I still feel as much a student as a teacher, and that might never change. I studied Media Studies at the Free University of Brussels, Belgium I finished my PhD at the Open University in the U.K. in 2004, but continue finding new avenues for reading and research. My PhD was on a rave tourism scene in a coastal village in South India. This might not sound as a serious 'geographical' topic initially, but geography is very broad and it depends very much on the way you approach phenomena, rather than the phenomena themselves. Thus my PhD enabled me to think very hard about the geography of race relations, globalization and counterculture. Being half-Belgian and half-Indian probably got me interested in questions of travel and identity from an early age.
In 2007, my first book appeared at the University of Minnesota Press called Psychedelic White: Goa Trance and the Viscosity of Race. It suggests a way of looking at race as a material process. This means that race is based on how different people (economically different, physically different) interact with each other and gradually become divided into racial groups.
At the U of M, I started a new research project on Dutch exploration of the Indian Ocean at the beginning of the colonial and capitalist era, focussing on the Itinerario (1596) of Jan Huygen van Linschoten. This seems a weird leap from rave tourism. What is common to both projects is the question of how white people get to travel and establish new connections between Europe and India. Another project I started is about Prince, the megastar from Minneapolis who died unexpectedly in 2016. Again, I focus on how to understand his US and global stature in in terms of race, sexuality, mobility, and religion.
I taught at the Lancaster Environment Center at Lancaster University, UK, over 2012-13 and then returned to Minnesota.
I continue doing theoretical research on the question of race, which has brought me to consider vastly different fields, like environmental justice, climate change, philosophy of biology, Marxism, and political theory. Ultimately, what drives me is continental philosophy, especially Gilles Deleuze and Alain Badiou. I like thinking as much as I like clubbing. Both teach me what I need to know about the world.
- Ph.D.: Human Geography, The Open University, 2004
- Licentiate: Communication Studies, Free University of Brussels, 1997
- Continental philosophy
- Feminist theory