I am a historian working on modern and contemporary Southeast Asia with a specialization on the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia. I am based in Germany, where I hold a position as Junior Professor at the University of Hamburg (Asien-Afrika-Institut), and in France where I am an associate researcher at the Centre for Southeast Asian Studies (EHESS/CNRS). During the year 2018-2019, I was a post-doctoral fellow at the Harvard Asia Center where I am now associate until 2022.
My research on the past, with an attention for the present issues, intends to contribute to a better understanding of the evolution and challenges of the societies I study. Through the years, it has brought me to a more general reflexion on what type of ‘relations to the other’ was implied by the Area/Southeast Asian studies, even after the ‘decolonization’ of the studies. What this relation could be, underlies now my work both in the classroom and in the research field.
I conducted fieldworks in
- The Philippines (Lanao, Cotabato, Zamboanga, Pantugan, Jolo, Tawi-Tawi), Indonesia (Aceh, Kerinci, Jakarta), and Malaysia (Sabah).
And archival research in
- The Netherlands (former KITLV library), Spain (AGI, Sevilla), the UK (The British Library, the National Archives, the Royal Asiatic Society), Germany (Staatsbibliothek Berlin), the Philippines (National Archives, University Santo Tomas, Ateneo de Manila, the Archives of the Recolletos), and Indonesia (Perpustakaan Nasional).
The themes I am working on are related to:
- Cultural and social history of Islam in Southeast Asia
- Legacy of colonialism and postcolonialism
- History of women
- Manuscript cultures
- Local historiography and regimes of historicity
- Memory and emotion
I am currently working on two research projects:
- Affirming rights over land and resources: Originals and authoritative documents in the legal culture of the Malay Peninsula (c. 1780-c. 1910) . Project RFC08 (2021-2024), Cluster of Excellence ‘Understanding Written Artefacts’ (UWA) (2019-2025). Initially started at the Harvard Asia Center during my fellowship, with a project on “Euro-Asian encounters and inter-Asian diplomatic relations in the Malay speaking world (17th-20th century)” (2018-2019).
- The ones who remember. 1965 in Indonesia and the communities of remembrance (book intended to be completed by 2023)