I am an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and my work involves both theoretical and practical interventions in the field of sexuality and diversity, through research, teaching, policy advice and workshops with professionals. Sexuality comprises fundamental beliefs about the nature of the self, identity, culture and nation; my focus is on how sexuality emerges through planned interventions (e.g. sex education) as well as mundane practices (e.g. teasing, gossiping, flirting). My approach lies at the intersection of gender studies, cultural anthropology and science and technology studies (STS).
In my PhD research Making Sex Moving Difference (2013-2017), based on extended ethnographic fieldwork in schools in the Netherlands, I advanced the theoretical claim that sexuality is not locked into individual bodies but is enacted through mundane practices. These practices bring sexuality into being, establishing what is sexual and what is not, drawing in scientific and popular knowledge, images and discourses. In my dissertation I attended to knowledge practices and the importance of categorization, leading to, for example, the demarcation between an us that is sexually ‘normal’ and a them that is not.
Over the past decades, Dutch sex education has become internationally renowned: sex education programs developed in the Netherlands are taught across the Global South – from Yemen to Indonesia, Uganda to Bangladesh. My Veni research (2022-2026) Traveling Sex Education follows Dutch sex education programs as they are planned in the Netherlands and travel to and are implemented in Uganda and Bangladesh. It will trace how these programs are designed in Dutch knowledge institutes, translated by international NGOs, and implemented in classrooms in Uganda and Bangladesh. By attending to the role of knowledge from the South in these practices and by combining theoretical resources from gender and sexuality studies and actor-network theory, the project brings ongoing work on decoloniality in cultural anthropology into conversation with research on sexual health and rights.
I mainly teach in the BA program Interdisciplinary Social Science. Please see the study guide for the courses I teach this year.