I am an interdisciplinary-oriented marine anthropologist with over a decade of experience working with communities and stakeholders in marine conservation and restoration research and practice, both in the tropics and in the temperate zone. As assistant professor I am a faculty member of the Environmental Policy Group at Wageningen University (Netherlands) and collaborating professor with Ocean Nexus.

In my research I investigate the diverging ways people know and value marine nature across  different communities, regions and sectors, and how this affects the way marine conservation and restoration take shape in practice. I am particulalry interested in illuminating the politics involved in what ways of knowing and relating to the sea takes precedence, give the structural power relations in which marine governance is entrenched, to make room for plural voices and alternative (de-colonial, non-extractive, multi-species) ways of caring for human-ocean ecologies. To do this, I combine ethnography with mobile and audiovisual methods. Theoretically, I am inspired by environmental anthropology, science and technology studies, political ecology, multispecies ethnography and feminist theory.

My current research project “The Future of Past Reefs” focuses on oyster reef/bed restoration across the Northern Atlantic, which is funded by a personal Veni grant by the Dutch Research Council (running 2024-2028). This project explores how different values, knowledge and histories of human-oyster relations are in- or excluded in current endeavors to restore oyster reefs, and/or in what ways such diversity can be enhanced or made more visible – as a condition for inclusive and equitable networks of marine restoration across sectors and (epistemic) communities.

More broadly, I am interested in inclusive approaches and methodologies that are responsive to pluralism; making room for relational thinking, indigenous ecologies and dialogue across epistemological and ontological difference. This builds on my ‘Amphibious Anthropology’ of a practice and ethics of translating in-between worlds that partly overlap, without reducing one to the logics of the other, which formed the core of my PhD project. For this I lived and travelled with sea-based communities in Indonesia to explore their different ways of relating to the sea, and how this affects the outcomes of marine conservation programs.

Over the years I have developed a deep appreciation for Southeast Asian societies, and Indonesia in particular. I have enjoyed the hospitality of maritime societies in Kalimantan and Sulawesi as I have spend over 24 months doing ethnographic research in coastal villages and island communities, and travelling with sea people across the sea. Based on these travels and shared experiences, I have learned and written about topics ranging from the role of spirits in human-sea relations, women in wildlife trade networks, patron-client networks of cyanide and blast fishing, mobile methods, and inclusion/exclusion of small-scale shrimp farmers in in sustainable aquaculture protocols.

In the projects and publications sections on this website you can find links to my past and present work and publications.

My professional and educational background:

  • 2017 – Ph.D. (Cum Laude) in the Sociology and Anthropology of Development/Sociology of Development and Change Group/ Wageningen University/NL. Title of PhD dissertation: Amphibious Anthropology: Engaging with Maritime Worlds in Indonesia. Promotor Prof. em. L.E. Visser, co-promotor Dr. G.M. Verschoor.
  • 2010 – MSc. (Cum Laude) in International Development/Wageningen University/NL, with specialization in rural development and conflict.
  • 2008 – MA Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology/Leiden University/NL, with specialization environmental anthropology.
  • 2006 – International Migration and Ethnic Relations/Malmö University/ Sweden.
  • 2003-2006 – BA Cultural Anthropology/Utrecht University/NL.

Academic Positions:

  • 2019 – Postdoc Researcher EURASTiP project/Environmental Policy Group/Wageningen University/NL
  • 2016-2018 – Lecturer Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology/Leiden University/NL