Netherlands American Studies Association


Markha Valenta

Assistant Professor of Politics/Culture/History

Markha Valenta is a trans-Atlantic scholar whose work addresses the geopolitics of diversity, with an emphasis on religion, race and ethnicity. Trained in the United States at Amherst College and at the University of Iowa, where they were an Iowa Fellow, Markha then moved to the Netherlands, as the only place in the world where it was possible at that time to build a queer family with state recognition and protection. Their work since then has expanded on concerns first given shape in a PhD dissertation on Dorothy Day. Day was the co-founder of the Catholic Worker, the first radically Left Catholic social moment in the US and one that integrated anarchism, pacifism, Russian and French social thought to offer a dramatically new vision for living in community under modern industrial urban conditions of exclusion, exploitation, and imperialism.

Once in the Netherlands, Markha’s research turned to comparison, addressing the denigration, Islamophobia and racism faced by Muslim migrants to Dutch and European society in comparison with US structures and histories of inequality. This work later expanded to address diversity politics in global cities, including beyond the West (Mumbai); the significance of international relations and globalization to democracy, and the centrality of regimes of im/mobility and constrained migration to the nation-state and its modes of violence. In other words: their trajectory has been one of globalizing American Studies and of bringing central concerns from American Studies regarding pluralism, justice and community to a global stage.