Research Area E: Gender (and Intersectionality)

Research Area E investigates dependencies associated with gender, sexuality, status, class, ethnicity, religion, age and other historical, anthropological, and representational aspects relevant to explaining differences among persons and human groups, both in past and present societies. It examines how the dynamic and overlapping relationships between categorical markers of social difference and their associated normativities entangle themselves with broader social structures, which create, consolidate, strengthen, perpetuate or undermine social dependencies, often at the expense of the discrimination, undervaluation and invisibilization of other collectives and individuals throughout history. 


Avatar Smith

David B. Smith

Who works in this research area?

Prof. Dr. Marion Gymnich
Research Topic: Asymmetrical Dependencies ‘at Home’: Narratives of Domestic Service in British Literature and Non-fiction (1660-1900)

Prof. Dr. Karoline Noack
Research Topic: Asymmetrical Dependency, Materiality and Gender in the longue durée: The Perspective from South America

Prof. Dr. Julia Hillner
Research Topic: Transformations of the Family and the Household in the Period 300–750 and how these are Reflected in Legal norms and Practices

Prof. Dr. Claudia Jarzebowski
Research Topic: Global and Gender History in the Early Modern Period History of Dependency and Slavery

Prof. Dr. Kristina Großmann
Research Topic: Dependency and Agency in Globalized Resource Extraction in Southeast Asia – Towards a Material Intersectional Theory of Asymmetrical Dependencies

Prof. Dr. Adrian Hermann
Research Topic: The Documentary Film as Important Medium of the Exploration and Documentation of Relations of Asymmetric Dependency

Dr. James M. Harland
Research Topic: At the Limits of Empire: The Transformation of Identity on the Roman Peripheries, c. 300–800

Dr. Emma Kalb
Research Topic: Slavery and Embodied Difference in Early Modern South Asia

Eva Maria Lehner  
Research Topic:Creolizing Identities. Dependency, Body Politics, Resistance

Dr. Viola Müller
Research Topic: Labor conditions of free and enslaved workers in cities of the nineteenth-century Americas

Hanne Østhus
Research Topic: Asymmetrical Dependency, Gender and Labor in the Household

Malik Ade
Research Topic: Writing the Self and the Other: Representations and Dependencies in Colonial Nigeria

Joseph Biggerstaff
Research Topic: Slavery, Dependency, and Capitalism in Barbados, 1680-1750

Laurie Venters
Research Topic: Love Competition: The Sexual Agency of Female Slaves in Ancient Rome and China

Julia Schmidt
Research Topic: Antonia Forster. Eine intellektuelle Biographie mit Edition

Katja Girr     
Research Topic: Asymmetrical dependencies in science production: a case study of illegalized migration researchers’ emotions and vicarious trauma (previous project cancelled due to Covid-19 travel restrictions: Labour related dependencies and spatial mobility on the African continent in terms of gender and migration policy: transnational migration of Ivoirian domestic workers to North Africa)

Zeynep Y. Gökce            
Research Topic: Revisiting the Ottoman Households: The Maids and Mistresses

Danitza L. Márquez Ramírez
Research Topic: Contested Tenures: The Making of Land Ownership and Dependency Relations in Colonial Peru (Cajamarca, 16th-18th Centuries)

Giulia Cappucci
Research Topic: Relations Between Enslaved Women and Female Slaveholders in the Roman Households: an Epigraphic Study

Lisa Phongsavath
Research Topic: Daughters in Debt: Trading Girls and Girlhood in the Pre-Modern Tai States and Southeastern China

Thematic Year

Research Area E is setting the thematic focus for the BCDSS’s activities in 2023/24, guiding the focus of intellectual content for:

Upcoming Events

For more information on the event program, see here.

6 June 2024
Workshop "The Genetic Turn in Historical and Archaeological Research"

19 June 2024
Juneteenth Lecture by Charmaine A. Nelson "Enslaved Females in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Nova Scotia and Quebec: Examining the Canadian Fugitive Slave Archive"

20–21 June 2024
Workshop “Exploring the Atlantic and Asian Dutch Empire and its Archives: actor-centered and gender approaches (17th–19th Century)”

12 September 2024
Lecture & Discussion "De-Colonizing Dependency Studies"

12–14 September 2024
Conference "Children, Dependency, and Emotions in the Early Modern World, 1500–1800"

23–25 October 2024
Workshop "Dependency Theory and Intersectionality"

Fellows Seminars

The seminars will take place on Thursdays from 12–14h as a brown bag seminar event.

10 June 2024 (Monday, 16–18h!)
Tba (Özgül Özdemir)

13 June 2024
Tba (Natalie Joy)

27 June 2024
Tba (Cătălina Andricioaei)

11 July 2024
Tba (Doris León Gabriel)


Research Area E applies an intersectional approach to the theoretical framework of the BCDSS. We look at both the disadvantaging and the privileging effects involved in all these dimensions of social asymmetry, while taking consciously critical standpoints in relation to sexism, classism, racialization, ableism, heteronormativity ..., in order to elaborate on the long and arbitrary legacy of exclusions and on the potential of (so called) marginalized social groups for social change. 


This research area not only integrates marginalized perspectives but also demonstrates the necessity of understanding relations of power and asymmetry as constituted and co-constitutive factors in all forms of (strong) social dependency, relying on methodologies including, but not limited to,

  • Genealogical Approach
  • Social Justice and Anti-Discrimination
  • Critical Race Theory
  • Structural and Post-Structuralist Intersectionality
  • Gender History and Feminism
  • Postcolonial Theory
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