB, 2016 PB) and the editor of 6 books including, most recently, The Legacy of Iraq: From the 2003 War to the 'Islamic State' (Edinburgh University Press & Oxford University Press, 2015 HB, 2016 PB).

Ben has also published many articles in esteemed international journals and given keynote lectures and refereed conference papers across Iraq, Lebanon, the UAE, Qatar, Turkey, Jordan, the United Kingdom, the United States, Germany, Italy, New Zealand and Australia.

Ben has also won various awards and national competitive grants, including an Australian Research Council (DECRA) grant for the project 'Measuring the Destruction of Heritage and Spikes of Violence in Iraq' (AUD$399,639; 2012-15) and a grant from the Australian Department of Defence for the project 'Measuring Cultural Property Destruction in Iraq and Syria' (AUD$637,656; 2015-2017). Ben is currently Chief Investigator on the project 'Heritage Destruction in Iraq and Syria'.

In 2012 Ben was awarded the 'Vice Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Contribution to Research: Early Career Researcher' and in 2009 Ben won the La Trobe University 'Postdoctoral Research Proposal Award'.

Ben has taught underdratuate and post-graduate courses on the International Relations, History and Politics of the Middle East, Islamic Studies and Political Science. He supervises several PhD students, is a member of various professional and academic associations and is regulalrly interviewed for radio, print and television.

Career highlights

Adjunct and Visiting Research Fellowships:

2016: Visiting Research Scholar, Endangered Archaeology in the Middle East and North Africa project, Universitu of Oxford (UK).

2015 - : Associate, Sydney Democracy Network, University of Sydney, Australia.

2014 - 2017: Adjunct Senior Research Associate, Department of Politics and International Relations, Faculty of Humanities, University of Johannesburg, South Africa.

2014 - 2015: Honorary Research Fellow, Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, University of Exeter (UK).

2013: Visiting Research Fellow, International Centre for Cultural and Heritage Studies, Newcastle University (UK).

2012: Visiting Research Fellow, Centre for Middle Eastern Studies and the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago (US).


Middle East Studies Association (US)
The American Academic Research Institute in Iraq (US and Iraq)
The International Association of Contemporary Iraqi Studies (UK)
The Middle East Institute (US)
The British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (UK)
Australasian Political Science Association (APSA)

Professional activities

Editorial Committee

Journal of Democratic Theory (international peer-reviewed journal)


Related Links

Middle East Studies Forum at: MESF

Dowload Publications at: Academia

Research Profile at: Deakin Research

Citation Data at: Google Scholar

News Feed at: Twitter


Awards and prizes

Isakhan, B. (2012). Vice-Chancellor's Award for Outstanding Contribution to Research: Early Career Researcher. University wide award competition for best ECR contribution to research. Chief Investigator: Deakin University. AUD$5000.

Isakhan, B. (2009). La Trobe University Postdoctoral Research Proposal Award. Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (for Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship submission). Chief Investigator: La Trobe University. AUD$6000.


Research projects

Heritage Destruction in Iraq and Syria

Associate Professor Isakhan is the Chief Investigator on a major project documenting Heritage Destruction in Iraq and Syria. This two part project sets out to measure and interpret the heritage destruction which has occurred in Iraq and Syria, following the Iraq War of 2003 and particualrly since the rise of the 'Isalmic State' from 2014.

Research interests

  • Middle East Politics and History
  • Heritage Destruction across the Middle East
  • The History of Democracy
  • Iraqi Politics and History
  • Political Science
  • Heritage Studies

Research grants

Isakhan, B. (2015-17). Measuring Cultural Property Destruction in Iraq and Syria. The Australian Department of Defence, Australian Government. Chief Investigator: Deakin University. AUD$637,656

Isakhan, B. (2012-2015). Measuring the Destruction of Heritage and Spikes of Violence in Iraq. Australian Research Council. Discovery Early Career Researcher Award. Chief Investigator: Deakin University. AUD$399,639.

Isakhan, B. (2013). Iraq 10 Years On: Intervention, Occupation, Withdrawal and Beyond. Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore. Funding to Co-host conference in Melbourne, Australia on ten year anniversary of Iraq war. Chief Investigator: Deakin University. AUD$12,000.

Isakhan, B. (2011). Measuring Heritage Destruction and Spikes of Violence in Iraq. Deakin University Central Research Grant Scheme. Chief Investigator: Deakin University. AUD$22,000.



A full list of publications is available for download at: Academia


Recent Books


Recent Edited Books


Recent Journal Articles

  • Isakhan, B. (2015). Creating the Iraqi Cultural Property Destruction Database: Calculating a Heritage Destruction Index. International Journal of Heritage Studies, 21(1), 1-21.
  • Isakhan, B. (2014). The Politics of Australia's Withdrawal from Iraq. Australian Journal of Political Science, 29(4), 647-661.
  • Isakhan, B. (2011). Targeting the Symbolic Dimesnion of Baathist Iraq: Cultural Destruction, Historical Memory and National Identity. Middle East Journal of Culture and Communication, 4(3), 255-279.
  • Rane, H., Nathie, M., Isakhan, B., & Abdalla, M. (2011) Towards Understanding What Australia's Muslims Really Think. Journal of Sociology, 47(2), 123-143.


Recent Book Chapters

  • Isakhan, B. (2015). Heritage Under Fire: Lessons from Iraq for Cultural Property Protection. In Logan, W., Craith, M. N. & Kockel, U. (Eds.) Companion to Heritage Studies. London: Blackwell.
  • Isakhan, B. (2015). Succeeding and Seceding in Iraq: The Case for a Shiite State. In Kingsbury, D., & Laoutides, C. (Eds.) Territorial Separatism in Global Politics: Causes, Outcomes and Resolution. London: Routledge.
  • Isakhan, B. (2014). Protests and Public Power in Post-Saddam Iraq: The Case of the Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions. In Anceschi, L., Gervasio, G. & Teti, A. (Eds.) Informal Power in the Greater Middle East: Hidden Geographies (p. 117-128). London: Routledge.
  • Isakhan, B. (2014). Democratising Governnce after the Arab Revolutions: The People, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Governance Networks of Egypt. In Isakhan, B., & Slaughter, S. (Eds.) Democracy and Crisis: Democratising Governance in the Twenty-First Century (p. 149-165). London: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Isakhan, B. (2014). Heritage Destruction and Spikes in Violence: The Case of Iraq. In Ziedler, J. A. & Kila, J. D. (Eds.) Cultural Heritage in the Crosshairs: Protecting Cultural Property During Conflict (p. 221-249). Leiden: Brill.

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