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 "The Coal Rush and Beyond" is based at the University of Technology Sydney. Here we investigates coal reliance, climate change and contested futures. Globally, coal extraction and burning has been booming in the last decade. This inter-disciplinary project investigates the 'coal rush' in sociopolitical terms, asking how coal reliance emerges, and whether it might be superseded. We seek explanations of why new coal mines and coal-fired power stations are constructed, investigate social conflicts centred on new coal facilities, and analyse what social factors may enable transition from coal. Local sites, three national contexts, and transnational connections will be compared to develop a nuanced understanding of coal. The research team is undertaking a 3 year study of coal in Australia, Germany and India.

The project website with more detailed information can be found here.

With the project coming to an end, we are currently moving from “The Coal Rush and Beyond” towards “Decarbonising Electricity: a Comparison in Socio-ecological Relations”, where the same team will investigates how legitimacy for renewable energy can be won or lost, focusing on regions in Germany, India and Australia undergoing ‘energy transition’. The project uses ethnography combined with social and political analysis to understand what can be done to enhance the transition to renewable energy.

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