Dr Vicky Van Bockhaven holds MA’s in Social and Cultural Anthropology (Catholic University of Leuven) and World Art History (University of East Anglia, UGent), and earned her PhD in 2014 from the Sainsbury Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, UK, a leading research center in world art studies. She is the author of the BRAIN network project CONGOCONNECT (2015-2019) acting as the main researcher and managing this project. The project builds further on her doctoral research on Leopard men in Eastern Congo, investigating how a canonical form of colonial knowledge – a “mythology” of leopard men – has diverged from a complex social reality in the colony. Her research methodology is interdisciplinary combining expertise in the domains of material culture studies, world art history, historical anthropology, and ethno-history.
Prior to embarking on a career in academia, Dr Van Bockhaven has gained multiple years of experience as a researcher and curator at the Royal Museum for Central Africa (Tervuren) and the MAS (Museum aan de Stroom, Antwerp). She curated the semi-permanent exhibition “Display of Power” at the MAS, and the exhibition “Headdresses from Central Africa” at the RMCA. This has enabled her to build up a network with different institutions and gain a hands-on experience using ethnographic collections as resources for research in a multi-faceted way.
At the Department of Languages and Cultures, Dr Van Bockhaven’s mission is to establish African Material culture studies as a new domain of expertise re-invigorating a past tradition at UGent (world art studies). She takes a leading role in re-initiating the education of a new generation of researchers doing collection- and object-based research. She is supervising researchers on the CONGOCONNECT project as well as MA and BA students who are interested in working on material culture or art history in their papers or theses. From the academic year 2014-2015 onwards she has been teaching African art history and material culture as part of the course Anthropology of Africa. In the new MA program in African Studies starting in the academic year 2017-2018 more attention will be devoted to these subjects.
- Anthropology of Africa II (African material culture studies) (co-teaching)