Group Members

Network Coordinators:

  1. Sarah Bracke, Universiteit van Amsterdam
  2. Yolande Jansen, Universiteit van Amsterdam
  3. Martijn De Koning, Radboud University Nijmegen
  4. Anya Topolski, Radboud University Nijmegen


Adela Taleb is a PhD candidate at the Institute for EUropean Ethnology at Humboldt University Berlin. In her research project she investigates the formation of “European Islam” from a discourse analytical approach, looking at the interaction of Eurocrats and NGOs in the arena of the European Union. Adela is currently a fellow at the Law and Anthropology department of Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle, Germany and was perviously a visiting researcher at the Interculturalism, Migration and Minorities Research Centre of KU Leuven, Belgium as well as the European Institute of the LSE London, United Kingdom. She has published on themes such as “visual Orientalism” and the politics of representing “the Muslim Woman“. Website:

Betty de Hart is professor of Transnational families and Migration Law at VU University Amsterdam, Law faculty. In 2016, she received a ERC Consolidator grant for her Research project Euromix: regulating mixed intimacies in Europe. Earlier, she received a Vidi-research grant of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) for the research project ‘Transnational Families between Dutch and Islamic family law. She has published widely on how ‘mixed’ couples and families have been regulated by and experience migration law, nationality law and family law.

Elena Zambelli is a postdoctoral researcher at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, where she works on an ERC-funded research project on the regulation of race and intimacy in contemporary Europe ( She has a PhD in Gender Studies (SOAS), which she obtained with a dissertation exploring women’s subjectification and agency in contexts where the boundaries between intimacy and the market were blurred. Her research interests cover the anthropology of gender and sexuality, the sociology of work and the body, critical race theory, migration, and the Middle East and North Africa. Her latest article is ‘Between a curse and a resource: the meanings of women’s racialized sexuality in contemporary Italy’, that is part of the Special Issue ‘Sexuality and Power in contemporary Italy: subjectivities between gender norms, agency and social transformation’, co-edited together with Arianna Mainardi and Andrea Hayek for Modern Italy (CUP). Website:

Gil Hochberg is the Ransford Professor of Hebrew, Comparative Literature, and Middle East Studies at Columbia University. Her research focuses on the intersections among postcolonial theory, visual studies, race and gender and sexuality. She has published essays on a wide range of issues including: Palestinian and Israeli literatures, film and photography, gender and nationalism, and Jews and Muslim in the broader context of modernity particularly under European colonialism. Her first book, In Spite of Partition: Jews, Arabs, and the Limits of Separatist Imagination (Princeton University Press, 2007), examines the complex relationship between the signifiers “Arab” and “Jew” in contemporary Jewish and Arab literatures since 1948. Her more recent book, Visual Occupations: Vision and Visibility in a Conflict Zone (Duke University Press, 2015), is a study of the visual politics of Israeli settler colonialism. In 2010, she edited a special volume of GLQ (Gay and Lesbian Quarterly) about queer politics and the question of Palestine. She is currently writing a book, entitled Becoming Palestine about archives, art, and historical potentiality.

Hamzi Khateb PhD in Political Science from Sciences Po-Paris (Cevipof) Paris, and in Sociology from Ehess-Paris. He is a research at Ceias – Ehess, and a lecturer-researcher at Sciences Po-Paris and at Polytechnique University Hauts-de-France. Based on a creative and original multidisciplinary approach, combining Islamic studies, with sociology of religion, moral sociology and political and moral philosophy, Dr. Khateb studies the link between ethics, moral, theology, philosophy and politics in a secular state. His dissertation completed in 2017, deals with the issue of moral responsibility between Islamic norms, laicity and secularism. Using a 2-year long longitudinal study conducted with Muslim converts, he analyzes their religious socialization through the concept of moral responsibility. The objective is to understand how the idea of responsibility unfolds as a social object, torn between Muslim laws/norms/values on the one hand and French Republic laws/norms/values on the other. More specifically, he investigates how these norms take shape through converts’ actions and religious practices.

Josias Tembo is PhD researcher at Radboud University and a research associate at the University of Pretoria. His research project focuses on the intersection of race and religion in the conception of political communities across the Atlantic (Europe, Africa and America). His areas of interests extend to African philosophy, postcolonial theory, critical race theory, political philosophy and ethics. Website:

Juliette Galonnier is a Postdoctoral researcher within the “Global Race” research project at INED (Paris, France). She is also currently co-coordinating a project on “Muslims of African descent in France“. Her work focuses on the social construction of racial and religious categories. She received in 2017 a joint PhD degree from Northwestern University and Sciences Po Paris. Entitled Choosing Faith and Facing Race: Converting to Islam in France and the United States, her dissertation was awarded in 2018 the Best Dissertation Award of the American Sociological Association. She has published several book chapters and articles in journals such as Social Compass, Sociology of Religion and Tracés. She is a member of the editorial boards of Tracés and Books and Ideas. She is also part of the research team “Agenda for a critical sociology of religion” and the network “Islam, researchers and the public sphere.”

Margaretha A. (Margreet) van Es is a religious studies scholar and social historian, whose specialisation lies at the intersection of religious and cultural diversity, gender, citizenship and media. She completed her PhD in History at the University of Oslo, Norway, in 2015. A book based on her PhD research project, titled ‘Stereotypes and Self-Representations of Women with a Muslim Background: The Stigma of Being Oppressed’ was published with Palgrave Macmillan in 2016. Having been awarded a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship, she continued as a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Utrecht University, where she analysed statements made by Dutch and Norwegian Muslims against violent extremism. She currently works as a postdoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies, Radboud University Nijmegen.

