Category Archives: Events

[Event] BelMix Seminar Series-2023(II): 3

“Tourism, Entrepreneurship, Gender, and Intimacy: Case Studies from Zanzibar and Cuba”

A Female “White Peril”? Tourism and the Reshaping of Masculinity in Zanzibar

by Altaïr Despres (CNRS research fellow, Institut des mondes africains – IMAF; French National Centre for Scientific Research – CNRS)

Investing in Love in Cuba. Cuban-Italian Couples in Havana: Tourism, Entrepreneurship and the Negotiation of Masculinities

by Tommaso Pirone (PhD researcher, Laboratoire interdisciplinaire de sociologie économique – LISE; Conservatoire national des arts et métiers – CNAM)

Date: Monday 4 December 2023, 11am – 1pm (Brussels Time).

Venue: Room AW1.125 (Building A, entry W)

(see the map at the end)

Campus Solbosch, Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB)

AND also live streamed online via Zoom.


A Female “White Peril”? Tourism and the Reshaping of Masculinity in Zanzibar

In Zanzibar, the bodily and sexual practices of white women (either tourists or expatriates) have recently been described as predatory and responsible for perverting local morals. More specifically, white women have been held responsible for the emasculation and feminization of Zanzibar’s male youth, locally known as beach boys, who engage in compensated intimate relations with them. In this presentation, I look at the anxiety expressed about what might be called a female “white peril” to analyze the transformations of masculinity in Zanzibar. I argue that sexual relations between white women and Zanzibari men show the capacity of young Zanzibaris to recompose the balance between the two traditional axes in the construction of masculinity, namely economic power and sexual performance. While the economic power of Zanzibari men has suffered from capitalist globalization, sexual potency and expertise, as well as competition between men for access to women’s bodies have become key aspects of affirming masculinity.


Investing in Love in Cuba. Cuban-Italian Couples in Havana: Tourism, Entrepreneurship and the Negotiation of Masculinities

In Havana, casas particulares, guesthouses run by Italian-Cuban couples, illustrate the importance of intimate ties in economic investment. Cuba’s socialist system, recently opened to tourism and private enterprise, restricts access to international players. Italian entrepreneurs marry Cuban partners in order to settle in Havana and open a casa particular. This traditional Cuban bed and breakfast, in which the domestic space of binational couples coexists with the working space of tourists, is a privileged place for analyzing the sexual division of labour.  In the daily management of the business, I observed that Italian owners tend to conform to the “breadwinner” model of masculinity, reproducing intersectional race, gender and class dominations. On the other hand, to succeed in business, they must negotiate with Cuban partners who can rely on cultural and social capital to reshape the unequal balance. Focusing on these intimate negotiations in a Southern, post-colonial and post-socialist context can deepen our understanding of masculinities and transnational conjugal relations.


Altaïr Despres is a junior researcher in anthropology at the CNRS and a member of the African worlds Institute (IMAF). Her current research looks at the role of globalization in the transformation of local norms of gender, love, and sexual and marital practices in East Africa. She is also investigating the processes of socialization involved in transnational intimacies. She is the author of Zanzibar (Julliard, 2023), a novel inspired by fieldwork she conducted in the Tanzanian archipelago between 2015 and 2020. 

Tommaso Pirone is a PHD student at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers in Paris. His research project focuses on transnational entrepreneurship, looking at Cuban-Italian couples living in Havana. Using an ethnographic approach, he explores the links between North-South migration, tourism and gender in order to analyze the socio-economic impact of globalization in Cuba.

New venue (exceptionally):

[Event] Roundtable Discussion: Domestic violence in ‘mixed’ couples involving Asians

The aim of the event is not only to foster dialogues between researchers and social/state actors but also to find a common ground on which to prepare a toolkit to provide assistance (legal, psychological, practical…) to Asian migrants who find themselves in a situation of domestic violence in Belgium.

Date: Friday 8 December 2023, from 2 pm to 5 pm (Brussels Time).

Venue: Room Kant (Institute of European Studies-IEE)
Campus Solbosch, Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB)
39 Av. Franklin Roosevelt
1050, Brussels

Contact :

*Limited seats available

Organizing committee (in alphabetical order):

Cai Chen, Asuncion Fresnoza-Flot, Fleurine Hermand, Mari Kawase, Mimy Keomanichanh, Lucas Monteil, Aaron Raphael Ponce, and Laure Sizaire


[Event] BelMix Seminar Series-2023(II): 2

“Exploring Intimate Relations: A Transnational Perspective on French-men and Romanian-women Couples, and a Mixedness Lens on Intercultural Partnerships in Estonia”

French men in French-Romanian couples: an intersectional perspective on transnational conjugalities

by Eva Renaudeau (PhD researcher, Cermes3, EHESS, France)

Impact of identity complexity on parental integration and children’s ethnic identity representations: a qualitative study on binational (Estonian-foreign) parents in Estonia

by Gabriel Alberto Ceballos Rodríguez (PhD researcher, Institute of Social Studies, University of Tartu, Estonia)

Date: Monday 6 November 2023, 11am – 1pm (Brussels Time).

