Assia Alkass is a sociologist who studies the phenomenology of pornography. Her doctoral dissertation focuses on the experience of gender, sexuality, and desire in the consumption of pornography. She studies the bodily-lived aspect of adult viewers' receptions of pornography, which has been less frequently addressed in contemporary studies of pornography consumption behavior. Experience-based interviews (Jäger and König 2017) will be conducted in order to gain access to people's lived experiences of gender and sexuality, thus clarifying whether one's own gender is, indeed, especially evident in moments of lust and desire (see Gugutzer 2001)—or if people also feel resistance to the societal arrangement of genders.
Before entering the doctoral program at the RTG, Assia Alkass was a scientific staff member in the Research and Teaching Unit for Gender Sociology at Bielefeld University's Faculty of Sociology. During this time, she also served as the program coordinator of the Gender Studies master's program. For her bachelor's degree, she explored representations of gender in film and continued this inquiry while earning her master's degree in Gender Studies, which she completed in 2019 with a thesis on gender in occult horror films. This led to a more extensive analysis, which she is now continuing in her doctoral dissertation.
Lidia Bohn is a sports scientist whose research focuses on the sociology of gender in sports, phenomena related to fringe sports, as well as ethnography. In ethnographic field research, she uses Quidditch as an example to examine how participants in a gender-inclusive sport deal with gender.
Lidia Bohn studied cultural anthropology and sports science at the Georg-August-University of Göttingen, as well as the social sciences of sport at the Goethe-Universität in Frankfurt am Main. She was then employed in the area of gender equality in the sports associations sector.
Since 2017, Johanna Budke has studied the phenomenon of premature menopause from the perspective of health science. In medicine, premature menopause is defined as taking place when a person's last menstrual period occurs before the age of 40. Her previous research on the topic opened up further questions that she is addressing in her doctoral work in the interdisciplinary research training group, "Gender as Experience." Her inquiry begins with the assumption that in the experience of early menopause, the gendered body becomes (more) perceptible. Thus, much more becomes capable of being said about gender which had previously remained hidden. Following Schmitz and Plessner, the body becomes a focal point as a source of knowledge in its tangible, emotional facets and the affective experiences of being and having a body. Of central interest are the bodily-lived experience as well as the social experiences of those who go through early menopause. Both are fundamental in the question of the constitution of gender through lived experience and associated dimensions such as age. As a researcher in health science, Johanna Budke is also interested in the role that health care plays in this context.
Before joining the research training group in 2021, Johanna Budke was the director of a community health promotion project of the City of Bielefeld from 2020 to 2021. From 2017 to 2019, she was a scientific staff member in the project "Vernetzung und Qualifizierung von Akteur*innen der Qualitätsentwicklung auf Landesebene" (Networking and qualification of quality development actors at the state level) in the Prevention and Health Promotion Working Group at Bielefeld University. Prior to that, Johanna Budke studied Health Communication (BA) and Public Health (MA) at Bielefeld University.
Alice Farneti is a PhD candidate in sociology with a focus on gender studies and ethnographic research. Her dissertation examines the introduction of policies against sexual violence in university by looking at the Quebec context. Thanks to a feminist mobilization that exposed the extension of the problem, Quebec introduced a law requiring all universities to create policies in collaboration with representatives of the academic community. Based on narrative interviews with activists involved in the mobilization and the policy-making process, the research investigates how sexual violence in university becomes an institutional problem. The introduction of policies accompanies the shift from an understanding of sexual violence as an exclusively individual problem to one that highlights power structures and institutional scripts and settings that reproduce the social marginalization of women in the workplace. Analysing experiences with the institutionalization of the movement contributes to the understanding of the role of conflicts of interpretation in the processes of institutional transformation.
Alice Farneti studied cultural anthropology and ethnology at the University of Bologna. During her M.A., she spent two semesters at Concordia University as an exchange student, where she was introduced to the debate on sexual harassment and violence. Her main interests are experiences of marginalization and abuse, feminist solidarity and mobilizations, and processes of institutional transformation.
Annika Klanke is a literary scientist specialized in gender studies. In her doctoral dissertation, she examines the aesthetics, form, and politics of contemporary feminist essay writing. The project refers to the current strong demand for a type of essayistic text production in feminist essay writing that combines autobiographical and theoretical modes of writing, thus following factual modes of narration. Thematically, this type of text often revolves around gender-specific aspects of subjectification. At the same time, however, they also problematize the damage done by capitalism and colonialism as well as the complex interaction between them. In these texts, the often-subtle effects of these mechanisms of dominance become especially legible through the ways in which bodies and relationship experiences are made literary. Using the tools of literary studies, selected examples of this type of essay writing will be analyzed with regard to their composition and their sociopolitical implications. With a subject-theoretical perspective, the role of narrated experiences within literary processes of subjectification will be investigated as well as how this popular form of narration helps to shape contemporary discourses of (identity) politics.
