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Dr. Milena Belloni

Senior Researcher

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Dr. Milena Belloni's Bio

Milena Belloni is an ethnographer specialized in migration and refugee studies. Before her FWO Fellowship, she was a Post-doctoral researcher in the ERC HOMInG Project at the University of Trento, a fellow in Modern Italian Studies at the American Academy in Rome and a Post-doctoral researcher in refugee studies at the Centre for Migration and Intercultural Studies (CeMIS, Antwerp). In 2015 she gained her PhD in Sociology and Social Research in Trento. In 2016 her thesis “Cosmologies of Destinations: roots and routes of Eritrean forced migration towards Europe” won the Maria Baganha IMISCOE 2016 Award for the best doctoral dissertation in migration studies.

Milena has conducted extensive fieldwork in Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, Italy and Holland. Her research mainly concern refugees’ migration dynamics and integration pathways, transnational refugee families, migrant smuggling, and ethnographic methods. She published in many international peer reviewed journals, such as the Journal of Refugee Studies, the Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies, and the International Journal of Comparative Sociology. Her monographic study on the migration of Eritreans to Europe, The Big Gamble, is published by the University of California Press (2019). For more information on her work see

Dr. Milena Belloni's Publications

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Dr. Milena Belloni's Professional positions

Feb 2020 –  Feb 2023:  University of Antwerp,  Department of Social and Political Sciences, and Human Rights Centre, Ghent University: FWO Post-Doctoral fellow; Research theme: Refugee migration; family reunification; moral economies; multi-sited ethnography

Feb 2018 –  Jan 2020:   University of Trento, Italy, Department of Sociology, ERC HOMinG Project (P.I. Paolo Boccagni),  Post-doctoral researcher;   Research theme: Home and migration; transnational refugee families; Eritrea; housing and remittances; homing and refugees in countries of arrival and origin; multi-sited ethnography

Jan 2017 – Jan 2018: University of Antwerp, Centre for Migration and Intercultural Studies, Post-doctoral researcher; Research theme: The impact of European family reunification policies on refugees’ integration pathways

Sept 2016 – Jan 2017     American Academy in Rome; Post-doctoral Fellow- Modern Italian Studies; Research themes: Eritrean migration through and to Europe; The European “refugee crisis” and its implications

Dr. Milena Belloni's Education

University Degrees

2011 – 2015: University of Trento, Italy; D.Phil. Sociology and Social Research

2008 – 2010: University of Siena, Italy; Masters of Research in Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology

2007 – 2008: School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London; Masters of Arts in Medical Anthropology

2004 – 2007: University of Siena, Italy, Bachelor of Arts in Ethno-Anthropological studies.

Dr. Milena Belloni's work details
  • Contact Hours: On appointment
  • Secretariat HRC: +32(0)9 264 69 11
Dr. Milena Belloni's expertise
  • Migrant and refugee rights


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