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Dr M.L. (Mikki) Stelder

Faculty of Humanities

Visiting address
  • Spuistraat 134
  • About


    About Me

    I was awarded a three-year Marie Skłodowska Curie Global Fellowship from the European Commission (2019-2022) for the project Maritime Imagination: A Cultural Oceanography of Dutch Imperialism and its Aftermaths. In this project, I turn to the ocean to better understand Dutch contributions to global capitalist, racial, colonial and imperialist ideologies.  

    The project developed out of growing concerns expressed by social justice movements in The Netherlands around the impact that 400 years of Dutch imperialism has had on contemporary global power relations.

    In Maritime Imagination I look at primary source texts from the Dutch colonial archives pertaining to the relation between the Dutch and the sea to better understand the role of the ocean in imagining and enabling Dutch imperial expansion. Paying particular attention to Dutch maritime imagination in the cultural archive, I study the the development of colonial, racial-sexual, capitalist, legal and environmental discourses at sea as co-formations. Developing a cultural oceanography, I want to understand how looking at The Netherlands from the perspective of the ocean might provide a different framework for studying Dutch state, culture and empire formation and its global impact. The project is situated at the intersection of critical Dutch studies, environmental humanities, feminist, queer, postcolonial and decolonial critique.

    Besides a series of articles, I am working on a monograph entitled The Reluctant Imperialist and Other Dutch Colonial Myths, which traces the work and impact of Hugo Grotius (Hugo de Groot) in a global context. I am also working on a series of articles related to maritime law, Dutch empire and colonial legalities; Dutch slave revolts; and how to think through and understand the legacy of Dutch slave trade, in particular related to the afterlives of the mass murder on the Dutch West India Company ship Leusden.

    I am co-organizing a series of public events in The Netherlands, North America and Australia with collaborators from the Turtle Island, South Africa, Hawai'i, New Zealand, Micronesia, Australia, Indonesia, The Phillipines and elsewhere around the theme Oceans as Archives. This series brings together international and local scholars, artists, curators and organizers. The first part of the project took place in May 2021 in Vancouver. The second part will take place in Amsterdam and focus in particular on Dutch maritime imagination and collaborations with Dutch cultural institutions. The third part will take place in Melbourne, Australia. For more information on the project and public events please refer to I also keep a blog called Finger in the Dike! on my website where I explore some of the themes of my research for a broader audience.

    As I believe sharing knowledge and resources is key to relevant academic work, I enjoy collaborating across social and cultural institutions in The Netherlands and abroad. I have co-curated several interdisciplinary and transmedia projects such as Moving Together: Art, Activism and Education - A Week with Angela Y. Davis. This project brought educational, cultural and artistic institutions and sociol movements together (e.g. Amsterdam School of Arts, Black Archives, Vrije Universiteit, Basis Aktuele Kunst Utrecht, Stichting Democratie en Media, Tropenmuseum, Mama Cash). In May 2021, I co-organized Commemorating the Banda Islands Genocide - 400 Years Later together with the Banda2021 Working Group. In 2022, I will collaborate with Stichting Sites of Memory and Mapping Slavery. I am also co-editing the Gloria Wekker Reader with Nancy Jouwe and Chandra Frank.

    Recent Publications (for previous publications, see publications tab.)

    • Stelder, Mikki. "The colonial difference in Hugo Grotius:  rational man, slavery and Indigenous dispossession." Postcolonial Studies.
    • Stelder, Mikki and Renisa Mawani. "COVID-19 and Quarantine: The Social Construction of Diseased Bodies and the Politics of Containment at Sea." Covid-19 and Society. ed. Lyon, K.A.. Oxford: Oxford University Press. COVID-19 and Society | RedShelf

    Forthcoming Publications

    • Stelder, Mikki. "Ingredients of Empire - An Oceanic Approach to the Study of Dutch Imperialism and its Aftermath." Journal of Gender Studies 
    • Stelder, Mikki and Renisa Mawani. "The Pandemic and the Ship." Law and Humanities in a Pandemic. ed. Carl Stychin. London: London University Press (forthcoming)

    Research Interest

    • Critical Theory
    • Ocean Studies
    • Race and Racism
    • Critical Dutch Studies
    • Black (Diaspora) Studies
    • Intersectional Feminism
    • Postcolonial Theory
    • Settler Colonial Studies
    • Critical Indigenous Studies
    • Queer and Trans theory
    • Colonial Legalities
    • Social Justice

    Education and Training

    • 2018 PhD (Cum Laude) - Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis, University of Amsterdam
    • 2011 RMA, Cultural Analysis (Cum Laude), University of Amsterdam
    • 2009 MA, Theater Studies (Cum Laude), University of Amsterdam

    Teaching Experience

    • Spring 2020-21 - Sandberg Institute, Critical Studies Department - Touched by Empire I and II
    • Spring 2021 - Guest lecturer, Unruly Oceans, University of British Columbia
    • Winter and Summer Intensive Amsterdam University College 2019 - The Global Identity Experience 
    • Summer Semester 2018 - Lecturer- Sex/Race/Trans*: Human Life Forms (MA Elective, Humanities, University of Amsterdam, with Prof. Dr. Mireille Rosello)
    • Winter Semester 2016 - Lecturer - Seven Masterpieces (BA Elective Humanities, University of Amsterdam)
    • Winter Semester 2015-2016 - Lecturer - Thinking Through Gender (BFA Choreography together with Erika Doucette, Amsterdam School of Arts)
    • Winter Semester 2013-2014 - Lecturer - Gender and Performance Theory (BFA Choreography, Amsterdam School of Arts)

    Mentoring and Supervision experience

    • 2020-21: Research Experience Mentor BA students, University of British Columbia
    • 2017-present: Supervision of BA and MA students in the Literary Studies and Literature and Cultural Analysis
    • 2014-2015: Study Abroad Institute, Amsterdam


  • Publications


    • Stelder, M., & Mawani, R. (2022). Module 13: COVID-19 and Quarantine: The Social Construction of Diseased Bodies and the Politics of Containment at Sea. In K. Lyon (Ed.), COVID-19 and Society Oxford University Press.



    • Stelder, M. (2020). Pinkwashing: De Rol van de Zionistische Seksuele Politiek in de Bezetting van Palestina. ZemZem, 16(1), 82-90. [details]




    • Maikey, H., & Stelder, M. (2015). Dismantling the Pink Door in the Apartheid Wall: Towards a Decolonized Palestinian Queer Politics. In A. Tellis, & S. Bala (Eds.), The Global Trajectories of Queerness : Re-thinking Same-Sex Politics in the Global South (pp. 83-103). (Thamyris/Intersecting: Place, Sex and Race; Vol. 30). Brill Rodopi. [details]

    Talk / presentation

    • Peeren, E. (speaker), Isenia, J. (speaker), Stelder, M. (speaker), Yamomo, m. (speaker) & Titus, B. (speaker) (27-11-2021). Activism, Academic Research and Decoloniality, The Future of the Dutch Colonial Past, Amsterdam.
    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
    No ancillary activities