I am a Senior Lecturer in peace and development research and international relations. I hold a PhD in Politics from the University of Bristol, UK and an M.A. in political science from the University of Leipzig, Germany.
Areas of interest Drawing on critical approaches within international relations, political geography, political ethnography as well as science and technology studies, my research focuses on questions related to security-development, state- and peacebuilding, infrastructure and global logistics. Understanding technical systems such as infrastructure as entanglements of the social and the technical, I am particularly interested in studying the controversies that emerge around infrastructure projects in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Current research I am currently involved in two research projects:
Political engineering? The co-production of infrastructure, political order and security in Western statebuilding efforts in Africa
(2016-2020; with Peer Schouten, Danish Institute for International Studies)
This project explores the role of infrastructure projects within Western stabilization and statebuliding missions in the DRC, South Sudan and Somalia. A substantial part of current interventions that have an increase in state capacity and security as their core objectives is invested in infrastructure construction. It seems that inherently political goals are to be reached by what are conventionally said to be technical means. In the project, we explore claims of an inherent link between infrastructure and improved security. We furthermore problematize the claim that infrastructure construction in fragile contexts is a mere technical matter. In February 2017 we held a major international workshop, which gathered 50 academics, policymakers and practitioners, in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) on the role of infrastructure in fragile and conflict-affected areas. Please see www.roads-to-peace.org to access our background report. In spring 2018 we published our paper "Concrete approaches to Peace: Infrastructure as Peacebuilding", which can be accessed here.
Most parts of the fieldwork in South Sudan as well as archival work was done in 2019.
As part of the project, an international workshop on "Political ecologies of statebuilding" was held in Copenhagen on 27-28 February 2020. Read more here
Controversial corridor – studying social, environmental and security dynamics along the Lamu-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor (Lapsset)
(2017-2021 with Per Knutsson, SGS, and Hussein Mahmoud, Technical University Mombasa)
In this project we aim at studying the environmental, social and security dynamics at strategic sites along the proposed Lamu Port-South Sudan- Ethiopia corridor. Combining perspectives within environmental social science and security studies, we analyze how changes to, access, use and distribution of natural resources on the one hand and discourses on infrastructure protection in this contexts are deeply intertwined. Fieldwork along the proposed corridors, namely in Lamu, Garissa, Isiolo and Turkana counties is ongoing.
Teaching and tutoring I teach on various aspects within international relations and critical security studies. On the undergraduate level I am currently involved in the course “Security and Conflict in a Changing World”. On the graduate level I am co-convening the course "Global Security and Democracy" and I teach furthermore on issues including sovereignty, logistics and infrastructure as well as risk and resilience.