Dr Louis van den Hengel (L.)
I am an Assistant Professor of Gender Studies in the Department of Literature and Art and the Centre for Gender and Diversity at Maastricht University. I teach various courses in Gender and Cultural studies at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and the University College Maastricht. Since 2015 I am also Vice Chair of the Board of Examiners at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Nationally, I serve on the Curriculum Committee of the Netherlands Research School of Gender Studies.
After receiving an MA in Classics (cum laude), I specialized in the interdisciplinary field of gender and diversity studies with a particular focus on contemporary feminist theory. I received my PhD in Gender Studies (cum laude) from the Institute for Gender Studies and the Faculty of Arts at Radboud University Nijmegen in 2009. In the same year my monograph Imago on Roman imperial sculpture and the embodiment of gender was published, which was awarded the Jan van Gelderprijs by the Association of Dutch Art Historians. I have held various residencies at the Royal Netherlands Institute in Rome and I was a Visiting Scholar at New York University in the spring of 2010.
My current research examines the potentiality of contemporary art performances for activating new socio-political imaginaries and for envisioning an affirmative ethics of life in the twenty-first century. Taking a feminist, queer and decolonial approach, I am interested not only in how performance negotiates new relationships between contemporary art and the cultural politics of gender, sexuality, race, class, and species difference, but also in how it may help actualize new modalities of being in, and becoming with, the world. A special focus in this research is the work of New York-based performance artist Marina Abramovic. I have observed and participated in several of Abramovic's recent works, including The Artist is Present (New York, 2010), The Abramovic Method (Milan, 2012) and the long-durational performance 512 Hours created at the Serpentine Galleries in London in 2014. In addition, I am developing research about ecosexuality, an emerging grassroots movement that combines environmental activism, performance art, feminist sex-positivity, and LGBTQ+ community building to develop new paradigms for environmental thinking. More recently, I have been working on interspecies performance as a praxis of decolonial love.
My scholarly work has been published in journals such as Criticism: A Quarterly for Literature and the Arts; International Journal of Language and Culture; Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly; and the Dutch Journal of Gender Studies. I have also contributed book chapters to edited volumes such as Materializing Memory in Art and Popular Culture (Routledge, 2017); Doing Gender in Media, Art and Culture (Routledge, 2018); Entanglements and Weavings: Diffractive Approaches to Gender and Love (Brill, 2021); and Animals in Our Midst: The Challenges of Co-existing with Animals in the Anthropocene (Springer, 2021).
Gender and Diversity Studies; Feminist Theory; Queer Theory; Performance Studies; Classical Studies.