1. Promotors: iara prof. Dr. Mark Breusers

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Topics master thesis Social and Cultural Anthropology and CADES

Below is a list of promoters and Master Thesis themes.

It is not a list of titles (unless otherwise mentioned).

1. Promotors:

  • Prof. Dr. Mark Breusers

  • Prof. Dr. Ann Cassiman

  • Prof. Dr. Filip De Boeck

  • Prof. Dr. Renaat Devisch

  • Prof. Dr. Knut Graw

  • Prof. Dr. Steven Van Wolputte


  • Prof. Dr. Patrick Devlieger

  • Prof. Dr. Marie-Claire Foblets

  • Prof. Dr. Philip Hermans

  • Prof. Dr. Johan Leman

  • Prof. Dr. Ching Lin Pang

  • Dr. Noel Salazar

  • Prof. Dr. Christiane Stallaert

  • Prof. Dr. Paul Vandenbroeck

  • Dr. M. Vanlangendonck

2. Themes IARA
Prof. Dr. Mark Breusers

  • Land use practices, property relations regarding natural resources and mobility.

  • Privatisation/commoditisation and (the enclosure/reclaiming of) commons.

  • Land tenure relations and identity.

  • Development encounter (consumption of development/development of consumption), history of development, development and governance/governmentality.

  • Microfinance, credit and debt.

  • Local notions of food security/sovereignty; food security/sovereignty from an anthropological perspective.

  • Farmer-herdsman relations.

  • Colonial ethnography and administration in French West Africa.

  • Other economic anthropological themes (economy, economics and society in historical perspective, property relations, notions of gift and commodity, commodity chain studies/social life of things, organization and meaning of work, consumption and identity, etc…).

  • Geographical focus: Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia.

Prof. Dr. Ann Cassiman

  • Anthropology of time, space and place (domestic space, urban space, cosmology, landscape, time, material culture, dwelling in rural and urban areas (West-Africa))

  • urbanization, village-city migration; women’s strategies of dealing with urban contexts: networks, cooperatives, trade organizations, household adaptations, housing mutations in urban setting, secondary cities and their own dynamics…

  • national and international migration in West-Africa (preferably with fieldwork) or the Ghanaian diaspora: the social organization of Ghanaian migrants’ communities in other parts of the world, especially in Belgium (Antwerp, Brussels)

  • anthropological studies of secondary cities in West-Africa

  • material culture; biographies of artifacts, utensils, earthenware, … in rural and urban settings; the commodification of architecture

  • anthropology and ethnographic exhibitions, the representation of cultural production

  • natural resources, land tenure, land property

  • ethnographic studies on parts of Ghana, Burkina Faso: women, children, education, religion, mobility, development, social relations, sexual education, migration, development initiatives

Prof. Dr. Filip De Boeck

  • Processes of state ‘crisis’ and collapse (state vs ‘civil society’, local forms of conflict prevention and resolution, cultural forms of resistance and resiliency)

  • Theorizing Africa, postcolonial studies, cultural studies, subaltern studies

  • Process of globalisation, Africa and the neo-liberal moment, African modernities,

  • Urbanity: cityness in Africa and the Global South

  • Local notions of gift, reciprocity, barter, local appropriations of capitalism, consumption and identity

  • Food, culture and ecology

  • Violence, culture, trauma

  • History and Memory: social memory, anthropology monuments, landscapes, rituals, commemorations, intergenerational transmission, the invention of ‘tradition’

  • Anthropology of children and youth

  • Healing, divination

  • African Diasporas

Prof. Dr. Renaat Devisch

  • Aspects of the Belgian colonial project, of the (Belgian) development cooperation.

  • Dimensions, problem areas of medical and economic anthropology

  • Anthropological dimensions of time and space, or of symptoms, symbols or myths

  • Which communities, institutions, discussion networks, publications, manifestations… are the heirs today, here and in Central-Africa, of the ‘self-granted civilisatory mission' of the West in Africa concerning nation-building, industrialization, urbanization, conversion, school education, national health care?

  • Endogenisation or ‘homecoming’ in one's own values and cultural-religious heritage.

  • Polylogue, negotiation, partnerships and inter-cultural internships in Africa and Flanders.

