By shifting the attention paid to colonial writings to their materiality and global circulation, my research aims to bring together the history of written culture and imperial history in early modern times. ‘Les voyages du récit. Culture écrite et expansion européenne à l’époque moderne’, my Ph.D. dissertation defended in July 2010 at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris, focuses on the Dutch East India Company (VOC), chartered in 1602, and its different uses of the written word, particularly in the Cape of Good Hope colony.
Since 2007, I have been affiliated with the University of Cape Town, South Africa, where I taught and conducted doctoral and post-doctoral research before joining the EUI. Between 2007 and 2010, I also taught Latin American history at Sciences-Po Paris (Poitiers campus) and a cultural history of European early modern empires.
I recently published Written Culture in a Colonial Context, 1500-1900, Africa and the Americas (Cape Town/Leiden: UCT Press/Brill, 2011), a collective book which examines how much the control over the materiality of writing has shaped the numerous processes of cultural exchange between continents from the 16th century onwards and the extent to which colonial, commercial and evangelistic organizations have played a part in the transformations of the relations to the written word since the beginnings of modernity.