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 www.oceansasarchives.org. I also keep a blog called Finger in the Dike! on my website www.mikkistelder.com 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.
Winter Semester 2013-2014 - Lecturer - Gender and Performance Theory (BFA Choreography, Amsterdam School of Arts)