Thesis supervision and teaching
Prospective thesis students and PhD candidates will find here answers to some of their questions. The pictures show some examples of theses supervised by me (Kees Jansen). Please, contact me for any further questions.
Master and Bachelor thesis projects
I work differently with every student as each person learns differently. At the start of your thesis trajectory we discuss what and how you would like to learn and we adapt topic and methods to your objectives. Thesis supervision is for me a form of collaboration, of thinking together. In my experience, teaching courses and individual supervision also benefit me as teacher. This does not mean that I deny differences in experience.
Many of the students I supervise are actively pursuing social justice objectives or want to better understand ongoing efforts to bring about progressive societal change. Thesis students are enrolled in International Development Studies, Development and Rural Innovation, Organic Agriculture, or Health and Society/Communication Science. I am always curious to work with students from other programmes as long as there is a common ground with my topical or philosophical interests. This supposes an interest in critical social science and social theories that relate to environment, agriculture, or development processes and global justice.
What is my background?
I have a background in both social and natural sciences (anthropology and sociology of development/cultural political economy and tropical crop science). I am open to different orientations, i.e. styles of thinking, methodologies, and theoretical approaches (and I am interested in the confrontation or possible interaction between these). In my own research I mostly use ethnographic methods, but I am also familiar with other methods. I have lived in different cultures and will stimulate looking at specific issues and activities from a global/multi-cultural perspective. This makes one modest about what can be attained.
What topics are possible?
Many students come to me with their own topic. We then discuss whether I am an appropriate supervisor for that topic. If so, we work on sharpening it and turning it into a feasible research project. If you do not yet have a clear idea you are welcome to brainstorm about your preliminary interests or about the following topics: ‘Risk, culture, and political ecology’, ‘Governance of pesticides or disease control’, ‘The social shaping of risk perceptions and regulation’, ‘Ethical standards’, ‘Critical analysis of best practice discourses’, ‘Knowledge struggles’, ‘Agrarian change in Latin America’, ‘Political ecology and agro-ecology’, ‘Global justice and technology’. I always have ideas for concrete topics but for those you will have to contact me. It is possible to contribute to ongoing research projects (also with an internship). I am interested in co-supervision with natural science groups.
What courses do I teach?
Currently I am teaching the courses ‘The Sociology of Farming and Rural Life’, ‘Advanced Social Theory’, and ‘Globalization and Sustainability of Food Production and Consumption’. In the past I have taught courses on Technology and Society and Development Studies, such as ‘Social Justice, Technology and Development’.
Prospective PhD candidates or post-doctoral fellows
I welcome candidates who share my research interests. Candidates may be from different backgrounds, either social sciences (political ecology, anthropology, sociology, political science, political economy) or biophysical sciences with a proven interest in incorporating social science theories and methods. I stimulate PhD candidates to interact with each other and with scholars and organizations outside Wageningen. Candidates have to apply for their own funding. Below some examples of PhD thesis that I have supervised.