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Bregje van Eekelen


Biographical Note

Bregje F. van Eekelen (Ph.D. University of California, Santa Cruz 2010)


Bregje van Eekelen is assistant professor “Historical Culture and Cultural Difference” at the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication at Erasmus University.

She has recently been awarded an EUR fellowship (2013-2015) and a National Science Foundation (NOW) Veni grant (2014-2018) for her project on the twentieth century history of creative thought in military-industrial contexts.

After her studies in Cultural Anthropology and Social and Institutional Economics at Utrecht University, she pursued a graduate degree at University of California, Santa Cruz under the supervision of Professor S. Harding (Anthropology). Her training included coursework in Anthropology, History of Consciousness, and Philosophy. Her dissertation is titled The Social Life of Ideas: Economies of Knowledge.

Both her dissertation and her current project (Brainstorms: A Cultural History of Undisciplined Thought) use a combination of historical and anthropological approaches to the study of traveling concepts, most notably concepts that are situated on the boundary between culture and economy. They include concepts such as ‘marketplace of ideas,’ ‘intangible assets,’ ‘knowledge economy,’ and ‘creativity.’ She studies the socio-historical conditions of the emergence of these concepts; the knowledge practices, bureaucratic categories, and narratives through which they are stabilized and kept in place; and how they structure common sense, both in the past and in the present.

Her research has been funded by numerous grants, most recently the EUR fellowship (135.000 euros) and a Veni grant (250.000 euros). Amongst them, a UC Chancellor’s Fellow Grant, UvA Employability Grant, Catharina van Tussenbroek Fellowship, Henriette Sara De Lanoy Meijer Fellowship, a Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds Fellowship, a Nationale Talentenbeurs, a Fulbright NAF scholarship, a Vrouwe van Renswoude Fellowship, and grants from The University of California Regents.

Bregje van Eekelen is affiliated with the sections Metahistory and World History. Her research and teaching expertise include the anthropology of knowledge; modern societies and their genealogies; history of social science; language & war; work, governance, ideology; economic history and anthropology. At Erasmus, she teaches BA/MA courses in the philosophy of history (Theory of History, Historical Culture), Histories of Emerging Economies and honors classes on neoliberalism. She also teaches in the MA Research Workshop “History, Memory, and National Identity.” Van Eekelen previously taught theory and history of anthropology, ethnographies of capitalism, and histories and cultural aspects of trade, travel, and tourism (University of California, Santa Cruz).

She is a research associate at the Center for Historical Culture. She was previously a Chancellor’s Fellow of the University of California, and she worked as an academic editor (Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis).