Robin Vandevoordt is a post-doctoral research fellow and guest lecturer at the University of Antwerp. As a cultural and political sociologist, his main research interests are in forced migration, moral responsibilities and, more specifically, Syrian refugees, solidarity movements and right-wing protest. Currently he is the main researcher in a project supervised by prof. Gert Verschraegen, where they examine the rise of refugee controversies and the long-term development of the Belgian civil solidarity and protest movements that have emerged in response to the 2015 influx of refugees. He also co-supervises a research project on housing and the social networks of newly arrived refugees. In 2017-2018 he serves as a guest professor in Theory Construction and Cultural Sociology (together with prof. Walter Weyns), where he holds seminars exploring the fruitful common grounds of sociology and literature.
In October 2016 Robin defended his PhD “Moral cosmopolitanism and its others. On refugees, responsibilities and immunisation”. This individual, FWO-funded research project examined how different groups of Syrian refugees and Belgian citizens encounter one another, and under which conditions such encounters gave rise to relations of responsibility. A crucial part of the analysis focused on Syrian refugees’ experiences of their lives in Belgium – for which he is currently conducting follow-up research. Other parts of the PhD examined oppositional tendencies in Belgian and European policies of asylum and migration, and moral dilemmas in social work and media practices (foreign news journalism, representation and audiences). Based on these chapters, he has published articles in leading international journals such as Sociology, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies , Journal of Refugee Studies, Media Culture and Society and Journalism Studies. He is currently rewriting his PhD into an essay in Dutch, intended for a broader audience.
Before embarking on his PhD, Robin also received an MA in Literature from the University of East Anglia (U.K.). He regularly writes essays on German poets, writers and thinkers, such as Walter Benjamin, W.G. Sebald, Niklas Luhmann, Hartmut Rosa and (forthcoming) Hannah Arendt.