Venue: Room S.15.215 (Building S, 15th floor)

Campus Solbosch, Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB)

Avenue Jeanne 44, Bruxelles 1050.

AND also live streamed online via Zoom.


French men in French-Romanian couples: an intersectional perspective on transnational conjugalities

French migrants in Romania can be categorized as lifestyle migrants or privileged migrants. For most of them, geographical mobility is synonymous with social mobility and access to a better way of life. While social class, nationality, or race have been commonly used to analyze this type of migration, gender analysis has yet to be developed. The presence of couples in Romania that consist of a French man and a Romanian woman is prevalent among French-Romanian couples. The unequal distribution of couples reveals the gender-based differences in migration trajectories and experiences between French men and women. This presentation aims to question what defines these experiences and what they reveal about privilege in migration through the narratives and discourses of these migrants. In particular, I propose to examine how social mobility resulting from migration induces the experience of gender mobility for French men. At first, we will take a look at the accounts of these men regarding French-Romanian couples and their own experiences. Then, we will examine how this context shapes the experience of hegemonic masculinity and how it connects to other social relationships. This work is based on a nine-month ethnographic study of the French community in Romania.

Impact of identity complexity on parental integration and children’s ethnic identity representations: a qualitative study on binational (Estonian-foreign) parents in Estonia

Studies indicate that individuals experience and report their belonging to different social identities (including ethnic identity) with different levels of complexity (Brewer & Pierce, 2005; Knifsend & Juvonen, 2014; Miller et al., 2009; Roccas & Brewer, 2002). As a result of this, individuals with low levels of identity complexity recognise high overlaps between the different social groups to which they (or other people) ascribe. They also tend to have less tolerance to ambiguity and struggle to accept that ingroup members might not always share the same overlapping characteristics, e.g. I’m (only) X and not Y, all Ys are Zs. Conversely, people with higher levels of identity complexity express more elaborated representations about how they (and other people) associate with the different groups to which they ascribe, e.g., I am X and Y, and sometimes I can also be Z. 

This article presents a qualitative study conducted among parents of binational (Estonian-foreign) children in Estonia. Individual semi-structured interviews were conducted among forty parents from this group to identify associations between their high / low identity complexity and: i) their feelings of their own and their families’ structural, cultural, and social integration (Berry, 2007) and, ii) the way in which they represent their children’s ethnic identity(ies), e.g., predominantly Estonian, fifty-fifty, global citizen, etc. Results indicate that structural, cultural, and social integration outcomes align differently, depending on parent’s identity complexity levels. In addition, parents’ identity complexity correlates with parents’ passive or active attitudes towards transmitting components of their own ethnic identity to their children and the development of cultural frame switching skills, which is reflected in how they represent their children’s ethnic identity(ies). Finally, although the term global citizen was used by some parents to describe their own and their children’s identity, results indicate that they give this term different meanings depending on their high or low identity complexity. 

To our knowledge, this is one of the first studies that analyses connections between identity complexity, integration outcomes and ethnic identity representations among parents of binational children and contributes to the better understanding of binational families.


Eva Renaudeau received her master’s degree from the EHESS in Paris, where her previous research focused on access to health care for Romanian Roma living in Parisian slums, from an intersectional perspective. She then underwent a paradigm shift, starting her PhD program jointly at Cermes3 and EHESS. Her doctoral research is dedicated to unraveling the intricacies of health experiences and practices among French migrants in Romania. At the same time, Eva is actively involved in multiple research activities, such as the coordination of the “privileged migrations” axis at the French Collaborative Institute on Migration (IC Migration), where she is a fellow.

Gabriel Ceballos was born in Mexico City and is a researcher on ethnic identity and integration among binational families in Estonia at the Institute of Social Studies at Tartu University, Estonia. His inspiration is his own family along with the appetite to learn from the experiences of others on how to raise mixed-background children in a context where diversity is a relatively new trait. In addition to his research work, Gabriel is an international higher education consultant for a portfolio of universities in different parts of the world and has businesses in different sectors. He has a wealth of international experience and has worked in the past for organisations such as the British Council, the Foreign and Commonweath Office, the Spanish Ministry of Culture and Mexico City’s Ministry of Economy.