IOWC PhD Student: Ivan Vander Biesen
Ivan Vander biesen is just completing his doctorate entitled "Zanzibar: an intercontinental Confrontation and Synthesis on an East African Island from the end of the Eighteenth Century till the beginning of the Twentieth Century" at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KULeuven), Belgium. His PhD, in the course of which Ivan conducted extensive fieldwork, notably in East Africa, Oman, northwest India and Ethiopia, explores the multiple facets of Swahili and Zanzibari identity in the nineteenth century, and the economic and cultural history of Zanzibar, within the wider context of Zanzibar’s relation to the African continent and the Indian Ocean World. Ivan also gives lectures at KULeuven on aspects of his research interests, notably in the history of Africa, East Africa and the Indian Ocean, and on Ethiopian art and history.
Ivan established a thorough foundation for his doctoral research through first his BA studies in History, Art History and Archaeology, and his MA in History, Anthropology and Art History—also from KULeuven. He produced three MA dissertations: on pre-twentieth-century Swahili architecture; contemporary Congolese art and social memory; and the development of Ethiopian Christian Iconography and Iconology. Ivan has a considerable linguistic arsenal. He is fluent in Dutch, English, French, Swahili and German, possesses a good working knowledge of Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Chinese, Latin, Sanskrit and Ge’ez, and is currently studying Hindi.
From 1997-2000, Ivan was Editor, then Editor-in-Chief of The Voice, the Monthly Magazine for International Students at KULeuven, and from 2001-2004 was Researcher in old prints in KULeuven portrait gallery. Since 2004, Ivan has been active in the university’s programme for international students and researchers. He is currently president of the Alumni Association of Anthropologists, and member of Board of the Alumni Lovaniensis, and Editorial Board of Ethnographica. He is also a qualified lifeguard and university swimming instructor.
Forthcoming "The Gaze in the Art: a Magical Look at Religious Painting in the Ethiopian State and Church." Aethiopica. International Journal of Ethiopian and Eritrean Studies
Forthcoming "Indian Presence in Nineteenth and early Twentieth-Century al Busa'idi Zanzibar. Polymorphic Role and Influences in an East African City"
2009 "Social and Intercultural Relations in Nineteenth-Century Zanzibar: Dressed Identity." African and Asian Studies, 8: 309-331.
2008 "Some features of the economic basis for acculturation in the 19th-century Indian Ocean: The case of Zanzibar." In TADIA. The African Diaspora in Asia. Explorations on a Less Known Fact, edited by Kiran Kamal Prasad and Jean-Pierre Angenot, 513-530. Bangalore: Tadia Society.
2006 "Interpénétrations culturelles et transition d'un systéme économique. Le diaspora de l'Afrique de l'Est et le Gujarat dans une perspective historico-anthropologique." Cahiers des Anneaux de la Mémoire 9: 121-151.
2005 "Drie Ethiopische Panelen uit de Collectie van het Jubelpark: Enkele Iconografische Facetten." Bulletin van de Koninklijke Musea voor Kunst en Geschiedenis/Bulletin des Musées Royaux d'Art et d'Histoire 74: 187-221. (French summary included)
2005 "Gramayes Antiquitates als een visuele bron." Ex Officina, 18.1: 2-3.
2003 "Een portret van Erpenius." Ex Officina 13.3: 6-7.
2001 "Bert Timmermans. Werk 1999-2001. A comedy of errors." Catalogue of the Exhibition at the Cultural Centre of Leuven, Antwerp, Belgium, 17/11-29/11.