Dr. Hannelore Van Bavel
Dr Hannelore Van Bavel is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Rhea Research Centre for Gender, Diversity and Intersectionality at VUB and an Honorary Research Fellow at the Department of Anthropology and Archaeology at the University of Bristol. She holds a PhD in Anthropology & Sociology from SOAS University of London, as well as an MA in Gender and Diversity Studies and an MSc in Sociology from Ghent University.
Her research lies at the nexus of social anthropology and intersectional and postcolonial feminist theory. She is fascinated by how the intersections of gender, race, location, and culture shape societal and medical discourses on women's health and bodies and how these discourses affect women. She has primarily explored this topic through the study of (female) genital modifications.
She has conducted extensive ethnographic research on the transnational campaign against "female genital mutilation/cutting" (FGM/C), exploring its colonial legacies and the material effects it has had on (women from) FGM/C-practising communities, particularly in East Africa.
Her current research project, funded by a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Action Postdoctoral Fellowship, focuses on female genital cosmetic surgeries (FGCS) in Belgium and the Netherlands. The project aims to understand the recent and rapid increase of FGPS, as well as how medical professionals respond to these requests, and whether/how they balance biomedical, gender, and other concerns in making these decisions. Her research combines bioethics and feminist theories, specifically examining Western body, beauty, and genital practices, neoliberal femininities, and agency and autonomy.