Before joining the Research Training Group, Annika Klanke was a research assistant at the Technical University of Dortmund (Faculty of Cultural Studies, 2019-2021). From 2018 to 2019, she worked as a caregiver for people with high degrees of care dependency at ambulante Dienste e.V. in Berlin. She completed her bachelor's degree in German Studies, Music and Theater in Bremen and Vienna (2009-2013) and her Master of Arts (MA) in German Literature and German Studies at HU Berlin and Cornell University Ithaca (2013-2018).
Edith Otero Quezada studies Inter-American Studies. In her PhD Project she analyzes the intersections between body, gender, and emotions during the process of political participation. As a case study, she is currently researching the recent political context of Nicaragua. For that aim, she is developing a dynamic and interdisciplinary framework of analysis that combines contemporary phenomenology, the affect turn and decolonial feminist perspective of Latin America. Besides her current project, Edith is also interested in political subjectivity, (post)memory, guerrilla’s movements, masculinities and the construction of horizontal and activist methodologies.
Edith Otero Quezada studied M.A. Inter-American Studies at the same university and holds a B.A. in Sociology from Universidad Centroamericana (UCA-Nicaragua). Edith was a scholarship holder of the German Foundation Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung (2017-2020), holding several awards. Most notably the Award to the Excellence in Scientific Research, given by the Universiteit Antwerpen (Belgium) and Universidad Centroamericana (UCA-Nicaragua). In 2013, Edith received the National Award to the Young Scientific Talent given by Academy of Science of Nicaragua for her bachelor thesis.
Jannis Ruhnau is a sociologist. His doctoral project explores gendered processes of subjectivation of trans, inter, nonbinary people and queer women who lift. The research will focus on the relation between different kinds of queer experiences and strength training. This interest is built on the hypothesis that strength training can be a means to shape one’s body and strive for body images, which are related to strength, muscles, and empowerment. Lifting might enable trans, inter, nonbinary people and queer women to envade normative social images of how their bodies ought to be shaped. This way they might create possibilities to feel stronger and capable to take an active role exactly in those places where social norms are felt to be extremely powerful. Using biographical photo-interviews the project aims to explore how these people experience their bodies and how queerness and strength training are connected to that.
Jannis Ruhnau studied sociology at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. Besides his studies he worked as a research assistant at different research institutes focusing on qualitative empirical research.
Ell Rutkat is a social scientist with a focus on gender research. Ell Rutkat's PhD project deals with the embodiment and materialization of gender using the example of ejaculating vulvae. The phenomenon of ejaculating vulvae (also referred to as "squirting" or "female ejaculation") has mainly been studied in bio-medical or cultural-historical terms. However, existing explanations are inadequate for understanding the gendered aspects of the experience of this bodily-lived phenomenon, along with its socio-political, historical, and material complexity. In Ell Rutkat's research project, vulvar ejaculation is studied empirically and ethnographically, using an experiential approach involving gender theory as described by König/Jäger 2017. For this purpose, the (non-)experience of this bodily process is analyzed as a historically specific bodily practice of gendered modes of existence according to Maihofer 1995 and within naturecultural relations according to Haraway 2003. The goal is to gain a sound understanding of the materialization of gender.
Ell Rutkat specialized in "Culture and History" in the BA program "Liberal Arts and Sciences" at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. A year-long study abroad at the University of Barcelona led Ell Rutkat to the "Estudis de dones, Gènere i ciutadania" and, later, back to the University of Freiburg for the MA in Gender Studies. The topic of Ell Rutkat's master's thesis was bodily shame and the processes of gendering associated with it. The doctoral project at the Research Training Group builds upon and expands this preliminary work.
Vanessa Lara Ullrich is a Phd Candidate in Political Theory and the History of Political Thought. Her research project provides a critique of the political function of desire in contemporary social and political movements. Drawing on Marx, her research critically probes what is often taken for granted in today’s movements as desire’s revolutionary potential by tracing articulations of desire at different historical conjunctures. This analysis will help substantiate a materialist understanding of desire that goes beyond the binary of liberation and oppression, and instead delves into desire’s hidden abode in the capitalist mode of production.
