TRAJECTORY

Although my curiosity in anthropological issues developed much earlier, I started calling myself an anthropologist only during my studies at the Radboud University in Nijmegen. These, as well as the medical anthropology classes I simultaneously took at the University of Leuven in Belgium, sparked my interest in health-related issues and the inventive ways in which people from all over the world reshape their lives in response to them. The ethnographic project I designed towards the end of my studies paved the way for what would eventually become a long research trajectory within the domain of medical anthropology. It brought me to the Cameroonian rainforest, where I studied women’s experiences with, and responses to, pregnancy loss. I loved the fieldwork and gathered an enormous pile of interesting data; while my master thesis largely exceeded the official word limit, it covered not even half of what I had discovered in Cameroon.

 

After graduation, I continued with a Research Master in African Studies at Leiden University, and I gained some teaching experience at the Radboud University in Nijmegen. But I kept on thinking about Cameroon; I longed to go back to the field, learn more about reproductive issues, and answer all questions that had remained. A Ph.D. scholarship from the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (University of Amsterdam) offered me the opportunity to do so. The next five years found me strengthening my research and relationships in Cameroon, and writing a Ph.D. thesis that was defended - cum laude - in 2011 (read more about the project here). I have published my research findings in several articles, and my book has recently been published by Vanderbilt University Press (see more details here).

During my Ph.D. trajectory, I also developed a passion for sharing my knowledge with students and medical doctors. Ever since, I have created and taught different medical anthropological courses at the University of Amsterdam, the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT), the Netherlands School of Public and Occupational Health (NSPOH), and the GGD Academy in the Netherlands. I also went abroad to teach classes at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in the UK, the University of Bucharest in Romania, and BRAC University in Bangladesh (see more details here).

 

In 2012, my fieldwork and focus shifted from Cameroon to Romania, after I received a VENI grant (€250,000) from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) for a self-designed research project. In the four years that followed, I studied, again, issues related to reproductive health, loss, uncertainty, and decision-making – but now in a small town in the mountains of post-communist Romania (read more about the project here). Together with a team of Dutch and Romanian coders, I am still analyzing the data that I gathered, but some of my newest insights have already been published.

 

In addition, between October 2016 and July 2017, I coordinated an evaluation project for the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, assessing the effectiveness of a number of (inter)national programmes targeting sexual and reproductive health issues all over the world. This project enabled me to gain useful knowledge about, and reflect critically on, the complex world of development aid - which, directly or indirectly, also affects the lifeworlds of the people that I have been talking with as an anthropologist.

Currently, my professional life is filled with activities related to research and analysis, writing and publishing, as well as teaching and supervision.

EDUCATION

ACADEMIC POSITIONS

2006 - 2011

University of Amsterdam

Ph.D. scholarschip (cum laude)

2005 - 2006

Leiden University

Research Master African Studies (interrupted for Ph.D.)

2001 - 2005

Radboud University Nijmegen

Cultural Anthropology (cum laude)

1995 - 2001

Reynaert College Hulst

Pre-university college / gymnasium (cum laude)

2016

New York University, USA

Visiting scholar

2012

New York University, USA

Visiting scholar

2011-2012

University of Amsterdam

Lecturer

2006-2011

University of Amsterdam

Ph.D. candidate

2005

Radboud University Nijmegen

Lecturer

2012 - 2018

University of Amsterdam

Post-doctoral researcher

2007

Institute de Formation et de Recherche Démographiques
Université de Yaoundé I, Cameroon

Visiting scholar

2014-2015

University of Bucharest, Romania

Research associate