Dr. Dorrit van Dalen is an anthropologist and a historian. As an academic, a journalist and a literary author she is especially interested in the contacts between religions and cultures, notably when Africa, Islam or the 17th century are involved. In 2015 she defended a doctoral thesis at Leiden University, which was published in 2016 in Brill's series "Islam in Africa" as Doubt, scholarship and society in 17th century sudanic Africa. She is currently employed in the European research project Encounters with the Orient, and is guest curator of the exhibition "Encounters with the Orient/ Arabs in the West" (Ontmoetingen met de Orient/ Wijzen uit het Oosten) to be held in the Allard Pierson Museum in 2016.
She is a member of the academic board of Sources, the new French academic journal focussed on the humanities in Africa, edited by UMIFRE. Her academic publications also include "This Filthy Plant. The Inspiration of a Central Sudanic Scholar in the Debate on Tobacco", in Islamic Africa 3, no. 2: pp 227-247, and "Johannes Theunisz and ͑ Abd al-Aziz: a romance in Arabic studies in Amsterdam, 1609-1610," Lias. Journal of Early Modern Intellectual Culture and Its Sources 43, no. 1 (2016).