School of Social and Political Science

Tanja Hendriks

Job Title

PhD Student

Tanja Hendriks' photo

Research interests

Research interests

Malawi, ethnography, Anthropology of the state, civil servants, disaster governance, relief interventions, Humanitarianism, Bureaucracy, everyday practices, Anthropology of development, state legitimacy, sovereignty, human security, Storytelling and ethnography, linguistic anthropology, Chichewa, time and temporality, emergency, crisis


This PhD-project forms part of the ANTHUSIA project on the Anthropology of Human Security in Africa.

Thesis title: The Malawi State in Relief: an ethnography of state bureaucrats navigating duties, dependencies and disasters in a rural district.

States are commonly considered responsible for protecting their citizens from harm and safeguarding their livelihoods. This is no easy task for Malawi; a donor-dependent and disaster-prone country with limited state capacity. When disaster strikes, the Malawi state thus engages in complex collaborations with donors, non-governmental organizations, global humanitarian aid institutions, volunteers and (affected) citizens to carry out relief interventions. I explore these collaborations with a focus on the everyday practices of civil servants working in the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DODMA).

Supervised by Dr. Gerhard Anders (University of Edinburgh) & Professor Paul Wenzel Geissler (University of Oslo)


Semester 2, 2021 - 2022: Interpreting Development: Institutions and Practices (postgraduate course).

Semester 1, 2021 - 2022: International Development, Aid and Humanitarianism (undergraduate course). 


Research Master’s (MA) in African Studies, African Studies Centre, Leiden University (2013 – 2016). Judicium: cum laude. Fieldwork in Malawi.

Master of Science (MSc) in International Development Studies, University of Amsterdam (2013 – 2015). Judicium: cum laude. Fieldwork in Burundi.

Bachelor’s degree in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology, University of Amsterdam (2009 – 2012). Judicium: cum laude.

Orcid ID: 0000-0002-8471-8874 


Africa Thesis Award 2016, African Studies Centre Leiden

Work experience

2016 – 2018 Junior researcher at the African Studies Centre, Leiden University, The Netherlands.

September 2017 – September 2018: assistant to Professor Rijk van Dijk

September 2016 – September 2017: junior researcher in the NWO-funded project ‘Increasing Political Leverage of Informal and Formal Workers’ Organizations for Inclusive Development. The cases of Ghana and Benin’. Fieldwork in Accra, Ghana. Principal Investigator: Dr. Mayke Kaag

Publications by user content

Publication Research Explorer link
Hendriks TD. Care and its costs: Claims for more in Malawi. Journal of Southern African Studies. 2022 Apr 4.
Hendriks TD, Verbuyst R, Kaag M. Fraught with friction: Inclusive development for informal workers in urban Ghana. European Journal of Development Research. 2022 Feb 18.
Hendriks TD. Book review: Cooking Data: Culture & Politics in an African Research World. Africa Spectrum. 2020 Nov 19.
Hendriks TD, Reis R, Sostakova M, Berckmoes LH. Violence and vulnerability: Children’s strategies and the logic of violence in Burundi. Children & Society. 2020 Jan;34(1):31-45.
Hendriks TD, Boersma FK. Bringing the state back in to humanitarian crises response: Disaster governance and challenging collaborations in the 2015 Malawi flood response. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction. 2019 Nov;40:1-7. 101262.
Hendriks TD. Collaboration and competition: Market queens, trade unions and collective action of informal workers in Ghana’s Makola Market. Interface : a Journal for and about Social Movements. 2017 Dec 31;9(2):162-187.
Hendriks TD. “Home is always home”: (Former) Street Youth in Blantyre, Malawi, and the Fluidity of Constructing Home. Leiden: African Studies Centre Leiden, 2017. 190 p. (African Studies Collection).