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

Marietta Kesting

PhD Project:

Visualization of Gender, Migration, and Racism: Crossmapping Documentary Strategies in Photography and Film in Post-Apartheid South Africa




Description of the Project


This project examines the function and gendered coding of documentary materials as a part of how knowledge is produced. On the one hand, it critically analyzes how violence is visualized, and on the other hand, it challenges how the interdependent categories ›gender‹ and ›race‹ are represented as categories of social bodies in motion.

The documentary photographs and films are contextualized in their historical and political locations by using methods from gender studies, cultural, and post-colonial studies, as well as film and photography theory. The main questions are: which function does the category ›gender‹ assume in the representation of »victim-perpetratordiscourse« in media, and how do documentary images create affects and negotiate the political ? Hybrid forms of documentary works from the art context are also considered in the process in order to locate possible subversions through the fictionalization of documentary history/ies.


1999 – 2002 B.A. at Bennington College, Vermont (USA). 2004 – 2008  Media and Cultural Studies (MA) at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, 2011-2013Fellow at the Research Group Training Group Gender as a Category of Knowledge, research stays at Wits University, Johannesburg April 2011, July, 2012, and May, 2013.


Selected Publications


Migration Zu-Sehen-Geben. Strategien der Sichtbarmachung in zwei südafrikanischen Dokumentarfilmen. In: Zooming in and out. Produktionen des Politischen im neueren deutschsprachigen Dokumentarfilm, hg. v. Aylin Basaran, Julia B. Köhne, Klaudija Sabo, Wien 2013 (im Erscheinen).

Bilder der Migration – Europa und die Anderen. In: Kulturanalyse im zentraleuropäischen Kontext, hg. v. Daniela Finzi, Ingo Lauggas, Wolfgang Müller-Funk u. a., Tübingen 2011. S. 45 – 58.

zus. m. Aljoscha Weskott (Hg.): Sun Tropes – Sun City and (Post-)Apartheid Culture in South Africa, Berlin 2000.

Politik und Sichtbarkeit in Johannesburg. »Wohlstandsgefängnis« und »Ghettoisierung« unter dem Primat der Sicherheitsfrage, Berlin/Wien 2000.