Latest publications and media coverage

Erdbeeren isst sie jetzt nicht

Erdbeeren isst sie jetzt nicht

Nora Komposch forscht als Geografin an der Uni Bern. Sie beschäftigt sich mit dem Erdbeeranbau in Andalusien – und versucht, mit ihrer Forschung auch in Bern etwas zu bewirken.

Article of the WOZ from 18.05.2023

Landarbeiterinnen in der Nähe von Huelva

Moroccan women harvesters: Solidarity under the sign of the strawberry

In the fields of Huelva in southern Spain, women pickers are suffering. But unionization is a challenge. A contribution with Nora Komposch.

pdf. WOZ Artikel (PDF, 361KB)
Solidarität im Zeichen der Erdbeere

Missy Magazine article from February 2023

"Eierstock mit Beinen?"

Egg cell donation is prohibited in Germany. According to the coalition agreement, this could soon change. It's worth taking a look at Spain, where the repo market is already booming.

Contribution on Deutschlandfunk from 02.03.2023


First the technology, then the ethics?

Programs like ChatGPT promise help with seminar papers and love poems. Artificial intelligence is thus becoming suitable for everyday use here, too. The consequences of AI for society will be discussed later. But is that perhaps too late? - With Prof. Dr. Caroline Schurr

Link to "First the technology, then the ethics?"

Article in Migros magazine from 06.03.2023

Bild des Zeitungsbeitrages

"According to Swiss law, our son was created illegally".

Two women, the same fate: Sandra Hayoz and Valentina Bieri are infertile. Because it is forbidden in this country to conceive a foreign egg, both had to go abroad. That could soon change. - Laura Perler in conversation.

Link to the article "According to Swiss law, our son was created illegally".

Contribution from Blick on 09.1.2023

homosexuelles Paar mit Kind aus Leihmutterschaft

Demand for surrogate mothers on the rise

The Blick report on gay SRF sports presenter Olivier Borer (40) shows: The topic of surrogacy triggers reactions. Also because little is known about it. Carolin Schurr, a professor of social and cultural geography at the University of Bern who conducts research on surrogacy, says: "Demand is increasing." Worldwide.

Die Nachfrage nach Leihmüttern steigt

Contribution of HEALTH TIP from 15.12.22

Eizellenspende: Ärzte saugen in einer Operation die Eizellen der Frau ab (Keystone)
Tamara Sánchez Pérez

"In hindsight, I felt taken advantage of"

The Federal Council wants to allow egg donation in the future. Health Tip spoke to two women who had the procedure done in Spain and the USA. Both have one thing in common: they became donors because they urgently needed money.

"In hindsight, I felt taken advantage of"

Contribution from RABE on 14.12.22

Labor der Eizellenspende
Tamara Sánchez Pérez

Exhibition "Making babies?" - with Dr. Laura Perler and Mirko Winkel

The exhibition "Making Babies? Egg Donation and Reproductive Politics" takes a look at this reproductive technology with its social, ethical and economic implications. On display are photographs, audio and video documents on the topic, which were created as part of a research project by Dr. Laura Perler. Perler, as part of her dissertation "The Promise of Healthy Children. An Analysis of the Spanish Egg Donation Economy," she examined the link between egg donation and genetic carrier testing. She was awarded the 2022 Barbara Lischetti Prize for this dissertation. The exhibition at the Bern Kornhausforum will run from November 25, 2022 to January 14, 2023 and is open to the public free of charge. On Thursday, January 12, at 5 p.m., there will be a public panel discussion entitled "Egg donation in Switzerland - what does fair reproduction mean?

Exhibition «Babys machen?»

Contribution from Republic on 03.12.2022

Gemälde mit schwangerer Frau und Silouhette einer Mutter mit Kind.
Republik - Marie-José Kolly (Text), Michelle Urra (Illustration)

Republic Article with Dr Yolinliztli Pérez-Hernández

When Julie went to freeze her eggs: At first, social freezing sounded like an easy solution to late motherhood. But Julie's story shows how much it bothers women when they become even a little more independent in having children.

