I am an Assistant Professor at the Sociology of Development and Change group, Wageningen University, the Netherlands, and Senior Research Fellow at the Department of Geography, Environmental Management & Energy Studies, University of Johannesburg, South Africa.
After my MA degrees (Cultural Anthropology and Environmental Studies), I lived at the resettlement farm Tsintsabis, Namibia. From 2002 to 2007 I supported the Hai//om ethnic group there to build up Treesleeper Camp. Treesleeper is a community-based ecotourism camp, for which the idea had started during a 6-month fieldwork period for my MA research in anthropology in 1999.
When returning to the Netherlands in 2007, I became a fundraiser for large grants at the Edukans Foundation, a Dutch NGO specializing in educational development projects. In 2009, I complemented this job by starting a PhD as an external candidate at Tilburg University/African Studies Centre, University of Leiden. I then really wanted to change my career path into academia and this resulted in the dissertation (a monograph) about Indigenous peoples in southern African tourism and nature conservation in 2013.
After a short job as Tourism and Research Lecturer at the InHolland University of Applied Sciences, Amsterdam, the Netherlands, I found a 2-year position (2013-2015) as a Postdoctoral researcher at the International Institute for Social Studies (ISS, The Hague, the Netherlands) of the Erasmus University (Rotterdam, the Netherlands). In this position I got the chance to broaden my research interests to the field of ‘Nature 2.0’. In Nature 2.0, imaginations about nature (conservation) and the ways in which these are co-created through new and social media are the central dynamics.
In addition to teaching and research, I organized the international conference Political Ecologies of Conflict, Capitalism and Contestation (PE-3C) in July 2016. PE-3C has been the first-ever bi-annual conference of the international Political Ecology Network POLLEN, of which Wageningen University has taken up the role to be its secretariat for the first three years. For POLLEN I carried out most of the secretarial activities and I am still on teh advisory board. In addition, I play an active role in three groups of the Centre for Space, Place and Society (CSPS) and I am currently chairing the Programme Committee of the Master of Tourism.