Vanessa Lara Ullrich is Research Associate at the Research Graduate School “Gender as Experience” at the University of Bielefeld. She studied Psychology and Politics at the Goethe-University of Frankfurt (B.Sc.) and at the University of Oxford (M.Sc.). Her main research interests are critical theory, feminist theory and social philosophy. Before she joined the Graduate School, Vanessa Lara Ullrich worked amongst others as Policy Officer for Migration and Forced Displacement at the European Union External Action Service in Brussels and as an Expert for Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International.
Ivo Zender is a literary scholar concerned with the nexus of corporeality, gender and textuality in trans narratives. Their dissertation examines the poetics of transgender corporealities in contemporary german literature. It asks about the literary modes of appearance as well as the formative and formal principles used to convey narratives of trans life and experience. Their guiding questions are: Which aesthetic strategies do contemporary trans narratives pursue (or not) to produce intelligible gendered subjects and which textual and bodily understandings are developed in the process? The project aims to systematically analyze the structure and narrative style of selected (auto)ficitional texts and to inquire how these texts create a body through narrative. The theoretization of the relationship between the transgendered body and it’s narrative textuality is central to the project. Thus, the project refers to those analytical horizons – especially charted within Trans Studies (e.g. Salamon 2010) – that utilize theories of affect, materiality and neophenomenology to put the gendered body at the heart of the theoretical debate.
Ivo Zender studied Political Science and Spanish Filology at Universität Trier and Complutense University of Madrid (B.A.) as well as European Literature at Humboldt-Universität of Berlin (M.A.). Their Master’s thesis addresses processes of reading and narrating transgendered bodies. Their research focus is on Gender/Queer/Trans Studies, trans narratives, corporeality and textuality and LBTIQA* literature.
Lisa Jüttner studied Music, German studies, New German Literary studies at Universität Siegen and at Freie Universität Berlin. She has worked as a research assistant at the faculty of Linguistics and Literary studies at the Universität Bielefeld since 2019. In her dissertation, she focuses on feminist (literature-)theories after 1970 and its literary resonances. After rereading psychoanalytically oriented theories from the 1970s and 80s and their effect on contemporary literature, she focuses on the concept of repudiated bodies. She starts from an aestetical concept of femininity as a metaphor for the excluded, not as a biological essentialism and shows persistence within prominent feminist theory. Her studies aim to, on the one hand, connect difference feminist and (de-)constructive approaches (see f.e. Stoller: 2010) and, on the other hand, analyze their discourse in literary texts. She aims to establish an aestetic concept of body that, within literary studies, can be used as a critical perspective to power and dominance. Within her research, she focuses on literature from after 1970.
Maria Neumann is an educationalist specialized in gender studies. In her interdisciplinary Phd thesis she studies the phenomenon of menstruation. Her main focus lies on the bodily and emotional experiences of menarche and menstruation in adolescents. Influencing factors such as social categories, instances of socialization and societal structure are central to the analysis. Gender will be of particular interest as cis-female and genderqueer menstruating young people will be interviewed. For the interviews the experience-centered method proposed by Tomke König and Ulle Jäger (2017) will be utilized.
Maria Neumann studied Educational Science (B.A.) at the Martin Luther University in Halle-Wittenberg and Gender Studies (M.A.) at the University of Bielefeld. During her master's degree she worked for the gender equality commission and coordinated the mentoring program “Blickpunkte” for women* at the Faculty of History, Philosophy and Theology. After graduating she worked as a research assistent in a research project at the “Schul- und Bildungsforschung” at MLU Halle-Wittenberg.
Ragna Verhoeven is a PhD candidate in Political Theory. Her project on democratic theory deals with the tension between the unifying and the conflictual in democracy from a radical democratic perspective. The aim is to show to what extent radical democratic theorists implicitly think about elements of the unifying and thus find a way of dealing with the complementary tension of democracy between conflict and the unifying. Four authors are examined in more detail: Judith Butler, Claude Lefort, Chantal Mouffe and Jacques Rancière. Through Butler, in particular, it should be possible to introduce a gender- and body-sensitive perspective into the field of democratic theory.
Ragna Verhoeven is a research associate at the BGHS. She studied "International and European Governance" in the German-French branch at WWU Münster and Sciences Po Lille, France (B.A., M.A., Diplôme de l'IEP). After graduation, she worked for one year at the Chair of Political Theory at the Institute of Political Science in Münster and in the research network "Cultures of Compromise". Her research focuses on the history of ideas, communitarianism, democratic theory, feminist theory, and postcolonial theory (especially Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak).