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Dr. A. (Rahil) Roodsaz

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
Exploring Diversity

Visiting address
  • Nieuwe Achtergracht 166
Postal address
  • Postbus 15509
    1001 NA Amsterdam
Contact details
  • Teaching
  • Profile

    Fields of interest and expertise

    • Love
    • Sexuality
    • Intimacy
    • Difference
    • Critical feminist theory
    • (Late)modernity
    • Migration
    • Iranian Dutch


    Current research

    Rhythms of Love: Enduring Romantic Relationships at Midlife

    In 2023 I was awarded an NWO-Vidi grant for the project Rhythms of Love, which aims to explore how people in midlife (age 35-60) maintain long-term romantic relationships during life transitions. It seeks to understand the complexities of enduring love in the face of societal challenges like work stress, parenting, and societal pressures. The project will develop the concept of "rhythms of love" to analyze the temporal aspects of midlife love across three domains: partnership, parenthood, and other significant relationships. It will focus on diversity factors such as gender, socioeconomic status, race, and religion to avoid treating midlife love as a one-size-fits-all concept.

    The research will be conducted in the Netherlands, Germany, and Sweden using various methods, including ethnographic research, informal conversations, love-life histories, emotion diaries, and photographic essays. The project will culminate in academic publications, a conference, newspaper features, podcasts, and blog posts for the public, and undergraduate research involvement, aiming to advance theories of contemporary changes in intimacy. A social science advisory board and a knowledge utilization committee will provide guidance throughout the project.


    Previous research projects

    The Paradox of romantic love        

    In 2018, I obtained an NWO-Veni grant for a postdoctoral project (2019-2022) entitled, The Paradox of Romantic Love: Negotiating Autonomy and Commitment in Intimate Relationships in the Netherlands. This project investigated the seemingly contradictory values of autonomy and commitment to untangle the paradox of romantic love in the Dutch context. Pursuing the ideal of romantic love is perceived as an essential component to personal wellbeing and happiness in contemporary western societies. Yet this ideal is challenged by a relatively high rate of divorce and separation, singlehood and loneliness. The paradoxical values of autonomy and commitment underlying late-modern romantic love clash in the quest for establishing and maintaining intimate relationships and achieving happiness as promoted by a widespread therapeutic discourse.

    This project asked how autonomy and commitment are negotiated by individuals within long-term monogamous relationships or non-monogamous arrangements and by singles looking for a partner in Dutch society. It focused on the themes of a) ongoing personal reflection, b) communication and c) negotiation in daily practices of d) intimacy, e) sexuality, f) parenthood and g) cohabitation. An intersectional perspective, using gender, class, race and religiosity as analytical lenses, was employed to provide a diversity-sensitive approach to the constructions of love and intimacy. These constructions were examined both at the level of everyday life and in various formal and informal therapeutic and self-help practices by employing ethnographic research methods consisting of in-depth interviewing, informal conversation, participant observation and text analysis.

    Breaking the shame: Towards improving adolescent SRHR education in Bangladesh

    In my previous position as a postdoctoral researcher at the Radboud University Nijmegen, I was the content coordinator of an international and interdisciplinary NWO-WOTRO project on experiences of ‘shame’ among different actors involved in adolescent sexuality education in Bangladesh. Combining postcolonial, queer and post-secular perspectives, I studied the epistemological underpinnings of international aid development focusing on collaborations between Dutch and Bangladeshi organisations on the promotion of Comprehensive Sexuality Education in this country.

    Sexual self-fashioning among the Iranian Dutch

    During my PhD project (2009-2014) about Iranian Dutch immigrants, I investigated the role of sexuality in processes of collective identification in this diasporic context. The concept of ‘sexual self-fashioning’ was developed to analyse the positioning of the self in relation to modernity based on ideas and ideals about sexuality and gender.

    A critique of ‘proper gayness’

    Creating space for difference was the central theme in another collaborative project on ‘proper gayness’ in which a critical account of the dominant ‘coming out’ imperative was provided by engaging with counter-narratives from civil society actors supporting sexual and ethnic diversity in the Netherlands and Flanders.

    Emotion work in Dutch households and women’s rights in the Gulf countries

    During my position as a researcher at Atria, Institute for Gender Equality and Women’s History, I led several projects to affect policy. In collaboration with Sociaal en Cultureel Planbureau (SCP), a qualitative study was conducted, using the concept of ‘emotion work’ to analyse women’s emotional investments in managing the household and underlying Dutch dominant perceptions of appropriate mother- and womanhood. Moreover, I coordinated a comprehensive and international research project on women’s rights in the Gulf countries for The European Parliament’s Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality.

    Especially unknown: Life stories of refugees in the Netherlands

    Between 2014 and 2016, I participated as a fieldworker in an oral history project on life stories of refugees in the Netherlands for the European Commission, coordinated by Stichting Bevordering Maatschappelijke Organisatie (BMP). This project resulted in data bases in various Dutch archives and cultural activities by and about refugees for a large audience.

  • Publications


    • Camellia, S., & Roodsaz, R. (2023). Juggling Masculinities: Being a Middle-Class Young Man in Dhaka. Men and Masculinities, 26(3), 415-434.
    • Roodsaz, R. (2023). (Un)usual suspects: Relational capacities and subjective transformations in polygynous and polyamorous practices in the Netherlands. European Journal of Women's Studies, 30(2), 181-197.



    • Roodsaz, R. (2021). Queering potentials: Negotiations of gender, parenthood, and family in polyamorous relationships in the Netherlands. Sexualities. Advance online publication.



    • Roodsaz, R. (2018). Probing the politics of comprehensive sexuality education: 'Universality' versus 'Cultural Sensitivity': a Dutch-Bangladeshi collaboration on adolescent sexuality education. Sex Education, 18(1), 107-121.
    • Roodsaz, R., & Jansen, W. (2018). Enabling sexual self-fashioning: embracing, rejecting and transgressing modernity among the Iranian Dutch. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 45(11).
    • Roodsaz, R., & Van Raemdonck, A. (2018). The Traps of International Scripts: Making a Case for a Critical Anthropology of Gender and Sexuality in Development. Social Inclusion, 6(4), 16-24.



    • Roodsaz, A., Van den Brandt, N., & Van Kerckem, K. (2015). In Conversation with Merhaba and Respect2Love about Emancipation at the Intersection of Sexual, Ethnic and Cultural Diversity. Tijdschrift voor Genderstudies, 18(2), 197-216.


    • Roodsaz, A. (2016). Sexual Fashioning of Transgressive Selves among the Iranian Dutch Younger Generation. In A. Gambrell, D. Osborne, & L. Buttigieg (Eds.), Connecting, Rethinking and Embracing Difference Inter-Disciplinary Press.


    • Roodsaz, A. (2014). In the Service of Modernity. The Gendered Deployment of Premarital Sexuality in Processes of Identification among Iranian Dutch. . In K. Leurs, & D. Olivieri (Eds.), Everyday Feminist Research Praxis Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press.
    • Seikaly, M., Roodsaz, A., & Van Egten, C. (2014). The Situation of Women in the Gulf States. European Parliament Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs.



    • Roodsaz, A. (2016). Gendering Leisure. In M. Cloïn, & W. Portegijs (Eds.), The Quality and Quantity of Free Time among the Dutch The Hague: Social and Cultural Plan Bureau.


    • Roodsaz, A. (2015). De uitdaging van inclusief feminisme. In Feminisme van nu in woord en beeld (pp. 256-260). Amsterdam: Atria/Spectrum.
    • Roodsaz, A. (2015). Dutch Mercantilism and the Emancipation of Black Women: Essays for Willy Jansen. In S. Dudink, & L. Plate (Eds.), Myths of Gender: Essays for Willy Jansen (pp. 59-63). Nijmegen: Vantilt.


    • Roodsaz, A. (2011). Constructing the Self among Iranian Dutch through the Rhetoric of Homosexuality in the Beginning of the 21th Century. In G. Amin (Ed.), Identities and Challenges (pp. 62-89). Cambridge, Massachusetts: Iranian Women’s Studies Foundation.


    Media appearance

    Talk / presentation


    • Roodsaz, A. (2014). Sexual Self-Fashioning among the Iranian Dutch. Nijmegen: Radboud University Nijmegen.
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  • Ancillary activities
    No ancillary activities