  • Endogenisation of knowledge systems, education, healthcare, artistic creativity, values.

  • Culture-specific ways of dealing with suffering, life after death, solidarity, guilt, as for example in the charismatic healing churches and community work.

  • Local knowledge systems and practices

  • Complentary phenomenological-anthropological and psychoanalytic approaches

Prof. Dr. Knut Graw

  • Phenomenological and existential Anthropology, including praxeological, life historical, (auto)biographic and dialogic approaches

  • Ritual and religious practices such as divination, dream interpretation, healing and other topics in the range of a hermeneutic anthropology

  • Migration, esp. African-European migration, including migratory expectations, migration and subjectivity, political economy

  • Culture and society in African and Middle Eastern contexts, especially with reference to Islamic religious formations but also religious praxis more generally

  • Globalization studies

  • Medical anthropology and cultural psychiatry

  • Topics concerning the relation between anthropology and philosophy

Prof. Dr. Steven Van Wolputte

1. Geographical interest

  • Africa in general, southern Africa in particular; African diaspora; La Flandre ‘profonde’;

  • margins and borders across the world;

  • cityscapes;

2. Thematical interest

  • Anthropology of border lands; crossing/ questioning borders; anthropology of margins

  • Political anthropology; anthropology of the state

  • Anthropology of food and drinking

  • Pastoralism, nomadism (also in western context); displaced people, refugees

  • vernacular modernities

  • globalisation/ localisation; the emergence of new global players in Africa.

  • Ambivalence, uncertainty; hybridity; paradox

  • Development issues: ecology; gender; livestock; tourism; (esp in southern Africa)

  • Anthropology of colonialism

  • Anthropology of humour and laughter

  • animal studies in anthropology

  • anthropology and history

  • colonisation; indirect rule; apartheid;

  • resistance studies;

  • ecology: Political ecology; ecology and development;

  • history of ecology and ecological thought wrt Africa; ; ecological anthropology; political / cultural ecology; ethno-ecology; anthropology of landscape;

  • the working of informal economies

  • anthropology of the body: Bodies and bodiliness: body symbolism; body praxis; what do people do with their bodies?; anthropology of dance / music; bodies and technology...

  • The making of self/ selves; identity; belonging; uncertainties, subjunctivity embodiment; subjectivity; hybridity

  • Anthropology of space and place; localities

  • Material culture/ popular culture;

  • urban cultures; youth cultures;

3. Some examples (working titles)

  • Body and city (body praxis in an urban context).
    Researches the body - and self image of youths in urban (western or non-western) subcultures; examples: music subcultures, but also piercings, tattoos, body mods, etcetera

  • The mutable body:
    analysis of the ideology embodied by biotechnology (human genome, clones, plastic surgery, ...) and its effect on daily life

  • Nomads and development

    • An analysis (preferably based on field research) on the relationship between 'sedentary' models and policies of development on the one, and 'nomadic' realities on the other hand.

    • An analysis on the place of (African) nomads in development discourse.

  • Ecology and sustainable development

    • A critical assessment of the place and role of ecology in current development narratives and praxis.

    • New directions in anthropology of the environment

    • History of ecological thought in anthropology

2. Themes IMMRC

Object of research:

The anthropological meaning of the encounters among cultures/groups, whereby the making and unmaking of boundaries have become paramount, taking a wide range of forms such as fragmentation, ruptures, delineations, border crossings, syncretism, etc. and generating an equally wide range of outcomes.

Fields of application :

There are 2 research sub-units inside IMMRC I. Migration and Interculturalism

II. Disability

I. Migration and Interculturalism

Area related research:

  • Mediterranean

  • Asia

  • Latin America

In the 3 cases, related also to Europe (- see migration).

Explicit themes:

  • crossing boundaries (e.g. conversion, arts, education, healing …)

  • mobility (e.g. migration, identity, tourism,…)

  • diversity and urban space… (e.g. ephemeral relations, entrepreneurship, mixed neighbourhoods, intangible heritage)

  • religion (Islam,…)

II. Disability

Area related research:

  • Belgium, China, South Africa, Congo, worldwide

Explicit themes:

  • world creation (disability cosmologies)

  • bodily and space frontiers: transborder trade

  • intersections between disability, gender, ethnicity

  • access, design, architecture

  • disability settings

  • sports and development

  • actor networks

Prof. Dr. Patrick Devlieger
Students are encouraged to write their thesis based on ethnographic and/or historical research (and not purely based on literature reviews). 

