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Dr. M. (Machiel) Keestra

Executive Staff
Photographer: Paul Born

Visiting address
  • Spui 21
Postal address
  • Postbus 19268
    1000 GG Amsterdam
  • Profile

    Machiel Keestra is Central Diversity Officer of the University of Amsterdam since February 2022. As such he and his team members are involved in further implementing of diversity, equity and inclusion at the UvA, in coordinating and supporting the Faculty Diversity Officers and other relevant networks in their efforts and in offering (un)sollicited advise on relevant issues. In 2019-2022 Keestra was  Diversity Officer of the department of Science (FNWI), where he worked together with engaged students and faculty in the Diversity Sounding Board.

    In addition, Keestra is assistant professor (UD) with tenure at the Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies at the UvA, teaching in several interdisciplinary honours, bachelor and master programs on philosophy and history of science, on diversity, on philosophy of cognitive neuroscience and on interdisciplinary research. 

    Keestra is and member of the research group Logic and Language at the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation and of the research group Neuroaesthetics & Neurocultures of the UvA (and co-organizer of its series of 'Worlding the Brain' conferences) . His research interests are a.o. history of philosophy and hermeneutics, philosophy of action, the philosophy of cognitive neuroscience and philosophy of interdisciplinarity. His PhD thesis "Sculpting the Space of Actions. Explaining Human Action by Integrating Intentions and Mechanisms" covers the overlap between philosophy of science, cognitive neuroscience, hermeneutics and ethics and presents a novel framework for the interdisciplinary explanation and understanding of human action ( ).

    He is elected board member of the US based Association for Interdisciplinary (formerly: Integrative) Studies since Fall 2010 and has been AIS's President from 2014 to 2016. He was co-chair of the first AIS conference outside of North America in October 2019 at the University of Amsterdam: . In addition, Keestra is member of the editorial advisory board of the peer reviewed journal Issues in Interdisciplinary Studies. He is also founding board member of the Global Inter- and Transdisciplinary Alliance, an network of organizations and individuals established in 2021 that aims to strengthen and promote the global capacity and the calibre of collaborative modes of boundary-crossing research and practice.

    In addition to his academic positions, Keestra is co-founder of the foundation Keti Koti Table. This facilitated personal dialogue method focuses on the mitigation of racism, discrimination and sterotyping, especially in the context of shared post-slavery and post-colonial histories. Generally organized in collaboration with institutions for higher education, museums, governmental and NGO organizations, academic conferences etc., by 2022 more than 20.000 people in the Netherlands, Germany and US have participated in a Keti Koti Table, which have also been hosted online during the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Most of Keestra's publications are available here.

  • Machiel Keestra
    Machiel Keestra (photo Suzanne Blanchard)
  • Publications


    • Keestra, M. (2022). Configurations of Pluralisms. Navigating Polyphony and Diversity in Philosophy and Beyond. In K. Stenning, & M. Stokhof (Eds.), Rules, Regularities, Randomness. : Festschrift for Michiel van Lambalgen (pp. 87-99). Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC).


    • Keestra, M. (2020). Van narratieve tot dialogische identiteit: Identiteit en refiguratie tijdens de Keti Koti Tafel. Filosofie & Praktijk, 41(3), 19-39. [details]
    • Keestra, M., & Verloo, N. (2020). Too many cities in the city?: Interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary city research methods and the challenge of integration. In N. Verloo, & L. Bertolini (Eds.), Seeing the City: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Study of the Urban (pp. 226-242). (Perspectives on Interdisciplinarity; Vol. 6). Amsterdam University Press.




    • Keestra, A., & Keestra, M. (2015). A ‘Circulation Model’ of Education: A Response to Challenges of Education at the New University . Krisis, 2015(2), 90-98. [details]


    • Keestra, M. (2012). Bounded mirroring: joint action and group membership in political theory and cognitive neuroscience. In F. Vander Valk (Ed.), Thinking about the Body Politic: Essays on Neuroscience and Political Theory (pp. 222-248). London: Routledge. [details]





    • Keestra, M. (2012). Understanding human action: integrating meanings, mechanisms, causes, and contexts. In A. F. Repko, W. H. Newell, & R. Szostak (Eds.), Case studies in interdisciplinary research (pp. 225-258). Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage. [details]


