My current research project, Maritime Imagination: A Cultural Oceanography of the Netherlands is a study of Dutch imperial, racist and colonial legacies and their present-day repercussions and re-narrations. I am particularly interested in the role that the ocean and maritime imagination play in both shaping and undermining Dutch empire and colonialism. This project approaches Dutch empire and colonialism through the prism of mare liberum or the “free sea,” developed by seventeenth century Dutch legal scholar, humanist and East India Company lawyer Hugo Grotius. Through a critical re-reading of his legal writings, it reveals how the myth of the free seas and the Dutch as entrepreneurial merchants, interested in oceanic trade rather than colonization, pervades Dutch historiography and self-perception and presents Dutch (settler-) colonialism and slavery as innocent and inevitable. It aims to reveal how cultural, legal, racial, (settler-)colonial, environmental and economic imaginaries of the ocean continue to inform the ways in which the Dutch both obscure and idealize their own role of maritime supremacy globally. This project addresses questions related to how discourses of maritime trade, slavery, Indigenous (dis)possession, punishment and colonialism across Dutch empire shape (contemporary) white supremacist logic; the (settler-)colonial liberal humanist imaginary; and global racial-capitalism.
By developing what I call a cultural oceanography, I seek to traverse and undo historiographic, disciplinary, spatial, and epistemic boundaries at work in existing studies of Dutch empire and colonialism and their effects. I endeavor to create alternative ways of theorizing the emergence of Dutch empire and colonialism, which contributes to an analytical framework capable of engaging with the intersections of maritime, racial-sexual, legal, penal, environmental, and socio-economic discourses.
This project has been awarded the Marie Skłodowska Curie grant within the framework of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (grant agreement No 838904).
My ongoing research interests include anticolonial-queer critique, the politics and praxis of listening, and the entanglements between racial-sexual politics and (settler) colonialism. My doctoral research focused on the racial-sexual politics of Zionist sexual politics, Palestinian anticolonial-queer critiques, pinkwashing and Palestine Liberation. It examined the politics of listening at work in (non-)engagements with Palestinian anticolonial-queer critiques and proposed a different methodological engagement with these critiques by developing a practice of writing with Palestinian anticolonial-queer critiques.
Oceans and Maritime Worlds; (Dutch) Empire and Colonialism; Critical Theory; Black Studies; Critical Indigenous Studies; Settler Colonialism; Queer and Feminist Studies; Anticolonial and Postcolonial Critique; Palestine; Temporality and the Limits of Critique; Colonial Legalities; Social Justice; Carceral Regimes
Stelder, M. “Pinkwashing – De Rol van de Zionistische Seksuele Politiek in de Bezetting van Palestina.“ Zem Zem Tijdschrift over het Midden Oosten, Noord Afrika en Islam, vol. 16, no. 1 (in Dutch).
Stelder, M. (2019). Queer Politics of Boycott at the World Social Forum: Free Palestine. Radical History Review, 2019(134), 181-192. https://doi.org/10.1215/01636545-7323673
Stelder, M. (2018). Other Scenes of Speaking: Listening to Palestinian Anticolonial-Queer Critique. Journal of Palestine Studies, 47(3), 45-61. https://doi.org/10.1525/jps.2018.47.3.45
Stelder, M. (2018). [Bespreking van: P. Malcontent (2018) Een Open Zenuw. Nederland, Israël en Palestina]. BMGN – Low Countries Historical Review, 133, . https://doi.org/10.18352/bmgn-lchr.10631
Stelder, M. (2018). ‘From the closet into the Knesset’: Zionist sexual politics and the formation of settler subjectivity. Settler Colonial Studies, 8(4), 442-463. https://doi.org/10.1080/2201473X.2017.1361885
Stelder, M. L. (Author), & Kumsieh, R. (Author). (2016). Tel Aviv Gay Pride: Not a cause for celebration. Web publication/site, Mondoweiss. Retrieved from http://mondoweiss.net/2016/06/pride-cause-celebration/
Stelder, M. L. (Author). (2016). Israël: Nu eens zonder roze bril. Web publication/site, OneWorld: OneWorld. Retrieved from https://www.oneworld.nl/love/hos-bis-lesbos-trans/israel-nu-eens-zonder-roze-bril
Maikey, H., & Stelder, M. (2015). Dismantling the Pink Door in the Apartheid Wall: Towards a Decolonized Palestinian Queer Politics. In A. Tellis, & S. Bala (Eds.), The Global Trajectories of Queerness : Re-thinking Same-Sex Politics in the Global South (pp. 83-103). (Thamyris/Intersecting: Place, Sex and Race; Vol. 30). Leiden: Brill Rodopi. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004217942_007
Queering the Occupation: From Zionist Sexual Politics to Palestinian Decolonial-queer Imaginaries
2020: Seed Grant, Interdisciplinary Histories Research Cluster, Project: Commemorating the Banda Genocide – 400 Years Later.
2019 – 2022: Marie Sklodowska-Curie Global Fellowship, Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, European Commission, Project Title: Maritime Imagination: A Cultural Oceanography of the Netherlands, University of British Columbia/University of Amsterdam
2013-2017: ASCA PhD Fellowship, University of Amsterdam, Dissertation Title: Queering the Occupation: From Zionist Sexual Politics to Palestinian Decolonial-Queer Imaginaries