Currently, I am working on two research projects. The project "Postcolonial Digital Connections"
asks for contexts and practices of digitization processes in ethnographic collections and archives
of Indian cultural heritage. Originating from statements and expectations of access, networking,
and preservation, as well as research international reconnection to the countries in which the
ethnographic photographs and objects are created, the project asks how new digital collections emerge.
How does digitization influence the way people relate to and work with (digitized) cultural heritage?
How does digital availability change the understanding and usage of preserved material artefacts and the historical information?
The project analyses the sociopolitical and sociocultural effects of digitization projects on the basis
of case studies in India and in Europe. It explores how selected actors deal with the prospects of new
forms of archival knowledge transfer, examines how re-circulated images get entangled with dominant knowledge claims,
and how emerging forms of knowledge are negotiated or visualised in post-ethnographic moments.
Digital archives are conceptualized here as extended social areas of action that are able to be the space
of new negotiations on an intercultural level if working with transnational cultural heritage. They offer
not only access to cultural heritage and means of cultural production, but also the possibility to scrutinize
existing hierarchies and visual economies.
The other project “Decarbonising Electricity: a Comparison in Socio-ecological Relations”
is based at the University of Technology Sydney. Here we investigate how legitimacy for
renewable energy can be won or lost, focusing on regions in Germany, India and Australia
undergoing ‘energy transitions’. The project uses ethnography combined with social and political
analysis to understand what can be done to enhance the transition to renewable energy.
The project website www.decarbenergy.net
provides further information.
The current project is the successor of our "The Coal Rush and Beyond" research, where the same team looked into coal reliance,
climate change and contested futures. As coal extraction and burning has been booming in the last decade, this inter-disciplinary
project analysed the 'coal rush' in sociopolitical terms, asking how coal reliance emerges, and whether it might be superseded.
We seeked explanations of why new coal mines and coal-fired power stations are constructed, investigated social conflicts centred
on new coal facilities, and analysed what social factors may enable transition from coal.
Again, Australia, Germany and India served as three national contexts, compared to develop a nuanced understanding of coal.
For more information visit the project website www.coalrush.net