Maria Vliek is a PhD student at the Faculty of Philosophy, Theology and Religious Studies at the department of Islam Studies at the Radboud University Nijmegen. Her research interests include anthropology of Islam and religious identities. More specifically, she examines narratives and testimonials of former Muslims in contemporary Europe. Email:

Marianne Moyaert is Chair of Comparative Theology and Hermeneutics of Interreligious Dialogue at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. For the past few years, her research has focused on the ritual dimension of interreligious encounters and especially the possibilities and limits of (Christian-Jewish) ritual border crossing. She has explored why some practices of inter-rituality are well received while others are perceived as inappropriate and problematic. She has found that collective memories of historical conflicts between Christians and Jews still impact their inter-ritual relations. She is currently working on a research application on mixed Christian-Jewish and Christian Muslim couples aimed at exploring if, to what extent, and when these couples are affected by Christian normality and privilege, antisemitism/Islamophobia; and modern prejudices about ‘good and bad’ religion and what creative strategies they develop when dealing with diverging practices.

Mariska Jung is a doctoral researcher at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels in Belgium. She is affiliated to the VUB’s strategic research program EDGE (Evaluating Democratic Governance in Europe) as well as to RHEA (Centre for Research on Gender, Diversity and Intersectionality). Her current work focuses on the (dis)entanglements of race, religion, secularism and nationalism with regards to animal-human relations. In particular she is interested in political debates on the practice of ritual slaughter according to Islamic and Jewish rites in Europe. Previously she worked on the geopolitics of gender and sexuality, and published a peer-reviewed article in the Birkbeck Law Review on the biopolitical production of the ‘saveable’ and ‘deserving’ queer refugee placed in juxtaposition to other (queer or not) ‘undeserving’ migrants, within the context of the United Kingdom’s asylum system. Mariska Jung graduated from the University of Amsterdam as well as from SOAS University of London, and holds a BA in Philosophy (cum laude), a BSc in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences (cum laude) and a MSc in Migration Mobility and Development Studies (cum laude). Her general areas of interest are: queer politics, feminist research, animalities, decolonial and postcolonial theory, critical discourse analysis, secularism and nationalism, and critical race studies.

Matthea Westerduin is a Phd candidate in an NWO funded project and analyzes the ways in which the categories of race, religion, and the secular are entangled with Christian theology in Western Europe. She worked with artist/activist Ioana Tudor on art-projects about racism, whiteness, and exclusion. Bringing together scholars and activists, Matthea co-designed the post graduate course ‘Masking the race-religion constellation in Europe and the US’. In these projects she hopes to co-create conditions to engage in more equal (scholarly) conversations about religion, race, and politics, in which alternative futures can be imagined and practiced. She has a background in intellectual history, cultural studies, and theology. Website:

Merve Kayikci is a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Granada’s department of Semitic Studies. She is currently part of the European research project “Religious Toleration and Peace” (RETOPEA). She obtained her PhD from the KU Leuven, Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology for her ethnography-based research on Belgian Muslim women of Turkish descent and their volunteering practices. Her broader research interests include transnational social movements and their local formations, the spiritual economy, ethical selfhood, ethnicity and migration, gender and subjectivity. She is the co-editor of European Muslims and New Media (2017, Leuven University Press, with L. D’heanens) and has published in the Journal of Contemporary Islam. She has also contributed the chapter Communicating Morality – The Small Politics of Dialogue to the book series Muslims in the UK and Europe (2018, Cambridge University Press Website:

Nella van den Brandt finished her doctoral thesis at the University of Gent, Belgium in 2014. She works as a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Utrecht University, the Netherlands. She published in (inter)national journals such as Tijdschrift voor Genderstudies, Culture and Religion, Social Compass, and Social Movement Studies. Her current research focuses on religion/secularity, gender, media and culture, and conversion. She is managing editor of the journal Religion and Gender.

Nisrine Chaer is a researcher whose interests lie at the intersection of queer & postcolonial studies, migration, Arab cultural studies, and anthropology. She graduated from the Gender & Ethnicity Master’s at Utrecht University where she wrote her thesis on the queer community in Lebanon based on methodologies at the crossroads of cultural studies and ethnography. She currently works at Radboud University on an anthropological research on trauma, identity and meaning-making among Syrian refugee youths in the Netherlands. She has published peer-reviewed articles in Women’s Studies International Forum, Kohl Journal for Body and Gender Research, and Global Dialogue, and three forthcoming chapters in edited volumes: Young Arab Women: Beyond Boundaries and Borders (McFarland Press), Women Rising: Resistance, Revolution, and Reform in the Arab Spring and Beyond (NYU Press), and Global Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer History (Charles Scribner’s Sons).

Pooyan Tamimi Arab is assistant professor of religious studies at Utrecht University. He is the author of Amplifying Islam in the European Soundscape (Bloomsbury 2017), on religious pluralism and secularism in the Netherlands. Currently, he is working on the veni-project Pictures That Divide: Islam, Visual Culture, and Diversity in The Netherlands, and is co-editing the Routledge Handbook of Material Religion. He is interested broadly in religious tolerance, material culture, and the politics of the senses.

Sanne Groothuis is a PhD candidate and junior lecturer at the PPE (philosophy, politics, and economics) programme at the VU Amsterdam. She researches the construction of race, religion, and toleration in Western European counter-radicalisation policies.
Email: Website:

Sophie Lauwers is a PhD researcher at the University of Aberdeen. Her project investigates to which extent political secularism in Europe is still influenced by its Christian past, and whether a potential Christian bias has (problematic) consequences for certain groups in European society. Her other research interests include political communities, racism and Islamophobia. Website: