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, including ethnography, discourse analysis, etc. . 
  • 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'.
  • Dialogue and collaboration across disciplines, scientific paradigms and methodologies: Individual, social and cultural differences and identities are also grounded in embodied experiences that benefit from interdisciplinary research and a holistic approach.  Various projects and events involve collaboration with colleagues from archeology, medicine, psychology, social and political sciences, law, regional studies, ethics, literature, etc.  


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, well-being, experiences and identities
  • gender, sexuality and (older) age

 Researchers & expertise

  • Atamhi Cawayu: anthropology of transnational adoption, migration and diaspora studies, critical race and whiteness studies, decolonial feminist thought, coloniality and decoloniality, kinship and motherhood in Bolivia, childhood in Bolivia, Andean studies, (auto)ethnography, activism and research
  • Prof. dr. Katrien De Graef
  • Prof. dr. Katrien De Graeve: gender and sexuality, feminist epistemology, (auto)ethnography, women's later-in life sexuality, ageism, non-normative and non-monogamous relationships, ethics of care, parenting practices and transnational adoption, racism and citizenship
  • dr. Valerie De Craenehuman geography, geographies of sexualities, feminist epistemology, (auto)ethnography, heteronormativities in (student) nightlife, women's later-in life sexuality, ethics of care, slow science
  • dr. Sara De Vuyst: feminist media studies, women’s later-in-life intimacy, gender and media representation, production and audiences, sexuality, queer theory, experiences of (older) queer women, gender issues in journalism, gender and technology, online harassment and intersectionality
  • Irma Emmery: critical parenting; migration & parenting; gender & sustainability.  
  • Eline Huygens: gender and religion, anthropology of religion, feminism and religion, Christianity, secularism, romantic relationships, love, intimacy, sexuality
  • Nika Loomananthropology of gender and sexuality, queer studies, non-binary and genderqueer studies, ethnography, later-in-life sexuality
  • Prof. dr. Chia Longman: anthropology of gende; gender and sexual diversity and embodiment; religion & ethnicity; feminism & multiculturalism; harmful cultural practices; holistic and secular spiritualties and self-care; motherhood studies; religious traditionalist minorities, Judaism, Islam, post-Christian spiritualities, Europe (Orthodox Jewish Diaspora) 
  • Amal Miri: gender, marriage migration, Muslim minorities in Belgium 
  • Prof. dr. Joz Motmans: transstudies; gender and sexual diversity, differences of sex development. 
  • 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

    Completed dissertations

    Thesis: 'Making Families': Parenting and Beloging in Transnational Adoption in Flanders 
    Date of defence: 04/05/2012. 
    Dr. Katrien De Graeve - Doctor in Comparative Sciences of Culture
    Under supervision of: prof. dr. Chia Longman & prof. dr. Karel Arnaut

    Thesis: Accoucher la citoyenneté. Expériences et témoignages de femmes sans-papiers à propos de le leur travail maternel.
    Date of defence:  1/10/2013. 
    Dr. Tine Brouckaert - Doctor in Comparative Sciences of Culture
    Under supervision of: prof. dr. Chia Longman & prof. dr. Marc Derycke. 
    International joint doctorate, Ghent University with MoDyS (Mondes et Dynamismes des Sociétiés) Université St. Etienne.

    Thesis: Religion and Women’s Emancipation in a West-European Context: Qualitative Case Studies on Religion and Secularity in Feminist Perspectives and Practices in Flanders.
    Date of defence: 15/12/2014.
    Dr. Nella van den Brandt - Doctor in Comparative Sciences of Culture
    Under supervision of prof. dr. Chia Longman. 

    Thesis: Elif Shafak and Emine Sevgi Özdamar: Politics of Fiction, Re-negotiating Secularism, Decolonial Feminism and Decolonial Aesthesis. 
    Date of defence: 23/09/2016
    Dr. Elif Simsek
    Under supervision of prof. dr. Chia Longman & prof. dr. Ralph Poole & prof. dr. Christine Kanz.
    Joint Doctorate with Salzburg University, Austria.

    Thesis: Agency within Crevices of Subordination: Female Teacher Educators' Gendered Lived Experiences in Uganda

    Date of defendence: 21/11/2016
    Dr. Lydia Namatende - 
    Doctor in Gender and Diversity Studies
    Under supervision of: prof. dr. Chia Longman & prof. dr. Martin Valcke

    Thesis: Female Genital Cutting and the Politics of Islamicate Practices in Egypt. Debating Development and the Religious/Secular Devide

    Date of defence: 16/12/2016
    Dr. An Van Raemdonck - Doctor in Comparative Sciences of Culture
    Under supervisoion of: prof. dr. Chia Longman & prof. dr. Els Leye

    Thesis: Sexual Rights Activism in Mozambique. A qualitative case study of civil society organisations and experiences of lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons
    Date of defence: 7/09/2018
    Dr. Maria Judite Chipenembe -  Doctor in Gender and Diversity Studies (UGent) & Doctor in Gender and Diversity (VUB)
    Under supervision of: prof. dr. Gily Coene & prof. dr. Chia Longman

    Thesis: Gender, Sexuality and the Moral Body: A Qualitative Study of perceptions and Experiences of Body Management among Women in Iran and Iranian Migrant Women in Belgium
    Date of defence: 28/05/2019
    Dr. Ladan Rahbari - Doctor in Gender and Diversity Studies (UGent) & Doctor in Gender and Diversity (VUB)
    Under supervision of: prof. dr. Chia Longman & prof. dr. Gily Coene