    • Keestra, M. (2004). 'Darwin hat den Geist vergessen!': Nietzsches worsteling met de evolutietheorie. BLIND : Interdisciplinair Tijdschrift, 2. [details]



    • Menken, S. (Ed.), Keestra, M. (Ed.), Rutting, L., Post, G., de Roo, M., Blad, S., & de Greef, L. (2016). An introduction to interdisciplinary research: theory and practice. (Perspectives on interdisciplinarity; Vol. 2). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. [details]


    • Keestra, M. (2015). Understanding Human Action. Integraiting Meanings, Mechanisms, Causes, and Contexts. In V. Bazhanov, & R. W. Scholz (Eds.), Transdisciplinarity in Philosophy and Science: Approaches, Problems, Prospects = Transdist︠s︡iplinarnostʹ v filosofii i nauke: podkhody, problemy, perspektivy (pp. 201-235). Moscow: "Navigator" Publishing House. [details]


    • Keestra, M. (2014). Conflict en compassie: een hedendaagse blik op Wagner en een wagneriaanse blik op onszelf. In R. Helmers, & P. Westbroek (Eds.), Conflict en compassie: 200 jaar Richard Wagner (pp. 157-166). Amsterdam: Nationale Opera & Ballet. [details]


    • Keestra, M. (2007). Vliegles voor de uil van Minerva? - Hoger onderwijs als voorbereiding op arbeidsmarkt en burgerschap. Tijdschrift voor Hoger Onderwijs, 25(2), 69-83. [details]


    • Keestra, M. (2003). Over vernieuwbouwing: een crashcourse metafysica. In Arcam: tentoonstellingsbrochure `wegens verbouwing geopend' (pp. 18-21). Arcam. [details]


    • Keestra, M. (2001). De ongrijpbaarheid van ironie. De Helling, 16-18. [details]


    • Keestra, M. (2000). Inleiding. In M. Keestra (Ed.), Tien westerse filosofen (pp. 11-22). Nieuwezijds. [details]


    • Keestra, M. (1999). 'Elektra' und Hegels unterbewertung der individualität und öffentlichen gerechtigkeit auf der antiken szene. In A. Arndt, B. Bal, & H. Ottmann (Eds.), Hegels Ästhetik: Die Kunst der Politik - Die Politik der Kunst (pp. 116-120). Akademie Verlag. [details]
    • Keestra, M., & Achterhuis, H. (1999). Utopie, leidraad of valkuil: inleiding. Wijsgerig Perspectief op Maatschappij en Wetenschap, 39(4), 97-98. [details]


    • Keestra, M. (1998). De strijd om het vermijden van tragische conflicten: naar aanleiding van Hegels rechtsfilosofie: [Bespreking van: C. Menke (1996) Tragödie im Sittlichen: gerechtigkeit und freiheit nach Hegel; P. Cobben (1996) Postdialectische zedelijkheid: ontwerp voor een Hegeliaans antwoord op Heidegger, Habermans, Derrida en Levinas]. Krisis, 71, 93-99. [details]


    • Keestra, M. (1996). Het besluit tot handelen en reflectie: naar aanleiding van Aristoteles en Hegel. Rotterdamse Filosofische Studies, 21, 159-164. [details]


    • Keestra, M. (1995). Quine, Davidson en Hegel op zoek naar betekenissen. In M. ter Hark, P. S. Hasper, & R. G. Hilbrands (Eds.), Congresbundel filosofiedag Groningen (pp. 95-99). Eburon. [details]


    • Keestra, M. (1993). Eén heerser moet er zijn: Schelling, Hegel en Artistoteles over een Homeruscitaat. In W. van Dooren, & T. Hoff (Eds.), Aktueel Filosoferen (pp. 146-152). Eburon. [details]


    • Keestra, M. (1991). Waar stil te staan? Aristoteles en de vraag naar principes van kennis. Stoicheia : Tijdschrift voor Historische Wijsbegeerte, 6(2/3), 3-24. [details]


    • Keestra, M. (1990). Het uitgangspunt van Hegels bemoeienis met de rechtsfilosofie: [ter inleiding]. Stoicheia : Tijdschrift voor Historische Wijsbegeerte, 5(3), 3-9. [details]


