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Kerstin von Lingen receives Heisenberg Fellowship

17. Jul. 2018

The German Research Foundation (DFG) appointed Dr. Kerstin von Lingen, associate member of the HCTS, as a Heisenberg Fellow. Her research project "Consumer Boycott as Female Ethics, 1800-1990," hosted by the Department of History at Heidelberg University, will commence in October 2018 with a duration of three years.

The Heisenberg Programme at the German Research Foundation (DFG) rewards researchers with outstanding work and goals, and enables them to prepare for a senior academic role while continuing their research. Research projects have to meet high requirements with regard to the scientific quality and originality at an international level. Four different types of funding are available within the Heisenberg Programme, including the Heisenberg fellowship.

The fellowship granted to Dr. Kerstin von Lingen relates to her project "Consumer Boycott as Female Ethics, 1800-1990." Drawing from global history and anthropological as well as gender studies perspectives, the project focuses in particular on analyzing female modes of protest and asks how they triggered the boycott to destabilize the existing global economic order linking Asia and Europe. It argues that women's activism played a crucial role in inaugurating new forms of ethical politics in the nineteenth century by developing consumer boycott as a powerful tool.

Consumer boycotts, especially of food and those supported by mass movements, are perceived to be a powerful ethical tool to achieve goals to change behavior by destabilizing existing moral orders and practices. The anti-apartheid movement which banned fruit from South Africa since 1959 until the collapse of the regime is a powerful example. The late nineteenth century campaign to boycott feathers from Paradise birds in Indonesia used for decorating hats is another. A lesser known example of boycotting certain consumer goods was also successfully applied in the early nineteenth century in Britain, such as on sugar and coffee. What is even more striking is the fact that the latter protest movements emerged from radical-protestant groups — and to be more precise, from their female branches.

Dr. Kerstin von Lingen is an associate member of the HCTS and was a junior research group leader of JRG "Transcultural Justice: Legal Flows and the Emergence of International Justice within the East Asian War Crimes Trials, 1945-1954." She is currently a guest professor at the University of Vienna and will be a guest professor at the Department of History at Heidelberg University starting in October 2018.


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