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Naema Tahir, Pé Vermeersch, Chia Longman
Naema Tahir, Pé Vermeersch, Chia Longman / Ingeborg Lukkien, Pé Vermeersch, Chia Longman

Body and identity

Debate in Dutch with Naema Tahir, Pé Vermeersch and Chia Longman

To signal a believer’s affiliation, religion imprints itself upon the body through rituals such as baptism, scarification, circumcision or fasting. Some religions make the body the receptacle of God. If religion makes such claims on the body, what becomes then of freedom? Do people still own their bodies? Do their bodies say what they truly are?


Naema Tahir is one of Holland’s most well-known and acclaimed authors. She was born in the United Kingdom to Pakistani immigrants and grew up in the United Kingdom, Pakistan and the Netherlands. Before focusing on her authorship in 2006, she practiced law, specializing in human rights. She served for several Dutch Ministries, for the UNHCR and the Council of Europe, in Strasbourg, France. Tahir has covered such fields as refugee law, protection of migrants, child and women’s rights.


Pé Vermeersch is a Belgian choreographer, philosopher and visual artist. Her work is completely built up around body and movement. Her choreography "Blondes Have No Soul" features her dancing in complete silence, with her naked body as the sole instrument. Vermeersch is also active as a writer, painter and photographer. She combines all of these different art forms in her installation "Dance for a free spirit", a combination of visual art and movement.


As an anthropologist and expert in gender studies, Chia Longman currently operates as head of the Gender & Diversity degree at the University of Ghent. Her research concerns feminism and multiculturality, female spirituality and well-being, gender and diversity. In her publications, she describes her encounters with female believers, often coming from very strict religious communities.

Flagey, Le Soir, RTBF, ULB, VUB