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Silke Oldenburg

Dr. Silke Oldenburg

Landhaus Fellow


Silke Oldenburg is a social anthropologist interested in the intersections of the urban and the political, focusing particularly on the spatialization and materialization of power, urban environment, and sociality within cities of the Global South.

Silke’s current research revolves around issues of urban environmental futures in the coastal city of Cartagena, Colombia. She is particularly interested in the emergent fields of wetland politics, infrastructures, belonging, and displacement. She has been the PI of the research project “Space, Agency, and Climate Change in a Contested Urban Landscape: Exploring Environmental Futures in Cartagena, Colombia” (funded by The Leading House of the Latin American Region, 2020–2022) and of the communication project “Urban Waterworlds: Dialogues on Urban Flooding, Climate Justice, and the Future of Water in the City” (funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation 2022–2023).

Following her PhD in anthropology from the University of Bayreuth, Germany, Silke has held research and teaching appointments at the Universities of Basel, Cartagena, Boulder, and Columbia University.

RCC Research Project: Wetland Politics: Social Belonging, Racial Politics and Urban Environmental Futures along the Colombian Caribbean

Selected publications:

  • with Maria Alejandra Buelvas Badran. “Estoy llenita de agua: Caring for Infrastructural Belonging in Cartagena, Colombia.” Roadsides, forthcoming 2023.
  • with Jaime Hernandez-Garcia, and Greg Labrosse. “Futuros Ambientales de los Barrios Populares de Cartagena: Perspectivas desde una Colaboracion Interdisciplinaria Colombia-Suiza.” In ACIS 30 años. Diáspora Científica Colombiana en Suiza. Una Experiencia Pionera en el Mundo, edited by Maria de Pilar Ramirez Gröbli, 303–318. Binges: Editions Orbis Tertius, 2022.
  • with Laura Neville. “Navigating the Archipelago City: Everyday Experiences and Socio-Political Imaginaries of Urban Floods in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia.” Cahiers des Amériques Latines 97 (2021): 139–163. https://doi.org/10.4000/cal.13420.