From September 2018 until January 2019, I am living and working in Ghent, Belgium. As part of my joint doctorate (or ‘double degree’), I’m enrolled as a doctoral student at the University of Ghent. I will join my colleagues of the Centre for Research on Culture and Gender at the Faculty of Arts and Science. The Centre brings together scholars and students from various disciplinary backgrounds in the arts, humanities and social sciences interested in the study of culture in intersection with gender and/or other identity markers such as sexuality, ethnicity, class, nation and religion. The director of the centre is prof. dr. Chia Longman, anthropologist in gender, ethnicity and comparative religion, and one of the supervisors of my PhD trajectory.
These few months in Ghent will be primarily dedicated to writing, as I am currently working on book chapters (to be published in Routledge edited volumes), articles (both popular and academic) and my overall PhD thesis. I’ll dive into the ethnographic material gathered the past year on one of the three cases, namely converted Jewish women in the Netherlands. How, why and where does one become Jewish? What does this mean for performances and experiences of gender and sexuality? These and many more questions regarding Jewish gendered life will be on my mind, you are more than welcome to share your thoughts or questions on the matter.
In the upcoming months, several events are planned. September starts with a three-day seminar on Critical Ethnography Later, I will present my research at the 3rd International Conference of the International Association for the study of Religion and Gender (IARG), which is taking place on 26-27 November in the city of Ghent. The conference “Sexual and Gendered Moralities” aims to bring together scholars from different disciplines researching the relationship between sexuality, gender, religion and ethical life in contemporary society. I’ll participate with a paper presentation on converted Jewish women’s sexuality titled “Gender and Giur: Sex, Gender and Ethics among Jewish converts in the Netherlands.”