Link to article: When Julie went to freeze her eggs - Republic article with Dr Yolinliztli Pérez-Hernández

Article in Freiburger Nachrichten from 22.11.2022

Laura Perler im Interview bei FN
Aldo Ellena, FN

Egg donation: "The rights of donors must be secured".

Egg donation is currently still prohibited in Switzerland, but is to be legalized. The FN spoke with Laura Perler, a researcher from Fribourg, about the controversial topic. In the interview, Perler explains, among other things, why the legalization of egg donation does not contribute to gender equality and why transnational solutions are needed.

Article Frankfurter Rundschau from 08.09.2022

Schwangerer Bauch
(Bild: Frankfurter Rundschau)

Is there a right to have a child?

Germany is one of the few countries in Europe that explicitly prohibits egg donation. Those affected are fighting for better access, but there are also health risks.

Gibt es ein Recht auf ein Kind?

Contribution from ZDFKultur 'unbubble' with Laura Perler

Laura Perler in der Diskussionsrunde bei ZDF "unbubble"

Unfulfilled desire to have children: Should egg donation be legalized? | 13 questions | unbubble with Laura Perler

Every tenth couple in Germany is involuntarily childless. In the case of an unfulfilled desire to have children, there are various treatment methods in reproductive medicine. In the case of infertility, for example, there is the possibility of hormone treatments or artificial insemination through sperm donation. In addition to sperm donation, egg donation is also an option for fulfilling the desire to have a child. However, egg donation is prohibited in Germany - unlike in many other EU countries, such as Spain. Many German women therefore opt for anonymous egg donation abroad. Our guests: Heribert Kentenich, reproductive physician Anna Wilken, Model & Influencer Natasa Tuñon, patient care Spain Laura Perler, social scientist Taleo Stüwe, Gene Ethics Network Helen Frey, "donor child

12.06.2022 Contribution by RBB: "Couragiert unterwegs": Egg cell donation, between prohibition and real application.

"Couragiert unterwegs": Egg donation, between prohibition and real application. Laura Perler, Sylvia Giese-Kreutzer and Ines Sophie Pietschmann in conversation with Shelly Kupferberg at RBB Kultur.

The Embryo Protection Act, which dates back to 1990, still prohibits egg donation in Germany. However, around 4000 children are now born in Germany every year via egg donation abroad. And medical ethicists have long been calling for reform of the Embryo Protection Act, also in the interests of equality. Why is sperm donation allowed, but egg donation is still not? The egg donation is not to be stopped, means Dr. Laura Perler, which as a participant observer in Spain researched, because among other things to Spain couples travel, in order to let their child desire fulfill. 
In other European countries, this type of reproduction is anonymous. That is, a child does not know who its genetic mother is and will never know. Where does the right to reproduce on one's own reach its limits? Is egg donation the technical solution to a social problem? Who earns from this reproductive medicine?

17.04.2022 Contribution Radio Rabe: Egg donation: just a question of equality?

Im Operationssaal der Eizellenspende

Laura Perler as a guest on "I aller Liebi

Egg donation is often the last chance for infertile women to become pregnant. For this purpose, an egg cell from a donor is implanted into the recipient's uterus. In Switzerland, this type of assisted reproduction method is prohibited. But this could change soon, the National Council wants to allow egg donation for married couples. Today, many Swiss couples travel to Spain, which is the European leader in egg donation because of its liberal legislation and economic situation. Social anthropologist Laura Perler has conducted research on the Spanish egg donation economy. In an interview with Zita Bauer, she explains the medical aspects of egg donation, how to ensure that the children are "healthy", and the motivations of the donors. In addition, Laura Perler explains why she sees many question marks regarding the legalization of egg donation in Switzerland and what needs to be ensured so that equality does not happen at the expense of egg donors.

Interview with Laura Perler about Egg donation in Spain and Mexico

Interview with Laura Perler about Egg donation in Spain and Mexico

(Interview in Japanese)

Interview with Laura Perler about Eggdonation in Spain and Mexico

Contribution of "Der Bund" on surrogacy in Ukraine 27.05.2022

Prof Dt. Carolin Schurr

Intimate geopolitics: transnational surrogacy

Carolin Schurr in conversation at BUND

Prof. Dt. Carolin Schurr im BUND zur Leihmutterschaftssituation in der Ukraine

Contribution of "ZEIT" to the legalization of egg donation in Switzerland

Laura Perler vs. Andrea Büchler

Interview with Laura Perler

In contrast to most European countries, the donation of eggs is still prohibited in Switzerland today. Now politicians want to change that. The social scientist Laura Perler and the legal scholar Andrea Büchler argue about the rights of infertile women – and who suffers for their desire to have children.

Feature from ORF 2 on strawberries from Spain

Nora Komposch in Huelva (Südspanien) im Interview

Feature from ORF 2 on strawberries from Spain

Huelva in southern Spain is the largest berry producing region in Europe. In this short report from ORF2, ecological and social consequences of this intensive agriculture are highlighted. Nora Komposch from the Institute of Geography at the University of Bern researches the topic and is asked for her assessment in the report.

Tagesanzeiger 09.02.2022

Who does this girl belong to?

Surrogate baby Inaya Hundreds of children of surrogate mothers live in Switzerland. They were born into a legal
gray area. The case of the B. family now occupies the highest court.

Who does this girl belong to? (PDF, 781KB)

Blog Entry about the Care-Giving Academic

Screenshot der Webseite

Blog Entry about the Care-Giving Academic (based on GIUB survey results)

Carolin Schurr, Heike Mayer and Andrea Winiger wrote a blog entry on Gendercampus about the results of a survey in the Institute of Geography at the University of Bern, which revealed the crisis’ uneven care responsibilities. While acknowledging these unequal effects, our blog calls for considering the current crisis as an opportunity to constituting a new academic norm/ality: The care-giving academic.


Screenshot of the journal's website

Paper "Killing the joy, feeling the cruelty: Feminist geographies of nationalism in Azerbaijan" by Elisabeth Militz


Feminist political geographies complicate our understanding of nationalisms, unraveling the gendered, racist, sexualized and classed logics that enable and legitimize nationalist projects and experiences. Scholarship on the “national intimate” usefully re-centers those feminized and trivialized mundane practices, bodily experiences, subjects and spaces that in fact powerfully reproduce nationalist sentiments. I draw on this reframing here, demonstrating the insights of a feminist geographic critique of national enjoyment in Azerbaijan. In particular, I mobilize Sara Ahmed’s figure of the feminist “killjoy” to unmask how national enjoyment obscures and yet reproduces patriarchal, heterosexist and racist narratives and mundane bodily encounters. Examining national enjoyment around men’s football, women’s beauty, smoking and heterosexual marriage, I attend to the oft-ignored but vital embodied sites and objects involved in reproducing enjoyment in national meaning. I show the conditions that are necessary for different bodies to gain access to national enjoyment, and the emotional, bodily and economic investments that are necessary to navigate heteronormative, patriarchal and racialized alignments in enjoying the nation. Feminist, critical race and queer theory has unequivocally demonstrated that nationalisms depend on—indeed cannot be separated from—the workings of patriarchy, misogyny, racism and heterosexism. As geographers, moving forward, it is vital that we attend to this work if we are to better understand the ordinary power of national enjoyment.



Article Complicating notions of violence: An embodied view of violence against women in Honduras by Maaret Jokela-Pansini


Feminist geographic analysis has demonstrated that violence inflicted on women is embodied, experienced and personal and at the same time, linked to global socio-political and economic processes and patriarchal norms. Consequently, violence is a complex system instead of a norm located in certain places. In heavily militarised societies, patriarchal power regimes are even more prevalent because states’ security strategies promote a masculinist understanding of protection as to who should be protected and by whom – and from what. This study draws on feminist geopolitical analysis and explores how feminist activists in Honduras experience and resist violence in their everyday lives. The research is grounded in interviews, focus-group discussions and participant observation with Honduran activists. The findings demonstrate that violence and its effects are first embedded in women’s everyday lives through feelings of fear and unsafety on the streets, at the workplace and at home. Second, violence operates through structures and institutions such as the military and police, impunity for violence against women and the juridical restriction of reproductive rights. Third, the internationally financed war on drugs and ‘development’ projects contribute to violence, thus, there is a link between intimate experiences of violence and global economic and military powers that sustain violence. Activists therefore argue that, for their needs, the state’s and international organisations’ security approaches are inadequate. The paper weaves together feminist visions of collective self-care and discusses activists’ strategies against violence. This study contributes to a growing feminist geographic scholarship linking women’s bodily experiences with violence and responds to calls for complicating notions of violence


