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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Language, Literature and Humanities

Revis(ualis)ing Intersectionality






Joint research project of Prof. Dr. Elahe Haschemi Yekani (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) and Prof. Dr. Magdalena Nowicka (German Center for Integration and Migration Research (DeZIM) with Dr. Tiara Roxanne, Research Associate (DeZIM)

Funded by the Volkswagen Foundation in the funding initiative “Original – isn’t it?” New Options for the Humanities and Cultural Sciences, Funding Line 2: Constellations


January 2019 to December 2020


Taking the visual sphere as its starting point, the project Revis(ualis)ing Intersectionality interrogates how a focus on visuality might help to come up with methodologies that move beyond the binary to revise some of the premises of intersectionality as a research paradigm that employs categories to describe bodies and processes of stratification. We propose to do the opposite: We want to probe a methodology which takes visual polysemy as its structural premise. Rather than follow the often-voiced logic that “we need categories to make sense of the world”, we want to explore whether the assumed categories hinder our perception of human differences and, ultimately,our understanding of social inequalities. In a first phase that consists of exploratory workshops, we willinvite artists, philosophers and cognitive scientists to focus on the visual public sphere, including signage, to develop “ways of seeing” different “modes of being” rather than limit our analysis to supposedly fixed meanings linked to physical characteristics. Here artistic production is regarded as a central knowledge producing catalyst. After this exploratory phase we will record the findings in a publication that should adequately reflect such a revis(ualis)ing of intersectionality in its layout and inclusion of visual materials.