Urban Anthropology, Materiality, Infrastructure, Activism
Indonesia, Southeast Asia, Denpasar
I’m a social and environmental anthropologist whose research focuses on urban infrastructures, materiality, and social inequality. In urban Java, where I conducted long-term ethnographic fieldwork, I studied the phenomenon of tidal flooding (“rob”) to understand the production of chronic environmental crisis. I have conducted research on coastal infrastructure in Java, Bali and Mediterranean France.
My first book "Building on Borrowed Time: Raising Seas and Failing Infrastructure" (University of Minnesota Press, 2021) describes how downstream residents of Semarang are constantly engaged in maintaining their homes and streets, trying to live through a slow-motion disaster shaped by the interacting temporalities of infrastructural failure, ecological deterioration, and urban development.
Articles informed by this research have been published in Geoforum, Indonesia, Environment and Planning C, and the Austrian Journal of South-East Asian Studies. Further reflections on the production of slow disasters and flooding have been published in several edited volumes.
My new research project focuses on the role of sand in urban transformation and more-than-human responses to climate change. In an ongoing side project, I have been describing how artists living in the Javanese city Semarang narrate kampung life and aspirations of the poor to the public and become new mediators between residents and the local government.