Astrid de Hontheim has been honored to serve as the Vice Chancellor of Rwenzori Destiny University. PhD in Anthropology, MA and BA in Social Sciences, she currently teaches anthropology at UMons (Belgium) as an Associate Professor and has taught in several other institutions such as University of Ottawa (Canada), Erasmus Public Health School (midwives section), and Université Libre de Bruxelles. She is also a long-lasting yoga trainee and a nature guide. Enthusiastic and hard-worker, concerned with people’s well-being, environment conservation and animal protection, she does her best to open personal and existential ways to her students and lives with the hope to give out sparkles of joy to people’s lives.
- Anthropology of Religions: the purpose of the course is to familiarize the students with the universality of spiritual and religious motivations as well as with the diversity of their expression. Examples of topics studied are rites of passage, male initiation in New Guinea, sorcery and witchcraft in Europe, Western missionaries in rural societies, and cargo cults in the Pacific.
- Cultural Anthropology: the course tries to understand and to ease social relationships by demonstrating the balance between the unity of mankind and the diversity of societies. It helps to identify value judgments and common preconceptions and provides tools to analyze and grasp mechanisms and stakes of human behaviors in society.
- Techniques, Cultures and Environments: focused on both historical and contemporary examples, the course pays attention to techniques involved in basic human activities: building a house, feeding oneself, moving, facing natural disasters, extract natural resources and creating artifacts. The approach is multidisciplinary, the anthropological sources being completed by sources in architecture, sociology, ecology and history. Theoretical reflections over material culture, the transmission of techniques and cultural stakes of technical choices, sometimes to the detriment of profitability, are other topics studied in this course.
- Qualitative Methods in Anthropology: fieldwork is a fundamental component of socio-cultural anthropology. Human sciences use an empirical approach in a comparative process by using a variety of tools (oral interviews, recordings, observations, written and visual archives, predecessors’ notes, etc) while keeping a critical distance. This course puts forward basic tools of the anthropological fieldwork (research question, formulation of research problem, choice of the field, organization of the interviews, recording gear, translation and transcript, reflexivity, position of the researcher, etc) and how to transform the data into scientific content (selecting sources, data processing, writing, communicating the results, refocusing the research problem, additional fieldwork trips, bibliography).