A. Anthropology and Disability Studies Research

1.       Local concepts and cosmologies of disability in a cross-cultural perspective

lit. Brigitte Holzer, Arthur Vreede, Gabriele Weigt (eds.) (1999). Disability in Different

Cultures: Reflections on Local Concepts. Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag.

2.       Cultural and historical representations/constructions of disability in literature, film and the arts and within the context of developing modernities.
3.    Ethnographic research on strategies of care giving to children with disabilities in different cultures (Belgium, United States,  Africa)
4.       Life transitions: birth, school, adult life
5.       Cultural notions of competence (mental disability/retardation)

lit. Jenkins, R. Questions of Competence. Cambridge University Press.

6.       Disability, violence and trauma
7.       The development of cultures of people with disabilities (eg. Deaf Culture, Blind Culture, virtual communities)
8.       Disability within ethnic minorities in Belgium

eg. The experience of disability with aging first generation migrants in Brussels

9.       Intersections between ethnicity, gender and disability differences

lit: Fawcett. B. (2000). Feminist Perspectives on Disability.

10.   Biographical/narrative research

lit. Frank, F. (2000). Venus on wheels. Berkeley: University of California Press

11. Analysis of time and/or space from a disability perspective

- restructuring space through the disability experience of blind people or people with visual impairments as analyzed in the context of Leuven.

- restructuring time within the family and social context of people with mental disabilities
12. Technology: the impact of prostheses, implants, and other technological developments in the context of identities and globalisation
13. Disability, movement and performance studies: dance as an expression, language, processing
14. Disability, sports and development: Paralympics and Special Olympics, mega-events (in collaboration with Dynamics of Developing a Better Society, University of Western Cape, South Africa)
15. Disability, architecture and the senses: anthropology of the senses

lit.: Mark Paterson, The senses of touch

(in collaboration with Architecture in dialogue with (dis)Ability (AIDA),
16. Disability and the Fundamental Rights discourses: right to life, participation, etc.
B. Methodological renewal in anthropological research

- evaluation research of methodological renewal

- anthropology and internet usage

- integration and communication of ethnographical material

- narrative en reflexive anthropology

- actor network methodology

C. Experimental and visual anthropology in urban contexts
-development of a short anthropological film, including a synopsis and discussion of the film language to be used.

qualifications required


Students who want to do their research within the field of culture and disability ought to follow the course ’Disability and Culture’. Students who are interested in doing ethnographical research must follow the course “Ethnographic Fieldwork: Exemplary Research”. Overall students are required to have an adequate theoretical background within anthropological research.

Prof. Dr. Philip Hermans
- Moroccan culture

    • healing

    • educational anthropology.

Prof. dr. Christiane Stallaert

‘Religieuze bekeringsdynamieken in een geglobaliseerde Belgische context’

Eén van de onderzoekslijnen van IMMRC –als onderdeel van het onderzoek naar grensoverschrijdingen, ‘border crossing’- is het onderzoek naar bekeringsdynamieken en -strategieën in België / Vlaanderen.

IMMRC heeft in de afgelopen jaren expertise opgebouwd rond dit onderwerp aan de hand van projectmatig onderzoek.

Het lopend doctoraatsonderzoek is gericht op islamgerelateerde bekeringen, en betreft:

1) Bekeringen van autochtone Belgen tot de islam en bekering van Soennitische moslims tot het Shi’isme. Dit onderzoek wordt uitgevoerd door Iman Lechkar

2) Bekering van moslims tot de Evangelische kerk. Dit onderzoek wordt uitgevoerd door Priscilla Choi.

3) Apostasie bij moslims en homoseksualiteit (in opstartfase)

In het kader van de masterproeven werd volgend onderzoek verricht (2008-2009)

1) Bekering van autochtone niet-gelovige volwassenen tot het katholieke Christendom

2) Een antropologisch onderzoek naar de perceptie van Vlamingen en Marokkaanse moslims op bekeringen tot de islam
Doelstellingen van het onderzoek
In het huidige IMMRC-onderzoek staan twee hoofddoelstellingen centraal:

1) Een theoretische bijdrage leveren tot de Antropologie van de Bekeringen: vertrekkende van een kritische analyse van het antropologische bekeringsbegrip wordt gepoogd om een nieuw heuristisch model te ontwikkelen in overeenstemming met de huidige gemondialiseerde samenleving.

