Research projects among core staff have the following features in common:

▪       The politics of location: Our epistemological starting point is that gender as well as cultural differences has a bearing on the production of knowledge. This involves the following question: What are the consequences of the participation of the once silenced 'other' (the woman, the subaltern) in processes of knowledge and theory formation that up until recently have been, behind a mask of false universality, politically hegemonic (colonial, western, androcentric and heteronormative)?

▪      The study of ‘culture’ from an anthropological and postcolonial perspective: Culture refers to shared modes and forms of meaning-making, sociality, learning, belonging and everyday practices, yet is also seen as inherently non-homogenous, conflictual, creative and evolving. Hence culture is seen as a dynamic vehicle of identity-making, at the level of the individual, group and community. It goes beyond conventional understandings of ‘race’ or ‘ethnicity’, to include the making of other and related constructions of gender, sexuality, dis/ability, etc., and the power relations between them.

▪       The study of 'gender' from a feminist and intersectional perspective: Gender is seen as a cultural construction in relation to other identity dynamics such as ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and nationality. Gender is not only considered as an analytical category and as a social means of categorization and regulation, but as a culturally variable construction as well. Empirical research is directed at local cultural productions, reproductions and shifts in gender, sexual, and cultural ideologies, discourses practices, with attention to dynamics of intercultural and transnational exchange and creativity in contexts of migration and globalization.

▪       Interdisciplinarity with a strong anthropological and ethnographic orientation informed by postcolonial critique: Learning from rather than about others what it means to be human using qualitative research techniques. 

▪       Cross-cultural comparison: Projects within the centre focus on a variety of cultural traditions and regions rather than being limited to one specific form, region or cultural area. Our research does not necessarily, nor exclusively focus on ‘others’ (cultures outside the 'West' or minorities within the 'West') but also involves examining diversity and inequality among majority populations. For gender and culture is as much about 'us' - whoever 'we' may be - as about 'others'.

Research areas:

▪       gender, religion, spirituality, (post)secularism, non-religion, world-views and sense-giving

▪       ethnicity, sexuality, racism, social activism and social movements

▪       kinship, reproduction, cultures of relatedness, parenting, mothering, marital and relation practices, care relationships

▪       gender & education

▪       migration, multicultural citizenship, racism, inequality, postcolonialism, development

▪       harmful cultural practices 

▪       mental health, self-care, well-being and culture

▪       sexual & reproductive health and rights

▪       gender and diversity in academia

▪       culture, gender, visual ethnography and artistic production

▪       LGBTQ/I rights, experiences and identities

 Researchers & expertise

  • Christof Bex: anthropology of transnational adoption, migration and unaccompanied minors, critical race and ethnicity studies, postcolonial and indigenous studies, Bolivia
  • Prof. Dr. Inge Brinkman: literature, identity and gender, performance, popular culture
  • Maria Judite Chipenembe: race, ethnicity, disability; LGBs and sexual and reproductive rights; Mozambique (joint doctorate with VUB)
  • Ellen Decoo: gender, feminism and religion, Mormonism, LGBT issues
  • Dr. Katrien De Graeve: gender and sexuality, anthropology of transnational adoption, families and relationships; parenting culture and kinship studies; belonging and identity; migration and unaccompanied minors; critical race and ethnicity studies; non-monogamies.
  • Susan Dierickx: medical anthropology, gender, harmful cultural practices, public health, West Africa, mixed methods
  • Prof. Dr. Rozita Dimova: borders, materiality, gender, ethno-nationalism, consumption, esthetics, performance, art, refugees, forced dislocation
  • Prof. Dr. An Heirman: Buddhist monasticism, Vinaya
  • Eline HuygensAnthropology of gender and religion, sexuality, embodiment, body practices, (lived) religion, spirituality, world-views and sense-giving, Christianity
  • Dr. Ayla JoncheereDance, ethnography, anthroplogy. Gender, India, heritage studies, ethnomusicology, Romany studies, cultural studies, Hindi, Rajasthan
  • Prof. Dr. Chia Longman: anthropology of gender, religion & ethnicity; feminism & multiculturalism; harmful cultural practices; holistic and secular spiritualties and self-care; motherhood studies; religious traditionalist minorities, Judaism, Islam, Europe (Orthodox Jewish Diaspora) 
  • Amal Miri: gender, marriage migration, Muslim minorities in Belgium (joint doctorate with KUL, from September 2015)
  • Dr. Carine Plancke: anthropology, gender, body practices, dance, movement, performance, sexual difference, the maternal, emotion, affect, ritual and creativity, contemporary women's spirituality, Central Africa, Western Europe
  • Dr. Ladan Rahbari: harmful cultural practices, migration, culture and moralities
  • Lieke Schrijvers: Religion and secularism, sexuality, women's conversion, women's emancipation, anthropology
  • Prof. Dr. Koen Stroekenanthropology of affect and materiality, East Africa, medical anthropology 
  • Dr. An Van Raemdonck: female circumcision; critical development studies; postcolonial feminism; Islam; Egypt