Tilburg Young Academy

Marjolein de Boer

an assistant professor at the Department of Culture studies at the Tilburg School of Humanities and Digital Sciences.

Can you introduce yourself?

I’m Marjolein de Boer and I’m an assistant professor at the Department of Culture studies (Tilburg School of Humanities and Digital Sciences). In my research, I focus on subjective experiences and cultural representations of gendered illnesses and medicalization situations – for example, of breast cancer, infertility, ovarian cancer, and menopause. Herein, I combine theoretical philosophical- and ethical insights with qualitative social scientific research methods.

In my current NWO-Veni project ‘Bodies in Transition’, for example, I investigate how women in menopause experience and make sense of themselves and their bodies by doing in-depth interview studies and analyzing Tweets and vlogs. Besides from my research activities, I am the thesis coordinator in the Master Health Humanities and the co-supervisor of several PhD students. In the master ‘Health Humanities’, I currently teach the course ‘Diversity and equity in health and medicine’.  

Research and education are two important pillars of academia. What do they mean to you?

For me, both research and teaching are very important. In my research, I am committed to themes like health, illness and gender. My drive in doing research is not only academic curiosity, but also to contribute to improving care for women. My education, moreover, is very much research-driven. This means that in my courses, I draw on my research quite heavenly, both on finished and work-in-progress projects. I particularly enjoy the interaction and discussion with students in class about, for example, underlying norms in medical practices and experiences of medical interventions. 

I am sure you all have topics that are important to you. What is your main focus in the TYA?

In line with my research and teaching focus, I am very committed to the theme of ‘gender equity at the university’. The university can and should be a more female-friendly place. Now, too many women leave university because of implicit bias and discrimination, and those who continue to pursue an academic career have to persistently navigate and deal with these issues. My goal is to help instigate that gender equity is one of the central driving forces for all leadership decisions at the university.

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