IKOS PhD Mid-term evaluation: Engineering Emptiness: Civil Engineers and Imperial Practices between the Netherlands and Suriname, 1880-1940.
We want to invite you to an open mid-term evaluation with our PhD-fellow in Cultural History Leonoor Zuiderveen Borgesius. To comment on the candidates work, we have invited Professor of History of Technology Maria Paula Diogo at NOVA School of Science and Technology, NOVA University of Lisbon.
Leonoor Zuiderveen Borgesius (photo: Camilla Kottum Elmar)
The mid-term evaluation is organized in two parts and starts with a 2-hour public seminar, followed by a closed meeting.
The purpose of the evaluation is to assess the progress of the PhD project at a point when it is still possible to make small or substantial changes. In general, we want to know how the candidate is doing, how much work is done, and what is left.
About the PhD candidate and her Research
Leonoor Zuiderveen Borgesius is employed as a Research Fellow at the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages. Her project is connected to the lager research project Lifetimes, a Natural History of the Present.
My PhD project deals with a large-scale modernist land reclamation scheme (the engineering practice of creating land from sea- and fresh water) called the 'Zuiderzee Werken' that was designed and carried out between ca. 1880 and 1980. I am interested in how the geographical discourse of those new lands were informed by the colonial contexts in which civil engineers travelled, worked, and learned. Specifically, I focus on the expedition and exploration practices, spatial and environmental knowledge production that preceded infrastructural works in the Netherlands and colonial Suriname, and visual representations in the form of geological and geographical maps. Ultimately, I am interested in how these contributed to the way in which the notion of empty, uninhabited space, promising prosperous futures connects overseas imperial imageries to practices of internal colonisation and land acquisition.