    • Keestra, M. (2021). Interdisciplinarity and the Challenge of Diversity. Paper presented at Münchenwiler seminar, Bern, Switzerland.
    • Keestra, M. (2021). Netzwerke und Kooperationen - als inter- und transdisziplinaere Aufgabe. Paper presented at Netzwerke und Kooperationen DENKEN, Innovation in der Hochschullehre
    • Keestra, M., Klein, J., Vilsmaier, U., Merçon, J., & O'Rourke, M. (2021). Engaging Stakeholders in Cross-disciplinary and Cross-sector Work: International Lessons about Diversity and Inclusivity for Responsible Collaboration, Integration, and Learning.
    • Keestra, M., Zandwijken, M., Hirsch, P., Frank, A., & Dieleman, H. (2021). Inverting the Transdisciplinary Research Process for Creating Generative Space and Avoiding Closed Mind-Sets: a Workshop on Reverse Project Initiation. Paper presented at International Transdisciplinarity Conference.



    • Keestra, M. (2016). What are we integrating in interdisciplinary research? Towards more robust explanations and models in environmental and cognitive sciences. Paper presented at Cátedra Patrimonial en Medio Ambiente: DR. HÉCTOR MAYAGOITIA DOMÍNGUEZ, Mexico, Mexico.

    Membership / relevant position

    Media appearance

    • Keestra, M. (27-09-2016). NEUROPOLITIEK De strijd om het brein van de kiezer [Print] De Morgen. NEUROPOLITIEK De strijd om het brein van de kiezer.
    • Keestra, M. (15-11-2015). Amsterdam FM [Radio] Amsterdam, Amsterdam FM. Amsterdam FM.
    • Keestra, M. (31-01-2015). Filosofie, literatuur en muziek: Mantovani - Schlemihl, Strauss - Also Sprach Zarathustra [Radio] Amsterdam, Radio 4. Filosofie, literatuur en muziek: Mantovani - Schlemihl, Strauss - Also Sprach Zarathustra.
    • Keestra, M. (20-03-2011). Interview met Keestra t.b.v. documentaire over Wagner's Parsifal voor NTR Podium [Television] Amsterdam, NTR Podium. Interview met Keestra t.b.v. documentaire over Wagner's Parsifal voor NTR Podium.
    • Keestra, M. (20-02-2011). Columns voor Amsterdam FM-radioprogramma "Swammerdam - wetenschap in Amsterdam" [Radio] Amsterdam. Columns voor Amsterdam FM-radioprogramma "Swammerdam - wetenschap in Amsterdam".

    Journal editor

    • Keestra, M. (editor) (2011). Synthese (Journal).

