Karen Blixens Vej 4, 2300 København S, Bygning 10, Building: 11B-2-05
Primary fields of research
Since the early 2000s my research has been taken place in East and Southeast Asia, in particular in Vietnam, Taiwan and China. My doctoral thesis focused on coastal communities in Central Vietnam and the multi-faceted contestation over the religious landscape in the context of changes in ecology, economy and in politics. My current research explores fisheries in Vietnam, China and the Philippines in the context of legal procedure simultaenously faciliating and constraining the use of marine territories.
After my PhD fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle, I moved from a localized focus on religious practices among coastal communities in Central Vietnam to the globalized and highly politicized competition for marine resources among Vietnamese and Chinese fishers across the South China Sea. My research fellowship and language training in the Vietnam Academy of Social Science and in the Academia Sinica in Taiwan allowed me to approach the South China Sea with both linguistic competence and a sense of ethnographic and historical depth and to devise and carry out research in the ethnically diverse environment.
My ongoing independent research project Territorialising the Sea is hosted by the University of Copenhagen and funded by the Danish Research Council. The project traces the global and local consequences of the maritime disputes in the South China Sea. By suggesting connected historical trajectories of fishing communities in Vietnam, China, and the Philippines, the project presents a vantage point to rethink my methodology and theoretical approach by paying more attention to the question how the sea sustains connections, ambiguities of belonging and different trading communities across time and space.
The question of mobility in the South China Sea compelled me to go back to history and to work beyond the nation-state and area studies frame. I followed this approach by initiating together with political scientist Claire Sutherland (PI) a new collaborative project Reframing centuries of Cham forced displacement based at Durham University and founded by the Economic and Social Research Council in collaboration with Arts and Humanities Research Council that bridges different historical periods and countries (Vietnam, China and Malaysia).
I am wrapping up the results of these various fellowships in the form of book projects and publications.
Maritime Enlcosures. Fishing Communities Facing the Effects of the South China Sea Dispute. Founded by the European Commission and hosted at Durham University. MAREnclosures (2013-2016) combines ethnographic fieldwork, political science and geography in the analysis of how local communities protect the environmental foundation of their livelihoods in connections with a growing militarisation of the South China Sea.
Doing and Making Religion in Vietnam's Maritime Frontier: State, Religious Practice and Villagers. Currently, I am finalising a book manuscript based on my PhD thesis, which theorises changing and shifting binaries across and between state officials, religious authorities and villagers in central Vietnam. The ethnographic insights included in this book break new ground by highlightining the role of the South China Sea in people's lives - not just their livelihoods but their cosmology as well.
I am currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies of the University of Copenhagen. Until the end April 2016 I was a Marie Curie Research Fellow at the School of Government and International Affairs of Durham University. Before coming to Durham, I was engaged in the Rechtskulturen (Legal Culture) research programme of the Berlin Forum Transregionale Studien, where I collaborated with legal scholars. In 2011 I was an External Lecturer at the Department of Anthropology of the University of Copenhagen. Between 2009 and 2011 I was a Research Fellow at the Center for Asia-Pacific Area Studies of the Academia Sinica in Taipei. In 2006 I was awarded a Phd fellowship at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology and received my doctoral degree in 2011 from Martin Luther University, Halle Wittenberg. Before joining Max Planck Society I was a doctoral student at the Institute for Religious Studies of Vietnam Academy of Social Science in Hanoi. In 2002 I graduated with honours in Ethnology from the University of Łódź.
Dissemination for non-academic public
I had provided an analysis of the South China Sea disputes on ABC Radio National Breakfast (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) with Fran Kelly and for The Diplomat. I had have coverage of my reserach in Durham Times, Vietnam Breaking News, Asia Portal-Infocus. I also acted as an external expert for "Briefing for European Ambassadors in Vietnam" in the context of the IDEAS initiative of the EU FP7 programme. In 2015 I co-curated the museum exhibition Vietnam, A Nation not a War (Panel: "Citizenship and Identity in the South China Sea") in Palace Green Library together with dr Claire Sutherland (Durham University) and Deputy Curator Rachel Barclay of Durham's Oriental Museum. This provides an opportunity to engage a wider audience in dialogue around issues of national identity and belonging. The exhibition was complemented by a workshop entitled Museum:Driving Research-led Teaching and Research Impact for teacher trainers and museum educators, which allowed me to connect the results of my research on the South China Sea with research -led teaching.
In 2015 I became a Fellow of the Higher Academy of Education and completed the Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice (PGCAP) at Durham University. During my Marie Curie-Sklodowska fellowship at the School of Government and International Affairs, I focused on developing effective, interdisciplinary and up-to-date research-based teaching modules in Southeast Asian politics and research methods in social science at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. In Copenhagen, I continue to contribute to research-based teaching. Currently, I teach undergraduate and postgraduate courses in qualitative methods and territorialisation and global enclosures.