Research Prizes

Tineke Rooijakkers
PhD dissertation:
Dress Norms and Markers: A Comparative Study of Coptic Identity and Dress in the Past and Present.

Supervisor: Prof. dr. B. ter Haar Romeny
​Co-supervisor: Dr. M. Immerzeel, Dr. G. Vogelsang-Eastwood
Nomination: Vrije Universiteit, Faculty of Humanities 

Report of the Selection Committie
This dissertation stands out in its combination of archaeological and anthropological approaches to the important element of dress as an identity marker. It offers fascinating insights into Coptic life in everyday Egypt in the late antique/medieval and contemporary period. Insights about how dress works across the public and the private spheres. The aim of understanding the role of dress in the construction of a religious group identity is being delved into by the author in a very elaborate and conscientious manner, only to emerge out of the dusty rubble with a crystal clear comparative analysis. Remarkably, the argument that emerges about ‘difference’, is it not being the primary marker of Coptic dress in relation to the Muslim community. This highly readable book, beautifully presented, goes beyond its specific topic in making us think about conceptions of minority populations in general, and gender roles through the ages in particular.

Tineke Rooijakkers specializes in the social side of dress and its role in the construction of identity, in both the past and present. She finished her Research Master in Archaeology in 2008 (cum laude). In her thesis she already pushed disciplinary boundaries by tracing the development of the tunic in Egypt from the Pharaonic period to the Byzantine era. During her studies she also worked at the Textile Research Centre in Leiden, specifically with the collection of contemporary dress from the Middle East, and assisted in the realization of several exhibitions. Her PhD project at Leiden University (Religious Studies) combined her interest in contemporary dress with her specialization in archaeological textiles. She studied textiles in several museums in Europe, the UK, and the US, and did anthropological fieldwork in Egypt, the Netherlands, and the US. She defended the resulting dissertation at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (cum laude). Her research functioned as a pilot study for the NWO-funded project Fitting in/Standing out: Comparing Majority and Minority Dress Codes among Egyptian Muslims and Christians, in which she is currently a postdoc. In September 2017 she will venture out on a new project at the University College London (Anthropology, Material Culture) with a Rubicon grant.