2) Een etnografische bijdrage te leveren tot de Antropologie van de Bekeringen op basis van een antropologisch onderzoek van bekeringsdynamieken en –strategieën in België / Vlaanderen.
In samenhang met beide hoofddoelstellingen wordt gepoogd om een antwoord te bieden op de volgende vragen:

1) Dienen islamgerelateerde bekeringen in de huidige Westerse context in de eerste plaats gedefinieerd te worden aan de hand van religieuze (theologische), socio-ideologische (politieke), socio-culturele (overname van een globale culturele gedragscode) of etnische (“passing”) parameters?

2) Welke interactie bestaat er tussen lokale en globale bekeringsdynamieken in een Westerse context. Welke zijn de innoverende aspecten van de bekeringspatronen en missiestrategieën in het Westen binnen de huidige wereldcontext, en welke invloed heeft deze interactie op de bestaande antropologische definities en modellen van religieuze bekering?
Theoretisch kader
Het onderzoek spitst zich toe op de factor “Context” van Rambo’s “Systemic Stage Model of conversion”, nl. de "ecologie van het bekeringsproces", met speciale aandacht voor de interactie tussen de micro- en macrocontext (Rambo 1993:165). Rambo zelf pleit voor theoretische vernieuwing in bekeringsstudies en erkent hierbij de specifieke rol van de antropologische holistische benadering.

Rambo onderscheidt in zijn Systemic Stage Model vijf grote categorieën van bekering: afvalligheid (apostasie of ‘defectie’), intensifiëring, aansluiting (affiliatie), institutionele transitie, en traditie transitie.

In de lopende IMMRC-projecten, wordt onderzoek verricht naar elk van deze categorieën, telkens met betrekking tot de islam:
traditie transitie / affiliatie: bekering van westerse seculieren of christenen tot islam

institutionele transitie: interne bekering van Soenna-islam tot Shi’isme

intensifiëring: interne verschuiving naar sterk orthodoxe islambeleving

Apostasie: moslims die afvallig worden van hun geloof.

Binnen elke doelgroep wordt gedifferentieerd op basis van gender en tijdstip van bekering (vóór of na de millenniumcesuur). Er wordt gestreefd naar een minimum van twaalf vaste informanten per doelgroep. Qua methodologie worden antropologische veldwerktechnieken toegepast: participerende observatie gecombineerd met het afnemen van diepte-interviews.

Uit het reeds verrichte veldwerk is gebleken dat er een sterke bekeringsdynamiek aanwezig is in Vlaanderen / België, en dat deze dynamiek gepaard gaat met een ruime waaier van bekeringsstrategieën. Om een objectieve, wetenschappelijke kijk te krijgen op deze maatschappelijk relevante thematiek is het noodzakelijk om zoveel mogelijk facetten in het onderzoek te betrekken.

Mogelijke onderzoeksthema’s voor de masterproef
1) onderzoek naar één van Rambo’s categorieën (met toepassing op islam; christendom; …)

2) onderzoek naar perceptie van bekering door buitenstaanders

3) onderzoek naar de onderlinge verhoudingen tussen oud-/nieuw-gelovigen binnen een bepaalde godsdienstige groep

4) vergelijkend onderzoek naar bekeringsstrategieën van verschillende godsdienstige groeperingen

5)….. (op voorstel van de student)

ALLIEVI, Stefano (1998) Les convertis à l'Islam. Les nouveaux musulmans d'Europe. Paris: L'Harmattan ; (2000a) Nouveaux protagonistes de l'islam européen. Naissance d'une culture euro-islamique? Le rôle des convertis. European University Institute, Working Papers, n.18 ; (2000b) "Immigrazione islamica e conversioni all'islam. Una nuova dimensione dell'Europa delle religioni", in: Studi Emigrazione, n.137, 2000, 21-40 ; (2000c) "Les conversions à l'islam. Redéfinitions des frontières identitaires entre individu et communauté", in: Dassetto (dir.), Paroles d'islam. Paris: Maisonneuve-Larose; (2002) "Converts and the Making of European Islam", in: SIM Newsletter, dec. 2002 (International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World, Leiden); ALLIEVI, Stefano & Felice DASSETTO (eds.) (1999) Conversions à l'islam en Europe / Conversions to Islam in Europe, Social Compass, Vol. 46(3).