Screenshot der Encyclopedia

"Reproductive Rights": Article in der Encyclopedia of Human Georaphy by Elisabeth Militz and Carolin Schurr


Reproductive rights are about the legal right to contraception, abortion, fertility treatment, reproductive health, and access to information about one's reproductive body. Reproductive rights secure people's freedom to decide about their body's capacities to (not) reproduce. Departing from a feminist understanding of the reproductive body as the most intimate site for/of political struggle, reproductive geographies have emerged as a relatively new field within human geography. Reproduction used to be a traditional topic of a quantitative population geography. More recent geographic work on reproduction, however, is inspired by feminist, Black, postcolonial, and critical theories to address the uneven geographies of access to spaces of reproductive health and justice. Research in the field of reproductive geography increasingly employs an intersectional perspective investigating how questions of reproductive rights intersect with environmental, racial, sexual, and gender justice. While research on intimate geopolitics looks at how reproductive freedom and autonomy are embedded in wider geopolitical, geoeconomic, and biopolitical power relations, reproductive geographies study the spaces, mobilities, and practices of fertility, pregnancy, and birth.


DKG Keynote Vorlesungssaal

Keynote speech German Congress for Geography in Kiel 2019

Prof. Dr. Carolin Schurr, together with Prof. Dr. Peter Weichhart (University of Vienna), opened the German Congress for Geography in Kiel 2019 with her keynote speech "From Margin to Center? Theoretische Aufbrüche in der Geographie seit Kiel 1969"


Screenshot Geographica Helvetica

Prof. Dr. Carolin Schurr new in the Editorial Board of the Geographica Helvetica

Chinwe Ifejika Speranza (Bern), Martin Müller (Lausanne), Carolin Schurr (Bern) and Karin Schwiter (Zürich) are now part of the international Advisory Board of the Geographica Helvetica. 


DKG Keynote Vorlesungssaal

Keynote Prof. Dr. Carolin and Prof. Dr. Peter Weichhart at the DKG 2019

Prof. Dr. Carolin Schurr and Prof. Dr. Peter Weichhart (University Vienna) are opening the Deutschen Kongress für Geographie in Kiel 2019 with their keynote lecture „From Margin to Center? Theoretische Aufbrüche in der Geographie seit Kiel 1969“


Portrait Carolin Schurr

Prof. Dr. Carolin Schurr in the editorial board of the Geographica Helvetica

Chinwe Ifejika Speranza (Berne), Martin Müller (Lausanne), Carolin Schurr (Berne) and Karin Schwiter (Zurich) are also joining the international advisory board. Ulrike Müller-Böker will step down as a member.



Winners of the Ashby prizes: Carolin Schurr and Elisabeth Militz

For their paper "The affective economy of transnational surrogacy”, Carolin Schurr and Elisabeth Militz won the Ashby prize. Below an excerpt of their statement regarding winnig the prize:

"In April 2019, I (Carolin) was wandering around in Sacre Coeur Paris, waiting for my mother to finish her visit. We were there, as a happy family, my mum, my three siblings and my 10-month-old baby to celebrate my mum’s 70th birthday. A bit bored, I opened my email. I stumbled. “Ashby Prize.” That must be the call to apply for this honorable prize. I think about Leigh Johnson with whom I shared an office—our “pregnant belly office” as we called it—during her and my first pregnancy in Zurich and who had just been awarded the prize back then for her paper “Index insurance and the articulation of risk-bearing subjects” (2013). Yet, I can’t believe what I read. Us, being awarded the Ashby Prize? For a paper that had taken so many twists and turns? Whose reviewers have been sometimes enthusiastic, but more often quite critical, unconvinced by our attempt to bring geographies of marketization together with affect, emotions, and Sara Ahmed’s critique of the happy family, to understand global family-making with the help of Mexican surrogate mothers? This clearly must be a misunderstanding!"


