Research Group Marquardt

Dr. Christiane Tristl

Overview of research topics, curriculum vitae as well as publications of Dr. Christiane Tristl

Research topics

  • Science and Technology Studies, Actor-Network Theory
  • Geographical Infrastructure Research
  • Geographies of marketisation
  • Philanthrocapitalism
  • South-North Relations
  • (Multi-sited) Ethnography
  • Quantitative Methodology


Christiane Tristl is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the GIUB's Social Geography Group. In December 2020, she successfully defended her dissertation entitled 'Automatic water dispensers - The private sector as development agent and the marketization of water at the bottom of the pyramid' at the University of Frankfurt a.M.. Christiane's research focused on the increasing influence of private sector companies and philanthrocapitalist foundations in development cooperation and the accompanying techno-supported marketisation of water in urban and rural contexts in Kenya. Prior to her PhD, she worked as a research assistant in the BMBF-funded project 'EuroGaps - External Relations and External Perceptions of the EU in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Black Sea Region' at the University of Frankfurt a.M.. Christiane studied human geography in Munich, Frankfurt a.M. and Groningen.

Her research interests are in the field of geographical infrastructure research, the geographies of marketisation and its technical devices, and the increasing influence of private companies in global policy-making.

since 2021: Postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Geography at the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University Bonn

2014-2020: PhD student at the Institute for Human Geography at Goethe University Frankfurt am Main

2013-2014: Research assistant in the BMBF research project EuroGaps-External Relations and External Views of the EU in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Black Sea Region, at the Institute of Human Geography, Goethe University Frankfurt (student assistant from October 2011-October 2012)

2009-2013: Master's degree in economic geography, Geographies of Globalisation - Markets and Metropolises, at the University of Frankfurt am Main (semester abroad at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Netherlands, from 2010 to 2011)

2006-2009: Studies of Human Geography at the Ludwig-Maximilian-University Munich (student assistant at the Department of Economic Geography from 2008 to 2009)


Tristl, Christiane (under review): Blended finance, transparent data, and the complications of waters’ multiple ontologies. In: Geographica Helvetica. Sonderheft zu: “Development in Action. Development Geography meets Science and Technology Studies”. Edited by Markus Keck, Uli Beisel and Julia Verne.

Tristl, Christiane (under review): Sustainable water services? Micro technologies and the commercialization of water for the urban poor in the Global South. In: Globalizations. Sonderheft zu: Commercialising Africa. Edited by Catherine Dolan and Jörg Wiegratz.

Tristl, Christiane: Automatic water dispensers - The private sector as development agent and the marketization of water at the ‘bottom of the pyramid’. Dissertation.

Tristl, Christiane and Boeckler, Marc: PAYGo water dispensers and the lifeworlds of marketisation. In: Rottenburg, Richard; Beisel, Uli and Riedke, Eva (Ed.): Translating Technology in Africa – Lifeworlds. Brill Press (Expected publication: mid-2022)

Tristl, Christiane and Strüver, Anke 2022: Platforms for Basic Needs: Rethinking their infrastructuralization as reflective of elsewhere. In: Bauriedl, Sybille und Strüver, Anke: Platformisation of Urban Life: Towards a Technocapitalist Transformation of European Cities. Transcript/Columbia University Press. 149-167. Online available: https://www.transcript-verlag. de/978-3-8376-5964-1/ platformization-of-urban-life/ ?number=978-3-8394-5964-5

Tristl, Christiane; Müller, Martin; Bachmann, Veit 2015: Lexicometric analysis: a methodological prelude. In: Bachmann, Veit and Müller, Martin (Ed.): Looking in from the Outside: Perspectives on the EU from Sub-Saharan Africa and the Black Sea Region. Palgrave Macmillan. 69-76.

Tristl, Christiane and Bachmann, Veit 2015: European self-perceptions: the EU’s geopolitical identity and role in official documents and speeches. In: Bachmann, Veit and Müller, Martin (Ed.): Looking in from the Outside: Perspectives on the EU from Sub-Saharan Africa and the Black Sea Region. Palgrave Macmillan. 77-104.

Tristl, Christiane 2017: Co-Constituting Cost-Recovery, Assembling Benevolence – The Techno-Political Patterning of Automatic Water Dispensers. Online available: (Status: 12.06.2019).


  • Der Privatsektor als Entwicklungsakteur und die Vermarktlichung von Wasser im globalen Süden. Jahrestagung 2021 des AK Industriegeographie, 25.11.2021 – 26.11.2021; digital
    Die Vermarktlichung von Wasser mit PAYG-Devices. Vom „Abhängigkeitssyndrom“ zu einer strahlenden Zukunft; Tagung neue Kulturgeographie 17, 30.01. – 01.02.2020; Bonn
  • Marketizing Water with PAYG Devices. From “dependency syndrome” towards a radiant future? Workshop Empire of the Digital Nº 2, 04.12. – 6.12.2020, Centre de Sciences Humaines; Neu Delhi
  • Confronting Lifeworlds. Automatic Water Dispensers and Their Foundational Meaning. Tagung der Vereinigung für Afrikawissenschaften in Deutschland, 28.06. – 30.06.2018, Universität Leipzig; mit Marc Boeckler
  • Replacing faces with interfaces? – Denaturalizing the technicization of water supply through automatic water dispensers. Workshop Empire of the Digital, 21.05. – 23.05. 2018; Nairobi
  • Purifying Water - On rationality, efficiency and shifted socialites. RGS-IBG Annual Conference 2017; London
  • From technological fixes for water supply to the relationality of automatic water dispensers. Seminar am Institut Français de Recherche en Afrique (IFRA), März 2017; Nairobi
  • Infrastructural Experiments at the “Bottom of the Pyramid” – Automatic Water Dispensers. Annual Conference of the American Association of Geographers 2016; San Francisco
  • (Un)Fassbar?! – Unterschiedliche Perspektiven auf Materialitäten. Junger Kongress für Geographie (JKG) 2015; Berlin

Grants and scholarships

2020: Short-term scholarship for postdocs of the DAAD, project title: Marketizing WASH - Laboratizing Society? On entrepreneurial service delivery and the marketization of water supply and sanitation in Kenya; implemented at the Institute of Geography at the University of Graz from 01.07. - 30.09.2021 due to the COVID 19 pandemic.

2017: research grant from the Insitute Français de recherche en Afrique (IFRA) in Nairobi to conduct a research stay in Kenya in the course of the PhD thesis.

2014-2017: PhD grant from the Hans Böckler Foundation to carry out the PhD project.

2012: Research grant from the Association of Friends and Supporters of Goethe University and the Alumni Network Geoprax of Goethe University Frankfurt to conduct field research for the master's thesis in Cairo; title of the thesis: 'We want to fo and demand our rights!' About an NGO project in the field of tension between state and transnational governmentality and autonomization in the field of 'Solid Waste Management' in Cairo.

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