APPADURAI, Arjun (2001) Globalization. Durham/London: Duke University Press.

ASAD, Talal (1996) "Comments on Conversion", in: Van der Veer, Peter (ed.), Conversion to Modernities: The Globalization of Christianity, 1996, 263-273.

BUCKSER, Andrew & Stephen GLAZIER (eds.) (2003). The Anthropology of Religious Conversion. Lanham/Oxford: Rowman & Littlefield.

BULLIET, Richard W. (1979). Conversion to Islam in the Medieval Period: An Essay in Quantitative History. Cambridge/Mass.: Harvard University Press.

BURAWOY, Michael et al. (2000) Global Ethnography. Forces, Connections, and Imaginations in a Postmodern World. Berkeley/Los Angeles/London: University of California Press.

DAYNES, Sarah (1999) "Processus de conversion et modes d'identification à l'islam: l'exemple de la France et des Etats-Unis", Social Compass, 46(3), 313-323.

DASSETTO, Felice (ed.) (1996). Facettes de l'Islam belge. Louvain-la-Neuve: Académia-Bruylant. ; (ed.) (2004) Les recontres complexes. Islams et Occidents. Louvain-la-Neuve: Académia-Bruylant ; DASSETTO, Felice et al. (2001) Convergences musulmanes. Aspects contemporains de l'islam dans l'Europe élargie. Louvain-la-Neuve/Paris: Académia-Bruylant/L'Harmattan.

DECOBERT, Christian (ed.) (1999) La conversion religieuse, Cahiers du CEIFR, n° 2, September 1999 ; (2001) "Conversion, tradition, institution", Archives de Sciences Sociales des Religions, 2001, 116 (octobre-décembre), pp. 67-90.

DUTTON, Yasin (1999) "Conversion to Islam: The Qur'anic Paradigm", in: Christopher LAMB & M. Darrol BRYANT (eds.) Religious Conversion. Contemporary Practices and Controversies. London: Cassel.

EL-HOUARI, Setta (1999) "Le Suisse converti à l'islam: émergence d'un nouvel acteur social", Social Compass, 46(3), 337-349.

ESPOSITO, John L. (2002) Unholy War. Terror in the Name of Islam. Oxford University Press.

HERVIEU-LEGER, Danièle (1999 et 2001) Le pèlerin et le converti. Paris: Flammarion, 1999; Champs, 2001.

HOFMANN, Gabriele (1997) Muslimin werden: Frauen in Deutschland konvertieren zum Islam. Frankfurt/Main: Johan Wolfgang Goethe-Universität.

KOSE, Ali (1996) Conversion to Islam. A Study of Native British Converts. London: Kegan Paul; (1999) "The Journey from the Secular to the Sacred: Experiences of Native British Converts to Islam", Social Compass, 46(3), 301-312; Köse & K.M. LOEWENTHAL (2000) "Conversion motifs among British converts to Islam", International Journal for the Psychology of Religion, 10(2), 101-110.

LEVTZION, Nehemia (ed.) (1979) Conversion to Islam. New York/London: Holmes & Meier.

LOFLAND, John (1977) Doomsday Cult: A Study of Conversion, Proselytization, and Maintenance of Faith. New York: Irvington; Lofland & STARK R. (1965) "Becoming a World-Saver: a theory of conversion to a deviant perspective", American Sociological Review, n° 30 (6), 862-875.

MARCUS, George E. (1998) Ethnography through Thick & Thin. Princeton University Press.

MARRET, Jean-Luc (2005) Les fabriques du Jihad. PUF.

