After a liberal arts and sciences degree from Utrecht University, I earned M.Phil and D.Phil degrees from the University of Oxford’s Department of International Development. Subsequently, I worked there as a research officer and project manager on the Abuja project of the Islam Research Programme (IRP). With this interdisciplinary background, I currently research and teach development and African studies at Leiden University College (LUC).
The questions that drive my work revolve around three themes: development and inequality, institutions, and conflict. What makes some societies, seemingly, so incredibly much better off than others? Is some of this inequality due to the norms and rules people live by (i.e. institutions)? And how do these patterns of inequality and institutional variation help to explain our (in)ability to resolve conflicts peacefully? I try to address parts of these questions through mixed-methods, fieldwork-based research (thus far in Nigeria and the Netherlands).
In my teaching, I try to communicate my own curiosity for these large questions and motivate students to discover where their own intellectual passions lie. My style of teaching is interactive and aimed at introducing students to theories, facts, and methodologies that help them think and see the world in a slightly different light. More importantly, I try to make students emphatise with the lives and experiences of the people they read, talk, and write about.
In terms of other academic activities at LUC, I have been heavily involved in designing the LUC academic curriculum, particularly its Governance, Economics, and Development major. Additionally, I tutor about 30 students and have served on various committees and councils at Leiden University, including the Faculty Council, and am affiliated to the University’s African Studies Centre and LUCIS.