This world-class programme has continued, over the past six years, to produce the kind of dynamic firstclass research for which it had already become well-known both nationally and internationally.

Current projects

Young connected migrants. Comparing digital practices of young asylum seekers and expatriates in the Netherlands

This study considers how expat and refugee youth in the Netherlands digitally encapsulate themselves in bubbles with co-ethnics and develop a cosmopolitan stance towards others. In Information and Communication Technology for Development discourses, the Internet is celebrated to empower asylum seekers. Ironically, digital data are also used to restrict the mobility of ‘irregular migrants’ as anti-immigration sentiments grow across Europe. In sharp contrast, expatriate youth are elite nomads, for whom the borders of Fortress Europe pose no obstacles.

The focus is on four interrelated processes: 1) identity, 2) learning, 3) affectivity, and 4) communication rights. Comparative fieldwork will be conducted among major migrant groups in the Netherlands. To capture how power relations impact upon their lives, young asylum seekers are compared with expat youth (12-18 years).

This innovative study will have a three-fold impact. Academic debates in media, gender and postcolonial studies about migration and ICTs will be diversified. Results about learning and rights will be shared with relevant practitioners and policy-makers. The photo exhibition will provide the general audience a more inclusive view of Dutch  society and everyday European multiculturalism.

  • Project leader: Dr Koen Leurs
  • Duration: 2016-2018
  • Financed by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) with a Veni grant awarded to Koen Leurs
GRACE: Gender and Cultures of Equality in Europe

Why does gender inequality persist in the 21st century? What are European ‘cultures’ of gender and equality? What needs to change in European cultures to achieve greater equality? In the GRACE multinational research and training consortium, 15 excellent early-career researchers will be employed in the UK, Poland, Hungary, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands to dig under the surface of European culture through research projects which will examine how and why the idea of gender equality is constructed, challenged, adopted and rejected in the following five vitally important and influential cultural sites: Media Culture, Urban Culture, Intellectual and Activist Cultures, Literary and Artistic Culture, Employment Culture.

  • Project leader: Prof. Rosemarie Buikema
  • Duration: 2015-2019
  • Partners:
    • University of Hull (UK; project coordinator)
    • University of Bologna (Italy)
    • Central European University (Hungary)
    • University of Granada (Spain)
    • University of Lodz (Poland)
    • University of Oviedo (Spain)
    • Utrecht University (The Netherlands)
    • Associazione Orlando (Italy)
  • Funding: The GRACE consortium has been awarded a European Commission grant of €3.7 million under the Horizon 2020 ‘Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Networks’ programme
Digital Crossings in Europe: Gender, Diaspora and Belonging (CONNECTINGEUROPE)

Every year numerous migrants enter Europe legally and illegally, constructing and sustaining transnational networks through online technologies. These ‘connected migrants' reconfigure notions of  identity, gender and belonging and contribute to a new understanding of Europe as a multidirectional networked society. These issues are at the heart of Prof. Sandra Ponzanesi’s project 'Digital Crossings in Europe: Gender, Diaspora and Belonging' (CONNECTINGEUROPE).

The project focuses on migrant women (aged 18-40) who have settled in Europe’s main cities (London, Amsterdam, Rome), in dialogue with family and loved ones they have left behind (Somalia, Rumania, Turkey). Ponzanesi investigates their digital presence on social networking sites, websites, blogs, Twitter, video-chat and smartphones.

  • Project leader: Prof. Sandra Ponzanesi
  • Duration: 2015-2020
  • Financed by an ERC Consolidator Grant of 2 million euros, awarded to Sandra Ponzanesi
EU LLP EDGES, Joint European PhD in Gender and Women’s Studies

EDGES aims to develop a model for a European PhD in Women’s and Gender Studies. EDGES will trigger an interdisciplinary and intercultural approach to highlight crucial issues such as women’s migration, violence on and exploitation of women’s body, traumatic experiences in recent conflict areas, cultural and counter-memories, equal opportunities in education, careers and job market, discrimination in sexual orientation, civil rights and religious prejudices. EDGES will favour a vital change in the preparation of the next generation of academic, business, public and third sector European leaders.

  • Project leader: Prof. Rosemarie Buikema
  • Duration: 2013 - 2015
  • Partners: University of Bologna (coordinator), University of Granada, University of Oviedo, Central European University, University of Hull, University of Lódź and Associazione Orlando.
  • Financed by the European Commission, Lifelong Learning Programme
COST Action New Materialism: Networking European Scholarship on ‘How Matter Comes to Matter’

The interdisciplinary study on new materialism raises the question how matter – in the broadest sense of the word – actively participates in processes of signification. This Action aims at networking European new materialisms: how do they look, and what can they innovate? It will shape and discuss how European scholars take up the label of new materialism and work under its umbrella.