RAMBO, Lewis R. (1993) Understanding Religious Conversion. New Haven/London: Yale University Press; (1999) "Theories of Conversion: Understandig and Interpreting Religious Change", Social Compass, 46(3), 259-271; (2003) "Anthropology and the Study of Conversion", in BUCKSER A. & St. D. GLAZIER, The Anthropology of Religious Conversion; RAMBO, Lewis R. & Charles E. FARHADIAN (1999), "Converting: stages of religious change", in: Ch. LAMB & M. D. BRYANT (eds.) Religious Conversion. Contemporary Practices and Controversies. New York/London: Cassel,, pp. 23-34.

RAZAQ, Salah Salem Abdel (2005) Neo-Muslim Intellectuals in the West and their Contributions to Islamic Thought and the Formation of Western Islam. (Ph.D. dissertation). Universiteit Leiden.

ROBERTSON, Roland (1992) Globalization Social Theory and Global Culture. Sage; (2003) "Antiglobal Religion", in JUERGENSMEYER, Mark (ed.) (2003) Global Religions: an introduction. Oxford University Press, 110-123.

ROCHER, Lisbeth & CHERQAOUI, Fatima (1986) D'une foi l'autre: Les conversions à l'Islam en Occident. Paris: Seuil.

RUEL, Malcolm (1982) "Christians as Believers", in J. Davies ed., Religious Organization and Religious Experience. London, Academic Press, 9-31. SULTAN, Madeleine (1999) "Choosing Islam: a study of Swedisch Converts", Social Compass, 46(3), 351-362.

TSING, Anna (2000) "The Global Situation", Current Anthropology 15(3):3

WOHLRAB-SAHR, Monika (1999a). Konversion zum Islam in Deutschland und den USA. Frankfurt/M: Campus; (1999b) "Conversion to Islam: Between Syncretism and Symbolic Battle", Social Compass, Vol. 46(3), 351-362.

Prof. Dr. Ching Lin Pang

Migration, mobility and interculturalism in EU

  • New Migration/mobilities of Asians (Chinese, South Koreans, Taiwanese, etc)  into EU/Asian flows and impact on local economy and community

  • Representation of Europe/Belgium/Flanders by new Asian/Chinese migrants

  • Commodification of cultural diversity and link to local cultural heritage (i.e. museum of migration, MAS)

  • Governance and diversity in transnational entrepreneurship ( Turkish, Chinese, etc)

  • Urban space, diversity and spacemaking in contemporary metropolitan settings

  • Heritage language education and language education as second language and intercultural communication


Migration in Asia (China, India, Japan, etc)


  • Ethnic nationalities in China: policy and practices

  • New migrants in China (European students, African migrants, etc)

  • Spacemaking and redefining the first tier Chinese cities by newcomers

  • Emergence of gobal Chinese language, by students, busunessmen, etc


Chinese in Africa


  • Chinese entrepreneurs in Africa: the new global majority?

  • Interethnic interaction and friction between the Chinese and locals/local organisations

  • Flows of Chinese goods in Africa and its link with the representation of the Chinese

Dr. Noel B. Salazar

1. Mobility and immobility

Mobility is currently one of the ‘hot’ topics in the social sciences. Anthropologists, too, increasingly study the directions in which people, things, and ideas move, how and why they circulate, and what this tells us, more generally, about the human condition. Studies of mobility and circulation provide an innovative way to understand the multiple transformations that accompany globalization, but also imply profound methodological and conceptual challenges for anthropology as a discipline. How are widely spread practices of mobility (e.g. migration, tourism, pilgrimage, business travel) erasing existing boundaries while at the same time erecting new ones? Is transnational human mobility more than the newest form of accumulating symbolic capital? Who are the so-called ‘immobile’ and how are they creating their own forms of ‘mobility’? Why are certain forms of mobility (e.g. Erasmus student exchange) valued more positively than others (e.g. gypsies on the move)? Which factors determine the multiple meanings attached to (im)mobility? I welcome anthropological studies (empirical as well as theoretical) that critically examine issues related to boundary-crossing human (im)mobility.

More on this topic: Salazar, N. B. (2010). Towards an anthropology of cultural mobilities. Crossings: Journal of Migration and Culture, 1(1), 53-68.

2. Imaginaries

Not only people are on the move, but also their images and ideas. Capturing these imaginaries – representational assemblages that mediate reality and form identities – and their material impact on peoples’ lives helps us understand the origins and enduring power of stereotypical representations of ‘the Other’. An anthropology of global imaginaries – narratives and ideas that depend on the creation of the otherness of people’s own pasts as well as of ‘the Other’ – reveals how local lifeworlds are mobile: always negotiated, contested, and constantly under transformation. How are prevalent images and discourses of ‘the global South’ (Africa, Asia, Latin America) interlinked and what does this tell us, more generally, about interculturalism and the circulation of imaginaries? It is in acknowledging the role of the imagination that possibly one of the most exciting opportunities for anthropology of global and transnational processes is located. I welcome anthropological studies (empirical as well as theoretical) that critically explore the circulation of imaginaries of ‘the Other’.

More on this topic: Salazar, N. B. (2010). Tanzanian migration imaginaries. IMI Working Papers (Vol. 20). Oxford: International Migration Institute.

3. Cosmopolitanisms

While people have always been on the move, processes of globalization have led to an enormous increase in travel across the planet. Derived from the ancient Greek words kosmos (universe) and polis (city), a cosmopolitan literally means a global citizen. Scholars from across the social sciences have long been captivated by the concept of cosmopolitanism, variously invoking it as: (1) a socio-cultural condition; (2) a kind of philosophy or world view; (3) a political project toward building transnational institutions; (4) a political project for recognizing multiple identities; (5) an attitudinal or dispositional orientation; and (6) a mode of practice or competence. Cosmopolitanism has been largely theorized in terms of trans-border flows and there would be no cosmopolitan travellers if there were no national boundaries to cross in the first place. Cosmopolitanism requires not only tolerance, respect, and enjoyment of cultural difference, but also a concomitant sense of global belonging, a kind of global consciousness that can be integrated into everyday life practices. I welcome anthropological studies (empirical as well as theoretical) that critically assess why various groups of people want to become cosmopolitan and how they do so.

More on this topic: Salazar, N. B. (2010). Tourism and cosmopolitanism: A view from below. International Journal of Tourism Anthropology 1(1).

5. Other themes

Other topics that I will gladly supervise:

  • Boundary-crossing theses (e.g. integrating anthropology and the neurosciences)

  • Studies linking migration and tourism

  • Studies on cultural heritage (including UNESCO policy)

  • Studies of intercultural contact (both in Belgium and abroad)

  • Studies of cross-border tourism and travel

  • Studies related to Indonesia (Southeast Asia), Tanzania (East Africa), or Chile (Latin America)

Full bibliography: http://salazar.flyurl.net/

Prof. Dr. Christiane Stallaert

Accepts theses related to:


  • Latin America, Spain, Portugal


  • Ethnicity and nationalism

  • Religion and religious conversion

  • Border Studies and Migrations (internal and international)

  • Indigenism and Interculturality

  • Genocide and Social Memory

For each of these topics a basic bibliography can be provided upon request

A basic knowledge of Spanish or Portuguese is recommended.

According to the topic, research can be carried out in collaboration with the following universities:

  • Universidad veracruzana (Xalapa, México)

  • Universidad de Chile

  • Universidad Nacional de La Plata (Argentinië)

  • UNAM (México)

  • Universidad de San Marcos (Peru)

  • Universidad Federal de Minas Gerais (Brazilië)

  • Universidad Federal de Santa Catarina (Brazilië)

  • Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spanje)

  • Universidad Pablo de Olavide (Sevilla, Spanje)

  • ISCTE-Lissabon, Portugal

Two concrete research proposals

1) Title: Interculturality in Latin American: diversity management and indigenous empowerment.

Promotor: Christiane Stallaert, christiane.stallaert@soc.kuleuven.be

Description: One of the most urgent questions of Latin American states with a huge percentage of indigenous people (mainly the Andean region and Central America) is to adapt the organizational, legal and political structures and institutions of the State to the multicultural social reality in order to integrate the indigenous peoples. This urgency has led some states to refund the nation by adopting a new Constitution based on the concept of ‘interculturality’.

This research project aims at investigating the practical implementation of this concept in concrete areas of Latin American society, specifically in education and the transmission of knowledge. The research will be conducted according to anthropological methods and techniques and will have an applied dimension. Preference will be given to candidates familiar with the field.

