Dr. Elisabeth Militz
Postdoc Maternity replacement of Prof. Dr. Carolin Schurr | Unit Leader Social and Cultural Geography in Spring 2021
Social and Cultural Geography
I am a feminist political and cultural geographer and explore affects and emotions. My research brings together feminist political geography, (queer) feminist theories of affect, geographies of the body and intimacy, digital geographies and empirical research in Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan.
From an intersectional research perspective, I want to understand how spaces of intimacy, emotions, and everyday experiences of identity politics such as nationalism are interwoven. In my doctoral work ( 2017 ) I developed the concept of affective nationalism and examined how feelings of national belonging arise in banal everyday encounters between different bodies, objects, practices and places. The concept of the "global intimate" (Mountz & Hyndman 2006), which means that intimate bodily and life experiences and global flows of bodies, technologies and knowledge are interconnected, inspires my current research on digital geographies of intimacy. In this research, for example, I investigate the role of affects/emotions in the creation of knowledge spaces about the intimate body on social media. Please find more information on my current research project “A digital geography of marginalised sexualities in Kyrgyzstan” on Instagram.
I also like to experiment with qualitative and ethnographic research methodologies in geography. I am particularly interested in the limits, possibilities and challenges of affectual methodologies and feminist-geographic online research.
Fields of Research
- Emotions and affects
- Geographies of the body
- Digital geographies
- Geographies of sexuality
- Global intimate
- Affective nationalism
- Feminist methodology
|Since 2019||Habilitation project in Geography|
|2013-2017||PhD at the Geography Graduate School Zurich, University of Zürich|
|2005-2006||Exchange student University of Massachusetts, Boston (USA)|
|2003-2010||BA and MA in Geography (Minors: Sociology, Anthropology, Biology), Heidelberg University|
|Since 2020||Associate Research Fellow of the OSCE Academy in Bishkek|
|2019||Visitng Scholar at the Central Asian Studies Institute of the American University of Central Asia, Bishkek|
|Since 2018||Postdoc, research assistant and lecturer in Social and Cultural Geography, University of Bern|
|2017-2018||Postdoc, research assistant and lecturer at Transcultural Studies, University of St. Gallen|
|2018||Postdoc with the Feminist Geography Collective, University of Texas at Austin|
|2013-2016||PhD student and research assistant at Space & Organization, University of Zürich|
|2015||Visiting PhD candidate at the Department of Geography, University of Kentucky, Lexington|
|2011-2013||Research assistant and lecturer in Economic Geography, University of Jena|
|2012||Visiting Scholar at the Azerbaijan Tourism Institut, Baku|
|2010-2011||Lecturer of the Robert Bosch Foundation, State Agricultural University of Azerbaijan|
|2010||Visiting Lecturer at the Department of Geography, University of Heidelberg|
Affiliations and memberships
- ASG Themengruppe „Feministische Geographien“
- AK Feministische Geographien (VGDH)
- American Association of Geographers
- DFG-network "Feministische Geographien des New Materialism"
Militz, Elisabeth, ed. ‘feministische digitale Geographien’. Feministisches Geo-RundMail 85 (April 2021). https://ak-feministische-geographien.org/rundmail/
Duplan, Karine; Militz, Elisabeth (February 2021). Pasts, presents and futures of feminist geographies in Switzerland. GeoAgenda, 2021(1), pp. 26-31.
Schurr, Carolin and Elisabeth Militz. ‘Reproductive Rights’, In International Encyclopedia of Human Geography, edited by Audrey Kobayashi, 435-442. Oxford: Elsevier, 2020 https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-08-102295-5.10234-3.
Militz, Elisabeth. 2020. “Killing the Joy, Feeling the Cruelty: Feminist Geographies of Nationalism in Azerbaijan:” Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space 38, no. 7–8: 1256–74. https://doi.org/10.1177/2399654420927413.
Militz, Elisabeth; Faria, Caroline and Carolin Schurr. ‘Affectual Intensities: writing with resonance as feminist methodology’. In: Area, 52 (2), 429–436. https://doi.org/10.1111/area.12584
Militz, Elisabeth. Affective Nationalism. Bodies, Materials and Encounters with the Nation in Azerbaijan. Zürich: LIT Verlag.
Militz, Elisabeth. "Towards affective Nationalism." Gender, Place and Culture, 26 (2): 296-300. https://doi.org/10.1080/0966369X.2018.1484704.
Militz, Elisabeth, und Karine Duplan. „A Space for Feminist Geographies at the 16th Swiss Geoscience Meeting“. GeoAgenda 2019, Nr. 1 (2019): 26–29.
Schurr, Carolin, and Elisabeth Militz. 2019. “Winners of the Ashby Prizes.” Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space 51, no. 7: 1409–14. https://doi.org/10.1177/0308518X19864251.
Schurr, Carolin, and Elisabeth Militz. ‘The Affective Economy of Transnational Surrogacy’. Environment and Planning A, 50 (8) 1626-1645. https://doi.org/10.1177/0308518X18769652.
Militz, Elisabeth. ‘Feministische Geographien: Ankommen, Wohlfühlen und Weiterkommen.’ Feministisches Geo-RundMail 77 (Oktober 2018). http://ak-geographie-geschlecht.org/rundmail.
Klosterkamp, Sarah, and Elisabeth Militz, eds. ‘Feministische Politische Geographie’. Feministische Geo-RundMail 75 (April 2018). http://ak-geographie-geschlecht.org/rundmail/.
Militz, Elisabeth. ‘Affective Nationalism: Bodies, Materials and Encounters with the Nation in Azerbaijan’. PhD dissertation, University of Zurich, 2017.
Militz, Elisabeth. ‘On Affect, Dancing and National Bodies’. In Everyday Nationhood: Theorising Culture, Identity and Belonging after Banal Nationalism, edited by Michael Skey and Marco Antonsich, 177–95. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017. https://doi.org/10.1057/978-1-137-57098-7_9.
Militz, Elisabeth, and Diana Griesinger. ‘Book Review: Visuelle Geographien: Zur Produktion, Aneignung Und Vermittlung von RaumBildern’. Geographica Helvetica 72, no. 1 (22 March 2017): 137–40. https://doi.org/10.5194/gh-72-137-2017.
Militz, Elisabeth, and Carolin Schurr. ‘Affective Nationalism: Banalities of Belonging in Azerbaijan’. Political Geography, Special Issue: Banal Nationalism 20 years on, 54 (1 September 2016): 54–63. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polgeo.2015.11.002.
Militz, Elisabeth. ‘Public Events and Nation-Building in Azerbaijan’. In Nation-Building and Identity in the Post-Soviet Space: New Tools and Approaches, edited by Rico Isaacs and Abel Polese, 176–94. Post-Soviet Politics. London, New York: Routledge, 2016.
A Digital Geography of Marginalized Sexualities in Kyrgyzstan
|Funding||Faculty of Science of the University of Bern (field work 2019)|
Across the world, traditionalists and right-wing populists identify sexuality diversity and sexuality equality as a danger to national and cultural integrity. Non-heteronormative sexualities – be they sexual practices, sexual identities, sexual experiences or representations of sexualities – are threatened, tabooed, and stigmatized. In Kyrgyzstan, the research context of the project, unmarried young women, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, in particular, experience violence and shaming with regard to their sexual practices and/or identities. The stigma around non-heterosexual and non-binary sexualities and the taboo of sex for unmarried women also limits access to sexuality knowledge and peer support. In response, people marginalized on the grounds of their sexualities increasingly mobilize social media applications (e.g. Instagram) to produce and circulate knowledge about non-normative sexualities. Analyzing the production, negotiation, and circulation of knowledge about marginalized sexualities in social media spaces, provides insights into peoples' creative use of social media platforms. My analysis also allows for a better understanding of the potential of social media in terms of defending sexuality diversity and sexuality equality worldwide.
OSCE Academy Bishkek
Becoming a virgin: bodies, technologies and affectual geographies of the reconstruction of the hymen
|Description||The project hypothesizes hymen repair as an emergent transcultural phenomenon that reproduces female virginity as a global commodity. It explores how technologies of hymen surgery produce corporeal geographies, putting sexualized organs and bodies into circulation as commodities in the global reproductive economy. Specifically, the project is interested in unraveling the different emotional and affectual mechanisms substantiating powerful narratives around virginity, femininity, female sexuality and pleasure.|
Clad in hope: affective geographies of the bridal dress
|Funding||SNF Scientific Exchange|
|Description||Despite an observed decline in marriage rates, the heterosexual wedding remains popular around the world. While many communities grant the status of an adult only after consummating a heterosexual wedding, marriage also seems to promise future happiness. The white bridal dress, in particular, plays a key role in attracting feelings of hope, desire and joy during wedding celebrations. This project aims to develop a critical understanding of the affective dynamics at play in conflating marriage with happiness.|
|Prof. Dr. Caroline Faria, University of Texas at Austin
Dominica Whitesell, University of Texas at Austin
Affective Nationalism: Bodies, Materials and Encounters with the Nation in Azerbaijan
|Funding||Forschungskredit University of Zürich|
|Description||The project unpacks the ways in which nationalism – understood as a feeling of national belonging and alienation – unfolds in moments of affective encounter between different bodies, objects, practices and places. Based on eight months of ethnographic field work in Azerbaijan, consisting mainly of observant participation within families, field notes from attendance at public holidays and commemoration ceremonies and qualitative interviews, the project develops the concept of affective nationalism - the banal affirmation of the national emerging in moments of encounter between different bodies, objects, practices and places. In times nationalist and populist narratives of good and evil, right and wrong and outside and inside gain ground, the project proposes to focus on moments of bodily encounter, on bodies’ different capacities to affect and to be affected and on the spatial and temporal contextualities of national becomings, in order to understand the persistence of nationalism.|
|Collaborators||Prof. Dr. Martin Müller, Université of Lausanne
Prof. Dr. Anna Secor, University of Kentucky
Militz, Elisabeth, Faria, Caroline and Carolin Schurr. ‘Affectual Intensities: writing with resonance as feminist methodology’, online first, Area, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1111/area.12584
Militz, Elisabeth. Affective Nationalism. Bodies, Materials and Encounters with the Nation in Azerbaijan. Zürich: LIT Verlag.
Spaces of freedom in Azerbaijan: an action-oriented network analysis of environmental NGOs
|Description||The project focuses the practices, organisation and guiding narratives of environmental NGOs in the South Caucasus Republic of Azerbaijan. Drawing primarily on ethnographic and qualitative interview material from four month of field research, the study experiments with a qualitative network analysis and presents novel insights on civil society activities in the fields of nature conversation, ornithology and environmental justice in Azerbaijan.|
|Collaborators||Prof. Dr. Heiko Schmid †|
|Output||Militz, Elisabeth. ‘Zivilgesellschaftliche Freiräume in Umwelt-NGOs in Aserbaidschan: Eine Netzwerkanalyse’. In: Rückkehr zum Autoritarismus? Vormoderne, Moderne und Postmoderne im postsozialistischen Europa. Beiträge für die 19. Tagung Junger Osteuropa-Experten, edited by Apelt, B. & I. Hahn. Bremen: Forschungsstelle Osteuropa, 59-60, 2011.
Militz, Elisabeth. ‘Spaces of freedom in Azerbaijan: an action-oriented network analysis of environmental NGOs’, Department of Geography, Heidelberg University, 2010 (unpublished diploma thesis).
Selection since 2017
|March||“Digital Methods for Intimate Geographies of Social Media”, online conference in the context of the course Terrain Urbain, Neuchâtel (invited).|
|September||“Towards Gender and Sexuality Equality in the Central Asian Republics”, Adventure of Science, Women and Glaciers in Central Asia at Home, UNESCO Almaty, online event (invited)|
|November||“Bloody geographies. Spatialities of virginity”, 18th Swiss Geoscience Meeting 2020, virtual edition.|
|November||„Emotionen, Affekte und Geographien sozialer Medien”, Ich weiß, was Du fühlst? Emotionen und Affekte als Gegenstand raumbezogener Forschung, Leipzig (invited).|
|November||“Affectual methodologies”, CUSO Géographie atelier résidentiel “Méthodologies féministes, postcoloniales et critiques de la race en géographie”, Morges (invited).|
|September||„Jungfräuliche #Scham? Instagrams Räume des Widerstands gegen sexuelle Stigmatisierung“, DKG 2019, Kiel.|
|October||“Affektiver Nationalismus: Reiseberichte aus dem Globalen Osten”, Vortrag im Murnau Club, Murnau a. Staffelsee|
|October||(with Jasmine Truong) „Exploring feminist geographies of the global intimate, reproductive bodies and affects”, Vortrag im BHK 2018, Bern.|
|April||"Geographies of Beauty", AAG 2018 New Orleans|
|April||(with Carolin Schurr) “Complicating (Un)Comfortable Alliances in the Brave New World of Reproduction”, AAG 2018 New Orleans|
|November||"Affektiver Nationalismus: Zur Entstehung nationaler Gemeinschaftsgefühle am Beispiel Aserbaidschans", Geography Colloquium, University of Münster|
|October||(with Carolin Schurr) "Transcorporeal Geographies", DKG 2017, Tübingen|
|September||(with Carolin Schurr) "Zugänge: Emotionale Geographie als Forschungspraxis", KKG 2017, Türbingen|
|April||"Close the gap: corporeal geographies of hymen reconstruction", AAG 2018 Boston|
Conferences, Workshops and Sessions
Selection since 2017
|March||(with Mirko Winkel and Alexander Vorbrugg) THE INSPIRED DISCIPLINE: On Geography’s Search for New Mediums and Artistic Methods, mLAB Symposium, virtual edition.|
|March||(with Mirko Winkel) #SocialMediaGeographies: Wie können sich Forschende verantwortungsvoll in Räumen sozialer Medien bewegen?, Workshop bei der/at the IfL Forschungswerkstatt #7, online|
|November||(with Karine Duplan) “Human Geographies: Bodies, Cultures, Societies”, Symposium Number 22 at the 18. Swiss Geoscience Meeting, virtual edition|
|November||(with Karine Duplan) “Geographies of Sexualities”, Panel at the 18. Swiss Geoscience Meeting, virtual edition|