  • Project leader: Dr Iris van der Tuin
  • Duration: 2014 - 2017
  • Financed by the European Cooperation in Science and Technology
Postcolonial Europe Network (PEN)

The project aims at establishing an international platform for developing research into new forms of conceptualising Europe from a multidisciplinary perspective engaging several disciplines (literary, media, gender studies) in the Humanities and the Social Sciences (sociology, political theory). PEN will initiate, develop and coordinate funding proposals for national and European granting agencies such as Hera or KP7 in 2014. PEN aims to develop theoretical and methodological tools for representing and imagining Europe in a postcolonial and postimperial perspective.

  • Project leader: Prof. Sandra Ponzanesi
  • Duration: 2011 - 2014
  • Partners: University of Leeds, University of Munich, London School of Economics, University of Naples L’Orientale, University of Roskilde, University of Iceland, University of Warwick.
  • Financed by The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), Internationalisation in the Humanities
Erasmus Mundus Master’s Degree in Women’s and Gender Studies in Europe (GEMMA)

GEMMA is the first Erasmus Mundus Master’s Degree in Women’s and Gender Studies in Europe. In July 2011, GEMMA was once again selected for funding under the prestigious Erasmus Mundus brand. Currently the GEMMA Consortium represents the harmonisation of seven different institutions from six European countries. Since 2012 the GEMMA Consortium includes Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey (USA) as Full Partner. Seven other North, Central and South American universities have associated themselves with GEMMA.

In the field of Women’s Studies and Gender Studies in a European and global perspective GEMMA can be seen as one of the most well-known and successful Erasmus Mundus Master Courses and can be considered as a pilot project and model.


Unveiling the construction of sexuality for women who have sex with women in South African Townships

The research on the construction of women’s sexuality South African Townships will be conducted by Phoebe Kisubi Mbasalaki.

  • Project leaders: Prof. Rosemarie Buikema and em. Prof. Gloria Wekker
  • Duration: 2013 - 2016
  • Financed by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), Research Talent
The Material Turn in the Humanities

The project aims at understanding the conceptual shifts in the epistemology of the humanities provoked by the so-called material turn via the genealogical method.

  • Project leader: Dr Iris van der Tuin
  • Duration: 2011 - 2014
  • Financed by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), VENI
Images at War: Photography, Gender and Humanitarian Aid

The goal of this project is to produce a set of representative case studies analysing gender as a key component in armed conflict press coverage.

  • Project leader: Dr Marta Zarzycka
  • Duration: 2011 - 2014
  • Financed by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), VENI
NOI♀SE Summer School

This annual Summer School focuses on European Women’s Studies from multicultural and interdisciplinary perspectives. NOI♀SE stands for the Network Of Interdisciplinary W♀men’s Studies in Europe and started with a pilot at Utrecht University in 1991. Since 1994, NOI♀SE has been a successful yearly event giving students and teachers the opportunity to exchange their knowledge in the field of gender studies in an international context.

  • Project leader: Prof. Rosemarie Buikema
  • Since 1991
  • Previously financed by the EU Lifelong Learning Programme; Erasmus Intensive Programme
InterGender Network

InterGender offers a large scale research training programme meeting the needs of PhD students in different phases of their training. The main modules are offered every year on a rotating basis, thus coordinating the respective specialities of the different partner institutions, as well as the different needs of first-, mid- and last-phase PhD students.

Terra Critica Network

Terra Critica INCH is an international research network in the humanities, bringing together scholars specialising in critical and cultural theory. Its aim is to reexamine critical theory and critique under the conditions of the 21st century – given our immanent, terran existences, globally entangled across flows of capital, people, and ideas and living in ecological and economical multidependences.

Terra Critica wishes to strengthen the Critical Humanities as a crucial site for critical analyses of our present, meeting regularly for expert seminars, aiming to provide a platform for discussion and publication, exchange of ideas and knowledges.

The Postcolonial Studies Initiative

The Postcolonial Studies Initiative (PCI) is intended as a platform for research into postcolonial issues, specifically focused on their application within Europe. The PCI organises activities such as lectures, film series, masterclasses and seminars, striving for greater interaction with society at large. As such it brings together a number of researchers from diverse areas and disciplines, both from Utrecht University and from other universities in the Netherlands and worldwide.

Doing Gender Lectures Series

The Doing Gender Lecture Series is organised by the Graduate Gender Programme and the Netherlands Research School of Gender Studies. It supports a hands-on approach to gender issues in the sense of social and political engagement with the new forms of gender inequalities that are taking shape in the world today. The lecture series wants to give space to the new generations of gender theorists and practitioners and to perspectives that innovate the field and do gender. Previous speakers include Judith Butler (University of California, Berkeley), Claire Hemmings (London School of Economics), Elizabeth Grosz (Rutgers University), Vicki Kirby (University of New South Wales, Australia), Joanna Bourke (Birkbeck College, London), Inderpal Grewal (Yale University), Femke Halsema (Stichting Vluchteling) and Joan Scott (Princeton University).

  • Project leader: Prof. Rosemarie Buikema
  • Since 2005
  • Partner universities: University of Amsterdam, Radboud University Nijmegen, Maastricht University
  • Financed by Utrecht University