Serin D. Houston

Visiting Assistant Professor of Geography

Serin Houston

Office Hours: Wednesdays from 2:00-4:00 p.m.
Office: 408C Clapp Lab
Email: Serin D. Houston
Phone: 413-538-2055
Fax: 413-538-2239

Course Offerings:

Fall 2014  

  • World Regional Geography (105)
  • Migrations, Refugees, Diasporas (208)

Spring 2015

  • World Regional Geography (105)
  • Cities in a Global Context (202)
  •  Seminar: Sense of Place, Sense of Planet (312 -01)


  • Syracuse University, Ph.D.
  • Syracuse University, CAS
  • University of Washington, M.A.
  • Dartmouth College, B.A.

Specializations Include

Urban, Cultural and Social Geography; Qualitative Methods

Personal Statement

The elegant dance of teaching and learning that unfolds within the classroom and within student-faculty relations is one that continually surprises, energizes, and delights me. As an educator, I strive to support multiple ways of knowing and empower students as thinkers and writers. I view myself as a guide, the one who offers relevant questions, prompts discussions, clarifies ideas, shares insights, and models persistent curiosity. My syllabi and course materials push students to probe assumptions and debate various points of views. More specifically, I emphasize directly grappling with the interdependent systems of our world, deconstructing hierarchies of power, and excavating underrepresented perspectives. The opportunity to catalyze intellectual and social growth is a tremendous responsibility and privilege; it is also what draws me to undergraduate teaching. I am thrilled to be a part of the Department of Geology and Geography and look forward to sharing my passion for geographic inquiry with the MHC community!

Research Interests

The nexus of human and environmental relations in international and domestic contexts forms the basis of my research interests as a human geographer. I am drawn to the complexity of these processes at both broad- and micro-scales. Questions of identity (be it individual or collective, ascribed to places or people), power relations, belonging and displacement, and social and community change remain long-standing fascinations.

To this end, I have conducted and published research on settlement patterns for East African immigrants, conceptions of race and place in mixed-race households in the Pacific Northwest, Tibetan diasporic identities, changing gender norms in Malagasy and Nepalese indigenous communities, and women’s entrepreneurship in Prague, Czech Republic. Qualitative research methods and post-structuralist lenses informed all of this work.

My current research examines three institutional narratives of place circulating within the municipal government of Seattle, Washington. In particular, I analyze how creativity, sustainability, and social justice become folded into place-defining and place-promoting policies and programs. In this ethnography of the city, I accent the spatial, racial, and class implications of institutional narratives of place and offer new insight into the mutual constitution of urban landscapes.

Peer-Reviewed Publications

  • Serin Houston. (2010). Feminist Methodology, in Encyclopedia of Geography. Warf, B. (ed). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
  • Serin Houston, James McLean, Jennifer Hyndman, and Arif Jamal. (2010). Still Methodologically Becoming: Collaboration, Feminist Politics, and ‘Team Ismaili.’ Gender, Place, and Culture 17(1), 61-79.
  • Serin Houston, Jennifer Hyndman, James McLean, and Arif Jamal. (2010). The Methods and Meanings of Collaborative Team Research. Qualitative Inquiry 16, 285-297.
  • Serin Houston. (2009). Scales of Whiteness and Racial Mixing: Challenging and Confirming Racial Categories. The Geographical Bulletin 50(2), 93-110.
  • Serin Houston. (2009). Book review: Katherine McKittrick’s Demonic Grounds: Black Women and the Cartographies of Struggle. Social and Cultural Geography 10(6), 714-716.
  • Serin Houston and Richard Wright. (2008). ‘[I]t’s just that people mix better here’: Household Narratives of Belonging and Displacement in Seattle, Washington, in Immigration and Integration in Urban Communities: Renegotiating the City. Hanley, L., Ruble, B., and Garland, A. (eds). Washington, DC: Johns Hopkins University Press, 73-95.
  • Serin Houston, Richard Wright, Mark Ellis, Steven Holloway, and Margaret Hudson. (2005). Places of Possibility: Where Mixed-Race Partners Meet. Progress in Human Geography 29(6), 700-717.
  • Serin Houston and Richard Wright. (2003). Making and Re-making Tibetan Diasporic Identities. Social and Cultural Geography 4(2), 217-232.
  • Richard Wright, Serin Houston, Mark Ellis, Steven Holloway, and Margaret Hudson. (2003). Crossing Racial Lines: Geographies of Mixed-Race Partnering and Multiraciality in the United States, Progress in Human Geography 27(4), 457-474.