Research

I am a historian on modern and contemporary Southeast Asia based in Germany, where I hold a position as Junior Professor at Goethe University (Frankfurt), and in France where I am an associate researcher at the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies (CASE – Centre Asie du Sud-est), a research group affiliated to the School for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences (EHESS) and the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). During the year 2018-2019, I was a post-doctoral fellow at the Harvard Asia Center where I am now an associate for 2019-2020.

My work on the past is never cut off from the present issues but contribute to a better understanding of them. It provides the larger picture in which today’s questions are set and helps to avoid too quick conclusions.

The themes I am working on are related to:

–              Cultural diversity

Not a label, cultural diversity is an invitation to value differences, reject the hegemony of certain cultures, and call for a ‘horizontal’ consideration of cultures considered and understood in their context with their own coherence. Being in relation to the other, which is an everyday life situation, asks for an understanding of difference.

–              Land issues

Land grabbing, squat, unlawful vs lawful usage of land, borders contestation, are major problems in the region. Understanding how the present situation happened is the basis for proposing fair solutions.

–              The legacy of colonialism

The definition of identity (national, ethnic, religious), modernity and progress have been largely shaped by colonization. Present-day social challenges cannot be solved without a clear understanding of the long-term impact of colonialism.

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