Screenshot of the journal

"Assemblage thinking and actor-network theory: conjunctions, disjunctions, cross-fertilisations"

Carolin Schurr’s paper "Assemblage thinking and actor-network theory: conjunctions, disjunctions, cross-fertilisations" co-authored with Martin Müller (University of Lausanne) is for the second year the most downloaded paper from the RGS-IBG Journal "Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers“. The paper received 4,136 full-text downloads from the site in 2018 (average download in 2018 was 147).



This paper shows that assemblage thinking and actor‐network theory (ANT) have much more to gain from each other than debate has so far conceded. Exploring the conjunctions and disjunctions between the two approaches, it proposes three cross‐fertilisations that have implications for understanding three key processes in our socio‐material world: stabilisation, change and affect. First, the conceptual vocabulary of ANT can enrich assemblage thinking with an explicitly spatial account of the ways in which assemblages are drawn together, reach across space and are stabilised. Second, each approach is better attuned to conceptualising a particular kind of change in socio‐material relations: ANT describes change without rupture, or fluidity, whereas assemblage thinking describes change with rupture, or events. Third and last, assemblage thinking could fashion ANT with a greater sensitivity for the productive role of affect in bringing socio‐material relations into being through the production of desire/wish (désir). We demonstrate the implications of these cross‐fertilisations for empirical work through a case study of the global market for assisted reproduction.



Carolin Schurr's speech (Branco Weiss Fellow)

At the end of her Branco Weiss Fellowship, Carolin Schurr presented the results of her study about the global surrogay market at the annual Branco Weiss Symposium (ETH Zurich) on the 20. november 2018.


Screenshot des Artikels

Radio interview with Carolin Schurr on surrogacy (Spanish)

Carolin Schurr talked with the radio station RFI about surrogacy, the desire of becoming parents and the commercialization of women. The interview, which was held in Spanish, can be found online.




Screenshot des Abstraktes

Multiple mobilities in Mexico’s fertility industry

Schurr, Carolin. Multiple mobilities in Mexico’s fertility industry, Mobilities (2018): 1-17.


How can we conceptualize travel in search of fertility treatment? While current research on transnational reproduction mostly conceptualizes mobility as horizontal movement from A to B, this article shows how horizontal mobilities converge, contradict, and are interdependent with other forms of mobility; namely vertical mobilities in terms of social upward and downward mobility, representational mobilities in form of imaginative geographies, and the actual embodied experiences of mobility. Based on ethnographic research on the reproductive tourism industry in Mexico, the article explores the multiplicity of mobilities that constitute transnational reproduction. The article evaluates how the concept of multiple mobilities contributes to the study of medical tourism from a critical mobilities’ perspective.


August 2018

Screenshot der Zeitschrift "Gender, Place and Culture"

Carolin Schurr new in the Editorial Board of 'Gender, Place and Culture'

Since August 2018 is Carolin Schurr part of the Editorial Board of Gender, Place and Culture: A journal of feminist geography.


Link here


Screenshot (beginning of the abstract)

The Baby Business Booms

Schurr, Carolin. ‘The Baby Business Booms: Economic Geographies of Assisted Reproduction’. Geography Compass, online first.



This paper explores how reproductive life has changed through the development, transnational spread, and commercialization of assisted reproductive technologies (in vitro fertilization, gamete donation, and surrogacy). (Economic) geography has been slow to take up the vibrant debates in anthropology, sociology, gender studies, and other neighboring disciplines on assisted reproductive technologies and their effects on society, kinship, and reproduction. In this paper, I argue that an analysis of the fast‐growing transnational market of assisted reproduction has much to gain from economic geographies with their interest in the making of markets across borders and feminist economic geographers' engagement with how new forms of gendered and racialized divisions of labor intersect with particular economic, cultural, political, and social contexts. I discuss literature on assisted reproductive technologies and their transnational economies against the background of these two issues—the transnational making of fertility markets and the global division of reproductive labor along axes of gender, race, class, and nationality. The conclusion points out the need for articulating geographies of assisted reproduction that integrate a geographic perspective into the study of assisted reproductive technologies and reproductive economic geographies that push the boundaries of economic geography towards the economies of (assisted) reproduction.



Screenshot of the abstract

The Affective Economy of Transnational Surrogacy