• Prof. Dr. Sabine Hark, Brain City Berlin, TU Berlin

    Prof. Dr. Sabine Hark, Technische Universität Berlin

Since April 2009, sociologist Professor Dr Sabine Hark has been leading the Zentrum für Interdisziplinäre Frauen- und Geschlechterforschung (Centre for Interdisciplinary Women- and Gender Studies, ZIFG) at the Technische Universität Berlin (TU Berlin). Her research focuses on the effects of social, scientific, and technological transformation processes on gender.

“Berlin has a research landscape that is one of a kind in Germany, in terms of content, disciplines, and institutions. The city is also very well positioned in terms of gender research, with different profiles at most of the city's universities”, Professor Dr Sabine Hark remarks. The sociologist has lived in Berlin since the late 1980s. After completing her master's degree in political science, sociology, history, and education at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) and a complementary diploma in sociology at Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, she came to Freie Universität Berlin (FU Berlin) for her doctorate. She then qualified as a professor at the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences at the University of Potsdam. Since 2009, Hark has been director of the Zentrum für Interdisziplinäre Frauen- und Geschlechterforschung (Centre for Interdisciplinary Women- and Gender Studies, ZIFG) at the Technische Universiät Berlin (TU Berlin). She remains just as enthusiastic about the city: "Berlin is my home. I can't think of any other place where I'd rather live."

Sabine Hark has been interested in gender research since her studies at university. “Contrary to the everyday experience that gender is 'natural', in gender studies we understand gender as historically conditioned. At the ZIFG, we therefore understand gender research as a critical ontology of the present." In this context, she and her team are particularly concerned with social, scientific, and technological transformation processes in the triangle of power, knowledge, and subject. 

Berlin has a research landscape that is one of a kind in Germany, in terms of content, disciplines, and institutions. The city is also very well positioned in terms of gender research.

“From the perspective of a critical ontology, we ask how something came about and look at the history of social relations. We start from the principle that things in the world do not simply exist, but are rather the result of practices and processes that are themselves subject to certain discursive and material conditions”, Hark adds.  "The question of what we can know, as well as the questions of who we can be and become, and how we organize our coexistence, we try to answer based on the history of these conditions." 

A focus of research at the ZIFG and thus also Sabine Hark's work are the transformations induced by science and technology that affect human self-image, social coexistence, and social relationships with nature. Other work and research focuses include topics such as the sociology of science and university research, gender policies, feminist epistemology and criticism, and queer theory.

Nowadays, the Brain City Berlin offers Sabine Hark many advantages as a scientist: We are very well networked here with afg, the working group of women's and gender research institutions at Berlin universities. We are in direct contact and there is hardly a topic for which I cannot find the right partners in Berlin”, she explains. Berlin is also “the go-to place" in Germany for colleagues from abroad. "That is why international exchange is easier to achieve here than anywhere else in the country."

Sabine Hark advises young researchers new to the Brain City two things in particular: “Because Berlin has so much to offer, it is important to familiarise yourself with as much as possible at first. But then it is important to create reliable working relationships and networks." (vdo)

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