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In the evening of 4th February 2009, Els van Dongen died at the age of 62. Her death came after a long and painful sickness, a period of hope and desperation, of gratefulness for a rich life mixed with stubborn resistance to the unfairness of that same life.
Els was a gifted anthropologist. Students loved her teaching, original, sharp, concerned and full of entertainment. She is greatly missed.
This website will remain open as a monument for Els, to remember her person and her work and to enable others to know and build on that work.
Els van Dongen studied Cultural Anthropology at the University of Utrecht, where she graduated cum laude and also obtained her PhD degree (1994). She held positions at the University of Utrecht, NWO, Emerson College Boston (European centre) and the University of Amsterdam. Her research was in the field of (mental) health, immigrants, refugees and elderly. She worked in Europe and South Africa. Her main interests were social memory, trauma and violence (Africa) and immigrants, health and exclusion (Europe). She was chair of the European network Medical Anthropology at Home. She has edited several books and special issues of journals and published several books and numerous articles on mental health, elderly, chronic illness, violence, immigrants and memory.