My research and education focusses on the practices and politics of water and climate management, land claims and food security, and the role of engineering, and science and technology expertise in development interventions. 

 

In addressing challenges of water scarcity, increasing inequity and the marginalization of democracy, I consider questions of diversity and plurality, and recognise the implicit politics of race and gender that is part of foreign aid and international development cooperation. My work includes, for instance, studies on drinking water privatisation in the Philippines, land and water reforms in Southern Africa, drip irrigation in India and Nepal, participatory water management in South Asia, land subsidence in the Netherlands and abroad, and food security in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as studies on the professional performance of water experts, and how they interact with processes like citizen-led urban delta management and farmer-led irrigation development. 

 

My book Whiteness in Engineering: Tracing Technology, Masculinity and Race in Nepal's Development, published in 2022 by Social Science Baha and Himal Books, is an example of the feminist-inspired, post-colonial, interdisciplinary research work that I do. The book presents different dioramas on everyday engineering practices in the field of irrigation, food production and water resources management. Viewed through a peephole, dioramas animate events in a way that they look real by placing material (objects, figures) in front of a painted or imagined background. They bring to live why it is that engineering so often fails to fight for social and intellectual transformation, and also why technology-based interventions tend to reinforce dynamics of race and gender discrimination in society. In bringing these issues to the fore, the book provides an original basis for rethinking the position of engineers and technology experts in development, and how their mission of achieving sustainability goals could be realized.

See for reviews of the book:

  • Studies in Nepali History and Society (link)
  • Water Alternatives (link)

 

Networks that I am leading or are involved in:

  • IOS Fair Transitions (Institutions for Open Societies), leading as board member.
  • PtS Critical Pathways (Pathways to Sustainability), member.
  • Diamonds in the Delta - an international network that focusses on delta management, policy and social justice.
  • SAFI network: Supporting African Farmer-led Irrigation, coordinator.
  • INPIM: International Network of Participatory Irrigation Management, member.
  • Inclusive agri-business models, gender and Kenyan entrepreneurs in development, PhD supervision.
  • Extractivism and renewable energy transition in Indonesia's New Capital frontier, PhD supervision.