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.
Since I started at the U of M, I've started a new research project on Dutch exploration of the Indian Ocean at the beginning of the imperial 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. In between, I have also embarked on a project regarding drugs, largely following the issues raised in my PhD. How are drugs (conceived broadly, from sugar and spices to opium and LSD) involved in imaginations of the exotic and geopolitical power relations?
My interests are generally brought under the rubric of 'cultural geography': music, travel, race, gender, media, colonialism, drugs. I would say that there are important economic, political, ecological and urban aspects to these themes too. What drives me, finally, is philosophy, especially Gilles Deleuze and the philosophy of science. I like reading as much as I like clubbing. Both teach me what I need to know about the world.