University Lecturer Anthropology and Islamic Studies
Cristiana Strava is a University Lecturer at the Leiden University Institute for Area Studies.
My research to date has been broadly concerned with the nexus between the postcolonial state, changing social geographies and the re-territorialization of regulatory regimes in urban North Africa and the Middle East. Titled 'At Home with Modernity: Everyday Struggles and the Production of Livelihoods on the Margins of Casablanca', my doctoral project straddles the disciplinary fields of Social Anthropology, Middle Eastern and Urban Studies, and provides a unique exploration of contemporary life on the urban margins in Morocco. Using space/place as the central organizing concept, through the angle of practice theory I seek to understand how the inhabitants of a historically marginalized and criminalized community on the urban fringe secured their livelihoods through tactical encroachments into public space and the pragmatic and savvy appropriation of heritage and social development agendas.
Based on ethnographic material gathered during fifteen months of fieldwork, I show how the production and contestation of social inequality in Casablanca is historically rooted in the colonial experimentation with technocratic methods of urban planning, and complicated by a history of state violence and the dereliction of public infrastructure in the aftermath of structural adjustment reforms introduced to Morocco in the 1980s. Through a close analysis of several social and cultural development programs and the everyday struggles faced by my key informants, I argue for the renewed need to grapple with the historical and structural forces shaping life on the urban margins, and show how local elites and state actors tacitly vilified inhabitants’ survival tactics through the constant de-politicization of social struggles.
I am currently developing a new project looking at financialization and the accelerating phenomenon of ‘mega projects’ in North Africa.
PhD, Anthropology and Sociology, SOAS, University of London (2016)
MARes, Anthropological Research Methods, SOAS, University of London (2012)
BA, Anthropology and Visual and Environmental Studies, Harvard University (2009)
Grants & awards
Royal Anthropological Institute – RAI/Sutasoma Award for Potentially Outstanding PhD Merit (2016)
KHI - Max Planck Institute - Doctoral Fellowship (2014 - 20150)
Foundation for Urban and Regional Studies, Oxford (FURS) – Writing-Up Grant (2014)
The Wenner-Gren Foundation – Dissertation Fieldwork Grant (2013 - 2014)
UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) – 1+3 Doctoral Studentship (2011 - 2015)
SOAS, University of London – Master’s Bursary (2011 - 2012)
Harvard Michael C. Rockefeller Memorial Fellowship (2009)
No relevant ancillary activities