|February||(with Karine Duplan) Feminist Geographies - Kick-Off Event of the ASG Thematic Group, Neuchâtel|
|(with Laura Perler) workshop „Normierte Körper im Globalen/Intimen“, Bern|
|November||(with Karine Duplan) „Human Geographies: Bodies, Cultures, Societies“, Symposium number 21 at the 17. Swiss Geoscience Meeting, Fribourg|
|November||(with Karine Duplan) „Intersectionality, bodies and space“, panel at the 17. Swiss Geoscience Meeting, Fribourg|
|November||(with Karine Duplan) “Intimate technologies, bodies and space“, panel at the 17. Swiss Geoscience Meeting, Fribourg|
|October||„Ästhetik oder Exzision? Transkulturelle Perspektiven auf Operationen der Vulva“, workshop at the 3. Frauengesundheitstag Vorarlberg, Feldkirch|
(with Thilo Wiertz) “Politische Geographien digitaler Medien”, session at the DKG 2019, Kiel.
|November||(with Karine Duplan) “Bodies, Space and Difference in the Global/Intimate”, panel at the 16. Swiss Geoscience Meeting, Bern|
|September||(with Sarah Klosterkamp) "Affectual Methodologies" and "Affect and Emotion as key concepts of feminist geographies", workshops at the Human Geography Summerschool Gender & Space, Herzberg|
|April||(with Carolin Schurr) "Author meets Readers: Stacy Alaimo’s (2016) Exposed: Environmental Politics and Pleasures in Posthuman Times", Panel at the AAG 2018, New Orleans|
|November||(with Christoph Creutziger and Sarah Klosterkamp) "Affects, Emotions and Geographies writing", Workshop at the Department of Geography, University of Münster|
|April||(with Hannah Lyons) "The power of enchantment: exploring the affective entanglements between bodies, objects and space in constituting national identifications", Panel at the AAG 2018, Boston|
|March||(with Carolin Schurr) "Transcultural Bodies: Geographies of Embodiment", Workshop, University of St. Gallen|
|Spring 2021||BA Seminar “Digitale Geographien des global/intimate” (with Mario Sturny)|
|Fall 2020||MA-Lecture “Aktuelle Perspektiven und Themen der Politischen Geographie” (with Carolin Schurr)|
|Fall 2020||BA Lecture "Orte der Globalisierung" (with Carolin Schurr)|
|Spring 2020||MA Seminar “Mehr-als-menschliche Geographien: Natur, Kultur, Technologien” (with Mirko Winkel)|
|Spring 2019||BA Seminar "Digital Geographies of the global/intimate" (with Carolin Schurr and Mario Sturny)|
|Fall 2018||MA Seminar "Political Geographies of Emotion and Affect"|
|Fall 2018||MA Lecture "Kulturgeographie II: Theorien der Sozial- und Kulturgeographie nach dem Cultural Turn" (with Marina Richter)|
|Fall 2017||BA Seminar "Economies of Beauty: transcultural corpreal aesthetic between marketing and cosmetic surgery", University of St. Gallen|
|Spring 2017||MA Seminar "Love/ hate: The transcultural politics of emotions" (with Carolin Schurr), University of St. Gallen|
|Fall 2016||MA Seminar "Culture, Mobility and Space" (with Carolin Schurr), University of St. Gallen|
|Spring 2016||BA Tutorial Small Group Teaching "Globalization", University of Zürich|
|Fall 2014||BA Tutorial Small Group Teaching "Global Uncertainty", University of Zürich|
|Spring 2013||BA Seminar "Cultural Geography I", University of Jena|
|Fall 2012||MA Seminar "Cultural Geography II", University of Jena|
|Fall 2012||BA Seminar "Migration, urban infrastructures and transnational mobilities" (with Julia Rösch), University of Jena|
|Fall 2012||Excursion Genoa (5 days), University of Jena|
|Fall 2011||MA Seminar "Cultural Geography II" (with Karsten Gäbler), University of Jena|
|Fall 2011||BA Seminar "Economic Geography III" (with Manuel Meier), University of Jena|
|Spring 2010||Excursion "Cultural Geographies of Upper Bavaria: beyond laptops and Lederhosen" (with Julia Rösch), University of Heidelberg|