Introducing Christian Ernsten
My name is Christian Ernsten. On 1 April 2018 I joined FASoS as a researcher in heritage studies at the Department of History. I’m affiliated with the Maastricht Centre for Arts and Culture, Conservation, and Heritage (MACCH) and I’m lecturing in the Arts and Heritage master.
Joining FASoS gave me the exciting opportunity to develop an ethnographic investigation into the ecological restoration of the Meuse river as well as the Sint Pietersberg’s post-mining landscape, as part of a broader discussion on the coloniality of nature. I’m interested in articulating an integrative approach to cultural heritage and natural heritage. Concurrently, I’m reworking my PhD thesis Renaissance and Revenants in an Emerging Global City into a monograph. This thesis looks at how contemporary Cape Town is reinvented and haunted at the same time by utopic visions of regeneration, on the one hand, and by the unresolved traumas of the past, on the other. Taking an interest in questions of theory, method and practice, I apply a series of transdisciplinary research strategies in my projects, including embedded ethnographic research, walking as a form of embodied research, and photographic recordings.
Before joining Maastricht University, I worked as lecturer in cultural heritage and museology at the Reinwardt Academy of the Amsterdam University of Arts. I hold a PhD from the University of Cape Town. In a previous life, I directed the Amsterdam-based design and action collective Partizan Publik, as well as the Amsterdam 4 and 5 May committee, the organization that coordinates the WWII commemorative events in the city of Amsterdam. I also worked as an editor at Volume magazine, a quarterly for architecture and visual culture founded by Rem Koolhaas.