Former Members

Sofie Fingado

Sofie Fingado completed her B.A. in Cultural History and Theory and Social Sciences as well as her M.A. in Cultural History and Theory at Humboldt-University zu Berlin, with two study semesters abroad, at the Tel Aviv University in Israel and the Københavns Universitet in Denmark. At Humboldt-Universität she has been working as a student assistant at the chair for Kulturwissenschaftliche Ästhetik und Kulturtheorie as well as an academic tutor for the introductory course Einführung in das Kulturwissenschaftliche Arbeiten. After her graduation, she received funding from the Humboldt Graduate School.


As war against a feeling, the „War on Terror“ is to be thought of not only as a caesura in terms of affective (wartime) politics but also with regard to the US penal system. At the same time, the global detention system and the internment practices of the US border regime which are being intensified after 9/11 are interwoven with the prison Industrial complex within the national borders of the US. In my project I wish to understand these democratically legitimated incarcerations and detentions as operating with a conceptualization of „single beings“, of individuated and singular persons. Following this assumption, I wish to understand the penal violence as directed against affective ties, intersubjective interdependence, and related/kinship subjectivity and as violent „family seperation“– and to shift attention to the ways in which the ones detained/incarcerated are imagining and (re)building a notion of self which is always already related and affectively entangled.
Here, children and other „minor figures“ are of specific interest, whose presence in sites of incarceration is activating and intensifying sentimental abolitionist politics on the one hand – and whose identity as being vulnerable and worthy of protection is becoming the site of negotiations on the other hand.

Axelle Germanaz

Axelle Germanaz is a doctoral researcher in American Studies at Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg. She is currently working on a dissertation with the working title “Inside the Environmental Imaginary and Cultural Spaces of the White Power Movement in the United States.” Her research examines the instrumentalization of environmentalism and the deployment of sentimentality by US far-right groups in an era of climate emergency.


Project: “Inside the Environmental Imaginary and Cultural Spaces of the White Power Movement in the United States”

My doctoral thesis examines the use of environmental rhetoric, imagery, and themes in contemporary US far-right ideology and culture. I analyze the ways adherents deploy environmentalism to naturalize and legitimize white supremacism as a viable solution to the ongoing climate crisis. In this context, I further argue that the movement is relying on sentimental aesthetics and politics to disseminate its propaganda. Members tend to deploy sentimental narratives and tropes to produce strong emotional responses from their audiences and to mobilize them toward illiberal actions. My project uses an interdisciplinary methodology and a transnational approach. I rely on various fields of research –from cultural studies, affect theory, and ecocriticism, to political science, sociology, and history– to survey the intersections between environmentalism, sentimentality, and contemporary reactionary politics in the United States. Following an approach of ideology critique, I examine the multifaceted conceptualizations and representations of the environment and climate change in the cultural products disseminated by the US white power movement between the 1980s and today.


Khushboo Jain

Khushboo Jain has worked extensively towards securing rights of children in contact with railways in India including through a petition in the Delhi High Court. She is the Founding member of the All India Working Group for Rights of Children (AIWGRC), an alliance founded in June 2014 with an objective to empower children through facilitating child participation in legal reforms. Her PhD research, Home-making on the Streets of Delhi, offers a critique of the narratives of homelessness through ethnographically rich research on the practices of home-making on the streets.

Project: Home-making on the Streets of Delhi‘

‘Home-making on the Streets of Delhi’ is a deep ethnographic study of the everyday home-making practices of the street dwellers in the capital city of Delhi, India. Home-making on the streets is infused by the moral sentiment of an international narrative of home and homelessness and vexed political motivations of clean urban streets. And between these extremes lie the everyday negotiation of practices of home-making on urban streets. By exploring street dwelling in three different kinds of space – of worship, market and a railway station, this dissertation examines how different street spaces become home for its inhabitants, how the material and social space aid in the processes of home-making, and how street dwellers add to the character and the economy of these spaces. It further evaluates how the street as a space of home-making is understood in policies and interventions for street-dwellers as a way to deepen the critique of the narratives of homelessness.