I am a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Development Policy (IOB) of the University of Antwerp where I recently completed my PhD in Development Studies (September 2020). My broad scholarly interest lies in environmental politics, in uneven landscapes’ structures and histories, and in changing human-nonhuman entanglements and their spatial-temporal aspects. My current postdoc research project focuses on the agriculture-conservation nexus in the Congo Basin and the multiple socio-ecological lifeways of native and nonnative tree (mono)crops, i.e. oil palm and cocoa, across space and time.
My research works across the disciplines of anthropology, critical geography, science and technology studies, and related fields. I have conducted extensive fieldwork in DR Congo. My theoretical thinking is inspired by multidisciplinary posthumanist currents, and by feminist and decolonial epistemologies. While my work engages with complexity and multiplicity rather than linear thinking, it draws explicit links to various historical structures of domination and inequalities such as (neo)colonialism, patriarchy, capitalism and racism in which the co-production of the human and nonhuman is embedded.
My book project tentatively entitled "From Geocoded to Entangled Landscape: Forests, Green Rationalization and Everyday Human-Nonhuman Practices in Dr Congo" examines the tangible and intangible frictions between renewed geoplanning attempts to reorganize forests and livelihoods into a ‘green plantation economy’ and embodied, practiced and lived naturalcultural landscapes of everyday life in which people, land, trees, crops and weeds are drawn together. This book project is based on my doctoral thesis.
From July 2019 to February 2020, I was a visiting PhD scholar at Columbia University Anthropology Department.
Since 2019, I am leading an academic cooperation project (funded by the Flemish Interuniversity Council VLIR-UOS) with the University of Kisangani and Institute of Rural Development-Bukavu, DR Congo, that aims to support scholars from DR Congo and to contribute to the struggles of forest-dependent communities in the Tshopo Province and in South Kivu through action research.
I currently teach classes in Participatory methods and action research, and Political ecology of forest governance and use.
In addition to my academic work, I am contributing editor at Uneven Earth, an online magazine with a political take on environmental issues.
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Key peer-reviewed publications
Shapiro-Garza, E., Kolinjivadi, V., Van Hecken, G., Windey, C., & Casolo, J. (forthcoming). Praxis in Resource Geography: Tensions Between Engagement and Critique in the (Un)Making of Ecosystem Services. In Havice, E., Valdivia, G. and Himley, M. (Eds) Routledge Handbook of Critical Resource Geography. London & New York: Routledge.
Windey, C. (2020). Abstracting Congolese forests: mappings, representational narratives, and the production of the plantation space under REDD+, IOB Discussion Paper (Vol. 2020-01), 56p. Antwerp: Institute of Development Policy, University of Antwerp.
Windey, C., and Van Hecken, G. (2019). Contested mappings in a dynamic space : emerging socio-spatial relationships in the context of REDD+: a case from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Landscape Research [Online first]. DOI: 10.1080/01426397.2019.1691983
Van Hecken, G., Kolinjivadi, V., Windey, C., McElwee, P., Shapiro-Garza, E., Huybrechs, F., and Bastiaensen, J. (2018). Silencing Agency in Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) by Essentializing a Neoliberal ‘Monster’ Into Being: A Response to Fletcher & Büscher's ‘PES Conceit’. Ecological Economics 144: 314-318. DOI:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2017.10.023.
Van Hecken, G., Bastiaensen, J. and Windey, C. (2015). Towards a power-sensitive and socially informed analysis of Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES): Addressing the gaps in the current debate. Ecological Economics 120: 117-125. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2015.10.012.
Van Hecken, G., Bastiaensen, J. and Windey, C. (2015). The frontiers of the debate on payments for ecosystem services : a proposal for innovative future research, IOB Discussion paper, 2015-05, 53p.
Opinion pieces and contributions to the public debate
COP25 climate summit: action must include divestment, decolonization and resistance. In: The Conversation, 10 December 2019.
Les actions pour le climat doivent inclure désinvestissement, décolonisation et résistance. In: La Libre Belgique, 17 December 2019.
Hoe we nul-emissies écht waar kunnen maken. In: De Morgen, 21 December 2019.