NIAS fellowship for University College Utrecht teacher Markha Valenta
The Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies (NIAS) has selected University College Utrecht teacher Markha Valenta as a Fellow for the spring of 2021. Her project “The Citizenship of the Non-Citizen” will focus on strengthening the social, political and ethical position of undocumented migrants in Amsterdam.
Markha Valenta, who joined University College Utrecht in 2019 as Assistant Professor, works at the intersection of political science, anthropology and history. Her NIAS project exemplifies her community-engaged scholarship that bridges academic research and social engagement.
Markha: “The NIAS fellowship is a special opportunity to simultaneously do research in an academic setting at the highest international level while working with undocumented migrants and the city of Amsterdam on one of the most daunting challenges facing our societies: how to safeguard the rights and humanity of irregular migrants in a globalized world.”
The project will build on her new course “Hospitality, Sanctuary, Refuge” at University College Utrecht. In this course, students will combine learning about the politics and history of migration with active collaborations with movements, organisations and individuals addressing migrant rights. Another community-engaged course in planning is "Urban Nature”, which will focus on the relation between cities and the natural environment in the context of climate change and social inequality.
Community engagement is an emerging focus point at the College. The coming year, Markha will set up a Platform for Community Engaged Praxis to further develop community-oriented research, courses and activities together with colleagues already involved in that line of work. Markha has also received funding from Utrecht University to create a resource website that will profile the work of migrant rights organisations in Western Europe, North America and beyond.