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The vision of a just knowledge society

Maisha M. Auma accepts the first Audre Lorde guest professorship of the Berlin University Alliance

News from Jun 10, 2021

The diversity network of the Berlin University Alliance (BUA) DiGENet has launched a guest professorship for diversity studies. The “Audre Lorde-BUA-Guest Professorship for Intersectional Diversity Studies” is intended to shape Berlin as a research hub on a par with the reality of urban society. The educational scientist Prof. Dr. Maisha M. Auma will be the first researcher to accept the guest professorship. In the public seminar series “Yallah Diversity” she is seeking to enter into dialogue with Berlin stakeholders.

As an educational scientist and gender researcher, Maisha M. Auma bundles and updates research approaches that deal with unevenly distributed social power, privilege structures, and barriers to participation. “Gender studies have already made a huge difference in Berlin as a research hub,” says Maisha M. Auma. But there is still a need for action: Only when existing patterns of exclusion are identified can those who have been discriminated against not only participate, but also become involved on a permanent basis – and help steer the fate of research institutions.

“So far, Berlin research has not yet reflected the hyperdiverse, post-migrant reality of Berlin society,” says Maisha M. Auma. Multiperspectivity in research and teaching is the task of current and sustainable diversity policies and research. “The aim is to transform homogeneous social spaces so that the diversity of society can be institutionalized scientifically.” As a black woman, Maisha M. Auma has experience of belonging to the academic world that is not a matter of course: “I have worked on and sharpened this knowledge within the framework of German-language educational science, gender studies, and childhood studies in a power-critical and reflexive manner.” The researcher analyzes social reality intersectionally, from the perspective of those groups that have little social power. She works consistently transnationally, both on topics of diversity pedagogical research and intersectional-racism-critical theory and practice.

The DiGENet guest professorship is named after the black Caribbean-American writer, library scientist and English professor Audre Lorde. She worked as a guest professor at Freie Universität Berlin and between 1984 and 1992 was repeatedly in Berlin for longer stays. The Audre Lorde guest professorship is intended to shape contemporary, future-oriented diversity studies for and from a hyperdiverse, post-colonial metropolis. Its aim is to make this research visible – locally as well as transnationally – and to open it up to a broader debate.

“New and important social issues, debates and research objectives in the Berlin area are, for example, diversity-oriented restitution research,” emphasizes Maisha M. Auma. “The fact that Berlin, as a former colonial metropolis, is now assuming political responsibility to address colonial injustices such as the genocide against the Namaqua and Herero or the return of stolen objects gives rise to hope that racially marginalized groups and post-migrant realities in Berlin, including academia, will become institutionally visible in Berlin. The Berlin University Alliance takes on a central role in establishing these contemporary issues.”

The DiGENet guest professorship in the cross-cutting theme Diversity and Gender Equality of the BUA structures partial aspects of these debates and the research questions generated from them in the form of public lecture series, seminars, and colloquia. The first of these is “Yallah Diversity”. In this public series of seminars, Maisha M. Auma discusses theoretical terms such as “post-migrant”, “decolonial”, and “critical of racism” with actors from the Berlin academic landscape. The series of seminars started on May 27 and will run until July 15, 2021.


The Berlin University Alliance

The Berlin University Alliance is a consortium consisting of three major Berlin universities – Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin – and Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, established to shape research and education in Berlin. The four partners joined forces to further develop Berlin as a research hub with international drawing power. Together the partners explore major societal challenges, increase public outreach, promote the training of junior researchers, address issues of quality and standards in research, and share resources in the areas of research infrastructure, teaching, diversity, equal opportunities, and internationalization. The Berlin University Alliance is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the state of Berlin under the Excellence Strategy of the Federal Government and the Länder.

Joint press release from Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin along with Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin

Press contact
Hans-Christoph Keller, acting press spokesperson for the Berlin University Alliance and press spokesperson for Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Email: medien@berlin-university-alliance.de 

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