    Talk / presentation

    • Keestra, M. (speaker) (6-1-2022). Interdisciplinary research: shaping new connections between problems and colleagues, Zayed University.
    • Keestra, M. (speaker) (8-11-2018). Interdisciplinary Integration After the Neuro-turn: Problems with the ‘Neurofication’ of Theology, Georgia Institute of Technology.
    • Keestra, M. (speaker) (24-3-2017). Challenges for Expertise in an Interdisciplinary Team Context: Metacognizing and its Role in Distributed Cognition, Saint Mary's University, Twickenham.
    • Keestra, M. (speaker) (16-11-2016). Narrative simulation and agency: minimizing prediction error and enhancing coherence?, Worlding the Brain: Patterns and Rhythms in Neuroscience and the Humanities, Amsterdam.
    • Keestra, M. (speaker) (28-10-2016). Interdisciplinarity as fostering – not deterimental to – disciplinary academic education: some results from the A’dam Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Ottawa.
    • Keestra, M. (speaker) (6-10-2016). Facing the challenges of interdisciplinary research: step by step through a multi-phase model of interdisciplinary research, Centro Interdisciplinario de Investigaciones y Estudios sobre Medio Ambiente y Desarrollo (CIIEMAD).
    • Keestra, M. (speaker) (28-4-2016). Interdisciplinary Research – Introducing a Process Model, INION.
    • Keestra, M. (speaker) (17-3-2016). Constraining our predictive brains with narratives as cognitive tools: can we avoid social exclusion?, Worlding the Brain: Patterns and Rhythms in Neuroscience and the Humanities, Amsterdam.
    • Keestra, M. (speaker) (9-12-2015). Licht brengen in de duisternis? Controverses tijdens en na de Verlichting, Spui 25 voordracht, Amsterdam.
    • Keestra, M. (speaker) (24-10-2015). Playing the Devil's Advocate: 
Is there a tension between the goals of interdisciplinarity and the values of diversity?, Association for Interdisciplinary Studies conference, Merrimack College, Andover MA.
    • Keestra, M. (speaker) (12-9-2015). Outdated yet still relevant: Aristotle’s ‘Posterior Analytics’ as a challenger of a current philosophy of science.
, Conference: Liberal Arts and Sciences and Core Texts in the European Context, Amsterdam.
    • Keestra, M. (speaker) (13-3-2015). Enhancing Integrative Psychological Science as Interdisciplinary, Distributed, Team Cognition: Meeting the Challenge of Intercultural Differences, International Convention of Psychological Science, Amsterdam.
    • Keestra, M. (speaker) (15-10-2011). Some positions in the trajectory of the interdisciplinary interpretation of Aristotle's ethical theory, Association for Integrtive Studies annual conference, Grand Rapids (MI).
    • Keestra, M. (speaker) (14-10-2011). Understanding Human Action. Integrating Meanings, Mechanisms, Causes, and Contexts. Presentation for a panel on 'Case Studies in Interdisciplinary Research (eds. Repko, Newell, Szostak, 2011), Association for Integrative Studies annual conference, Grand Rapids (MI).
    • Keestra, M. (speaker) (16-6-2011). Assumptions of de-composability and re-composability in interdisciplinary research: lessons from cognitive neuroscience., Inaugural seminar of the International Network for Interdisciplinarity & Transdisciplinarity, Utrecht.
    • Keestra, M. (speaker) (2-4-2011). Imaging the Mind or Opening Pandora’s Box? Introduction to 2 nd day of the conference ‘Imaging the mind? Taking stock a decade after the ‘decade of the brain’', International conference ‘Imaging the mind? Taking stock a decade after the ‘decade of the brain’', Amsterdam.
    • Keestra, M. (speaker) (27-3-2011). "Nie sollst du mich befragen" - grondeloosheid en vertrouwen in Wagner’s Lohengrin (Groundlessness and trust in Wagner’s Lohengrin), Annual seminar of the Nederlands Wagner Genootschap, Ermelo (NL).


    • Keestra, M. (chair) & de Greef, L. (chair) (24-10-2019 - 26-10-2019). Interdisciplinarity in Global Contexts, Amsterdam. 'Interdisciplinarity in Global Contexts' - the Annual Conference of the Association for Interdisciplinary Studies (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Besser, S. (organiser), Keestra, M. (organiser), Lysen, F. C. (organiser), Kiverstein, J. D. (organiser), Pisters, P. P. R. W. (organiser) & Kuipers, H. H. (organiser) (2-11-2017 - 4-11-2017). Worlding the Brain 2, Amsterdam (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Keestra, M. (participant) (14-9-2017). International Transdisciplinarity Conference 2017, Lüneburg. Invited plenary panel organizer and chair: "Teaching And Learning In Transdisciplinary Environments. Preparing The Next Generation For Navigating (…) (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Keestra, M. (participant) (2-2-2017). National Interdisciplinary Education Conference, Amsterdam. Co-organizer, with drs. Linda de Greef, of the first of an ongoing series of Dutch National Interdisciplinary Education conferences (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Besser, S. (organiser), Keestra, M. (organiser), Pisters, P. P. R. W. (organiser) & Kiverstein, J. D. (organiser) (16-11-2016). Predictive Processing as an Interdisciplinary Concept, Amsterdam (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
    • Besser, S. (organiser), Keestra, M. (organiser), Kiverstein, J. D. (organiser), Lysen, F. C. (organiser) & Pisters, P. P. R. W. (organiser) (17-3-2016 - 19-3-2016). Worlding the Brain: Patterns and Rhythms in Neuroscience and the Humanities, Amsterdam. These upcoming three days, numerous artists and scholars from diversebackgrounds will address the ubiquity of the human brain in contemporary (…) (organising a conference, workshop, ...).


    This list of publications is extracted from the UvA-Current Research Information System. Questions? Ask the library or the Pure staff of your faculty / institute. Log in to Pure to edit your publications. Log in to Personal Page Publication Selection tool to manage the visibility of your publications on this list.
  • Ancillary activities
    • stichting Keti Koti Tafel (/Table)
      Co-founder, author of materials and (occasionally) dialogue table co-facilitator