I teach various courses within the bachelor and master programmes International Development Studies of Wageningen University. Most of the courses that I am involved in have a focus on conflict and disaster studies.
I supervise Bachelor, Master and PhD students who are in the process of writing their theses. I am interested in supervising students that seek to critically study local dynamics of development and conflict. I am interested in questions such as: What does crisis mean in different circumstances?; How do narratives and labels of crisis impact and condition intervention?; How do external interventions reverberate in everyday lives of people?; How are power and authority performed and enacted by state and non-state actors?; What role do (natural) resources play in claims of belonging and identity? Examples of thesis topics that I would welcome to supervise are:
- Borders and borderlands
- Everyday perceptions and governance of security and insecurity
- Regional integration and transnationalism
- Linkages between (small) local conflicts and big politics
- Migration and identities in a world on the move
- Natural resource management and conflict (fisheries, pastoralism, extractives)
I have the pleasure to supervise two PhD students:
- Lisa Trogisch (Sociology of Development and Change, Wageningen University. Co-supervised with Bram Büscher and Robert Fletcher)
- Elisama Daniel (Oxford Centre for Mission Studies, co-supervision by Douglas H. Johnson)
I am proud to have previously supervised Dr. Tim Glawion (Political Science, GIGA-Hamburg and Freiburg University. Co-supervised with Andreas Mehler). His thesis resulted in this wonderful book with Cambridge University Press (2020).
Food Crisis: The Big Picture (Bachelor and Master elective course, together with Bram Jansen) (SDC-51806)
Since time immemorial, people have been plagued by food crises. However, the nature of food crises has changed. Where pre-industrial famines were caused by natural disasters and exhaustion of existing production capacities, fossil fuels and technical science have relaxed these constraints. Modern food crises thus tend to be caused by a combination of natural conditions, failing policies and man-made conflicts. The thinking about what governments and international organisations can do to prevent or alleviate food crises has also evolved during last decades. Amartya Sen’s entitlements theory has been particularly influential, shifting the attention from food supply to poverty and stressing the importance of democratic institutions for preventing famines. Sen’s theory also played a major role in the criticism of the Green Revolution. The course focuses on these important debates and its shifts over time in order to understand, for instance, why famine has largely been eradicated in much of Asia, and why it has remained endemic in large parts of Africa. The lectures start with a general introduction in the physical and social aspects of food crises, and how we measure them. Then we chart the history of famines and economic development, and discuss the main debates around Sen’s entitlements theory and the Green Revolution. Next we examine the specific causes of contemporary and continuing food crises and the ways in which international organizations approach this problem. In the practical sessions student groups will examine contemporary policies towards intervening in an actual food crisis.
Fieldwork in Conflict and Post-Conflict settings (MSc elective course open to PhD student; together with Peter Tamas) (SDC-51306)
Fieldwork in societies characterized by violence or conflict involves a number of methodological challenges of a practical and more philosophical nature. This course helps students prepare for these challenges by developing a responsible attitude towards the research project from its design through to the writing process. Processes of post-conflict reconstruction or transition are often marked by various forms of violence, contested authority, intense but often non-linear institutional, social and economic change, and a high density of external interventions that reverberate on the lives of people. Students learn that field research involves juggling considerations of access, safety, analysis, and framing. The course prepares students to reflect on the conditions of collecting data and the subsequent construction of knowledge on and within contexts characterized by violence, crisis or conflict. Students are invited to apply constructivist perspectives on —predominantly qualitative— research methods and are expected to reflect on the implications of those methods for approaching violent and conflict-affected dynamics.
Political Sociology for Development (Bachelor course, together with Jessica Duncan) (RSO-21306)
Working in international development settings will confront you with the politics of projects, the unexpected ways in which people mobilize resources, and the inventive translation of opaque policies. This course touches upon these topics by zooming in on discourses and theories of participation. There is a crisis in the legitimacy of political systems and of development policies around the world and now, more than ever, different forms of participation are needed to sustain democratic processes. Knowledge about the use and abuse of participatory approaches is thus a key competence for working in international environments. This course introduces students to a number of key theoretical concepts in political sociology and anthropology, including power, legitimacy, governance, conflict and solidarity, patron-client relations, gender politics, and governmentality. Each week we tackle a new theme and assign groups a current event to analyze using the course literature and lectures.
Please contact me for more information about my teaching portfolio, course outlines and/or copies of my student evaluations.
Previously taught at the Centre for International Conflict – Analysis and Management