I started my career as a political historian, studying nineteenth-century Belgian elections and parties (with an emphasis on the Catholic party). My PhD (defended at the University of Leuven in 2000) was published by Leuven University Press in 2009 (Rechts Vlaanderen. Religie en stemgedrag in negentiende-eeuws België). Since then, my research focus has shifted towards the history of gender and sexuality, and – more recently – to the history of cultural encounters between European and Ottoman/Turkish citizens in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Taken together, I am particularly interested in challenging the still dominant paradigm of ‘modernization’ in much of today’s historiography.
My main affiliation is with the research unit Power in History: Centre for Political History, of which I am currently the academic director. I am, however, involved in several interdisciplinary projects on gender and sexuality, collaborating regularly with colleagues from other disciplines, such as Alexander Dhoest, Bart Eeckhout, Petra Meier and others of the Antwerp Gender and Sexuality Studies Network (A*). I am also affiliated to the Antwerp Research Institute for the Arts (ARIA), of which I was the first chairman (2014-2017).
I have been Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Sussex (2002-2003), Honorary Lecturer at the History Department of University College London (2015-2017) and Visiting Research Fellow of the Birkbeck Institute for Social Research, University of London (2017-2018).
I am also co-chair of the Belgian Archive and Research Centre for Women’s History (Brussels) and founding member of the Forum for Belgian Research in History of Women, Gender and Sexuality.