Key words: Latin America - Interculturality – Diversity management

Relevance for development co-operation: The objective of the project is to evaluate the impact of intercultural policies on the empowerment of indigenous communities and individuals in Latin America. The critical analysis and evaluation of existing intercultural programs and practices based on empirical data aims at formulating recommendations in order to improve both the theoretical and practical foundations of current policies.

2) Title: Cultural Border-Crossing and Socio-Economic Mobility: The Intersection of Migration, Ethnicity and Religious Conversion Careers among Latin Americans

Promotor: Christiane Stallaert, christiane.stallaert@soc.kuleuven.be

Description: Latin America has entered the Global Age as a continent marked by unforeseen religious transformations, important intra- and intercontinental migration flows, as well as a growing ethnic awareness and mobilization. This project aims at investigating, from an integrative perspective, the intersection and interaction between these three socio-cultural border-crossing dynamics and their incidence on the socio-economic mobility of low-status minorities. Central to the analysis is both the personal and societal context in which the migratory, religious and ethnic ‘careers’ evolve and intersect. The research will be conducted according to anthropological methods and techniques and will be carried out among Latin American migrants in Belgium.

Key words: Latin America - Migration – Ethnicity - Religious Conversion

Relevance for development co-operation: The objective is to understand the interrelatedness of the most significant border-crossing dynamics which characterize the vulnerable strands of Latin American society (indigenous minorities; urban and rural poor), and the incidence of those dynamics on their socio-economic mobility. Special attention will be paid to the transnational dimension and the effects on the home communities of the migrants.

Prof. Dr. Paul Vandenbroeck

1. Antropologische studie van een aspekt van de religieuze iconografie en voorstellingswereld  in Vlaanderen en Spanje


2. Antropologische studie van de lichaamsvoorstelling en -energetica in de kunst van een bepaalde regio en periode


3.  ‘Krachtplaatsen’ (wonderdadige bedevaartsoorden) en spirituele topografie in België. Voorstellingswereld en cultus.

- Duffel, O.-L.-V. van Goede Wil

- Herdersem, O.-L.-V. ten Beeldeken

- Heffen, O.-L.-V. ten Doorn

- Kalfort, O.-L.-V. ten Traan

- Edelare (Oudenaarde), O.-L.-V. ten Kerselare

- Pommeroeul (Bernissart), O.-L.-V.

- Jezus-Eik, O.-L.-V.

- Veerle, O.-L.-V. ten Wijngaard


4. Maghreb-culturen :  betekenisgeving en esthetiek (Marokko)

    NB. Voor volgende thema’s is veldwerk wenselijk :

- Het guedra-dansritueel (Goulimine en regio)

- De ‘harendans’ (Zuid-Marokko)

- Betekenisgeving van het ahwash- (Hoge Atlas) of ahidous-dansritueel (Midden Atlas en Ouarzazate-regio)

- Semantiek van de traditionele wikkelkleding (haik,adghar) van een regio/stam in de Anti Atlas (Ait Abdallah, Ida ou Zeddout, Ida ou Nadif, Izzazen, Ibakissen, Ilmghertin, Ait Yakoub, Ida ou Kensous…)

- Een bedevaartsoord in Marokko : cultus, voorstellingswereld, praktijken

- Mystieke broederschappen en hun rituele praktijk  

   NB. Volgende thema’s zijn ook als literatuurstudie mogelijk :

- Betekenisgeving van het bruiloftsritueel in één regio :  sequensen, voorwerpen, inhouden, zintuigen

- Betekenisgeving van geuren (parfums, wierook, …) in één regio

- Betekenisgeving van voedsel en voedselbereiding in één regio

- Belgische schilders in Marokko, 19de /eerste helft 20ste eeuw. Constructie van een alteriteit

-       Een aspekt van culturele longue durée


5. Nieuwe ontwikkelingen rond ‘matrixiale’ betekenisgeving en hun relevantie voor culturele antropologie

Dr. M. Vanlangendonck

  • Anthropology of Tourism, different angles are possible (from mass tourism to back packers)

  • Applied Anthropology, with the option to work in a team of anthropologists

  • Anthropology of Social Work, diverse subjects, with the option to work in a team

  • Oral History 

  • Malta, the islet of Gozo, with scholarship for fieldwork in July 2012, diverse options

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