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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Gender as a Category of Knowledge

Kathleen Heft

PhD Project:

Emancipated Partners, Bad Mothers, Murderous Mothers ? German Hegemonic Culture of in Light of the ›East German Other‹


Description of the Project


How are gender norms and images in reunified Germany negotiated under the terminology of ›East‹ and ›West‹? What gender knowledge is (re) produced as normal or abnormal along this line of differentiation ? My PhD project is positioned both in cultural studies and gender studies. I conduct a qualitative discourse analysis in order to investigate preconditions and changes in media discourse, which links gender issues with discourse on East and West Germanness since 1989/90. My key research interests concern first the constitutive role of a differentiation between East and West Germanness for hegemonic gender knowledge in Germany, and second, possible connections of this specific gendered East-West differentiation with established discourse on Eastern Europe. My empirical data includes examples from German-language media coverage on topics like maternal filicide, (uncaring) motherhood, and relationships




Kathleen Heft holds a degree in cultural studies from European University Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder). She received a scholarship from the DFG research training group “Gender as a Category of Knowledge” (2009-2012) and a completion grant from the Caroline von Humboldt Grant Programme.


Selected Publications


Kindsmord als Phänomen Ostdeutschlands? Eine Analyse medialer Diskursverschiebungen. In: Mörderinnen. Künstlerische und mediale Inszenierungen weiblicher Verbrechen, hg. v. Hyunseon Lee und Isabel Maurer Queipo, Bielefeld 2013 (im Erscheinen).