Unlearning University – Abstracts and CVs

Wednesday, 7/2/24
Thursday, 8/2/24
Friday, 9/2/24
Saturday, 10/2/24

Wednesday, 7/2/24

Musica inaudita focus Latin America

The concert culture we know arose in Europe in the 19th century and with it a canon of Western art music that is still taught, played and listened to today. 76% of the works played by orchestras worldwide are by dead white men (Donne Report 2022). We want to change that. In this concert we focus on contemporary Latin American music that is feminist and climate policy oriented. This music is influenced by old techniques, everyday and natural sounds as well as electronic music.

Musica inaudita
is a student initiative at the UdK Berlin. Among other things, we organize concerts with music by artists who are not included in today’s canon due to various reasons of discrimination such as gender, race, sexual identity, disability or religion.

Thursday, 8/2/24

Tools of the Trade: Building Diversity infrastructure in Theatre Institutions

In 2018, Julia Wissert and Sonja Laaser (lawyer and dramaturge) drafted the Anti-Racism clause (www.antirassismusklausel.de). The clause is a tool to protect those involved in a contractual relationship from racist remarks and attacks by employees of the client. Julia Wissert, Joy Kalu, Merle Grimme and Karina Griffith discuss this and other concrete examples of active intervention in German theatre and film institutions. How can we design instruments in our arts practice the protect and encourage diverse approaches and perspectives? What tools can we craft to build sustainable diversity in art structures?

Joy Kristin Kalu
is a dramaturge and curator for international performing arts and has a doctorate in theater studies. Most recently, she worked as a senior dramaturge at the Berlin Sophiensaelen (2017-2023). She is currently teaching as a visiting professor for performative arts at the Berlin University of the Arts.

Merle Grimme
is a screenwriter, director and producer. Merle Grimme’s graduation project from the HFF Munich, the mini-series Clashing Differences, was nominated in all categories of the New German Cinema Award (Best Director, Best Production, Best Screenplay, Best Acting Performance). Merle Grimme won the award for Best Screenplay, as well as the Big Audience Award at the First Steps Awards.

Julia Wissert
is the current director of the Schauspiel Dortmund. In 2023, Wissert was a guest professor in the Institute for Art in Context in the visual arts department at the Berlin University of the Arts. 

Karina Griffith
is a visual artist, film programmer and curator with a doctorate in cinema studies. She is currently lecturer for media theory and practice at the Institute for Art in Context at the Berlin University of the Arts.

Critical.Costume: Memes for Self-Empowerment

In our workshop we would like to talk about our artistic practice as costume makers and think with you about what mutual empowerment could look like. We would like to network with you and discuss what developments you would like to see in the theater and film industry or other artistic fields. Hear what your working reality as a cultural worker looks like and what similarities and differences there are. Memes are a concrete way in which we collect experiences from costume designers and make the absurd situations of everyday work visible. We want to create memes with you that shows what costume creators are confronted with every day.

In German spoken language (bilingual friendly)

Institutional Aftertaste

Critically engaging with institutions like art schools while studying and working in them can raise contradictions that are difficult to digest. In a multi-sensory exchange, we want to let these ambivalences melt in our mouths during a shared table conversation accompanied by bittersweet, crunchy, and sticky morsels. Participants: 20 (with registration)

German and English spoken language (as required)
Contact us by email to let us know your participation needs, allergies, or questions: hello@newschool-summerschool.org

Destina Atasayar, Lu Herbst, Lucie Jo Knilli, Charlotte Perka and Lioba Wachtel
collectively organize artistic exchanges about institutional exclusion, student unity, and utopias for learning. Their work is based on experiences as (former) students of the UdK Berlin, the HfBK Hamburg, Burg Halle, and the University of Vienna. The collaboration developed out of cooperation between the collectives Eine Krise Bekommen and In the Meantime.
www.newschool-summerschool.org / www.einekrisebekommen.xyz / www.in-the-meantime.net

Conversations on Care & Access

In this mini-workshop we, Claire and Angela, will first talk to each other and then with you about the topics of care and access. The starting point for the conversations are two short texts that we would like to share with you. Reading the texts is not a prerequisite for participating in the workshop. Between the conversations, we will offer a small rest practice.

 – Critical Diversity Policy. Strategy for Antidiscrimination & Diversity Berlin University of the Arts, Chapter 2.6 Accessibility at/of Arts Universities, Universität der Künste Berlin, 2023.
– Claire Cunningham: “Equations of Care & Responsibility”, in: Danceolitics, ed. by Simone Willeit and Kasia Wolińska, Uferstudios GmbH, Berlin 2022.

In Englisch spoken language with German whispering translation
Please register and let us know your access needs: unlearning@udk-berlin.de

Claire Cunningham
is the newly appointed Professor of Choreography, Dance and Disability Arts based at HZT and a performing artist and choreographer. Her research is concerned with Crip Techniques of disabled dance artists, Aesthetics of Access and practices of care.

Angela Alves
is Claire Cunningham’s artistic collaborator in the newly established Choreography, Dance and Disability Arts department at HZT Berlin. Her artistic work is profoundly informed by the nature of her lived reality as a chronically sick woman.

Friday, 9/2/24

The Self-Evident Nature of Classism at Art Schools
How can we avoid exclusion if it is constitutive?

Exclusions and discrimination at art schools operate intensely through classism, although almost always in an intersectional connection with other forms of discrimination. Results from the study „Art.School.Differences“ (2016) confirm institutional normativity in regards to class background. A look at the historical establishment of art schools shows that their existence has been based on classism from the start. In the first part we would like to explore what this means for members of the institution today. In a second part, we will discuss the possibilities of a more open and accessible art school based on reimagining rejection letters.

In German spoken language and German Sign Language

Ruth Sonderegger
is professor of philosophy and aesthetic theory at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Her current work focuses on: the constitution and history of Western philosophical aesthetics (in the context of racial capitalism), practice theories, cultural studies, critical theories and resistance research.

Sophie Voegele
is a research assistant and teaches at the Zurich University of the Arts. One of her focuses includes institutionalized mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion from a feminist-postcolonial perspective (see here). Current projects focus on cultural participation and sustainability as well as representation.

Destina Atasayar, Lu Herbst, Lucie Jo Knilli, Charlotte Perka and Lioba Wachtel
collectively organize artistic exchanges about institutional exclusion, student unity, and utopias for learning. Their work is based on experiences as (former) students of the UdK Berlin, the HfBK Hamburg, Burg Halle, and the University of Vienna. The collaboration developed out of cooperation between the collectives Eine Krise Bekommen and In the Meantime. www.newschool-summerschool.org / www.einekrisebekommen.xyz / www.in-the-meantime.net

Elena Meilicke
is a research assistant for media theory at the UdK Berlin. With a doctorate on paranoia as media pathology; she is currently working on the knowledge, media and cultural history of resilience and on filmic auto-sociobiographies.


The panel brings together some editors and authors of the recently published volume Decolonizing the Arts. Aesthetic practices of learning and unlearning (Fink Verlag, 2023), which, among other things, emerged from the contributions to a series of lectures at the UdK Berlin that took place in the winter semester of 2017/18. Based on this, we will talk together about the concept and practices of unlearning at the art university.

In German and English (as required) and German Sign Language

Juana Awad
studied semiotics, theater studies, media art and curatorial cultures. Her main interests are the intersections of knowledge production and aesthetic practices; as well as the political potential of the presentation of art and culture. She is currently researching and teaching at the Weißensee Academy of Art in Berlin.

Julian Sverre Bauer
recently completed his dissertation project “Racialization as a technology of moving images” at the UdK and most recently worked at the HBK Braunschweig. In addition to media studies issues, he is particularly interested in science and technology studies, post+colonial studies and queer theory.

Maja Figge
is a cultural and media scientist and lives in Berlin. Her work focuses in particular on intersectional gender/queer media studies, postcolonial media theories, and transnational moving image media. She is co-editor of the volume Decolonizing the Arts. Aesthetic practices of learning and unlearning (transcript 2023).

Rena Onat
is an art and media scientist and is interested in queer of color criticism in visual culture. She positions herself as a German-Turkish femme and recently completed her doctoral thesis on the subject of “Queer Artists of Color. Negotiations of disidentification, survival and un-archiving in the German context” concluded. She worked as a research assistant at the Institute for Media Studies at HBK Braunschweig and at the Helene Lange Kolleg Queer Studies and Intermediality: Art – Music – Media Culture at the University of Oldenburg. Since 2023 she has been the full-time women’s representative at the Weißensee Kunsthochschule Berlin. She also teaches, lectures and workshops on art, empowerment and anti-discrimination and likes horses.

World Café on Critical Diversity Policy
Organizsation: Alejandra Nieves Camacho and Mathilde ter Heijne

We would like to invite participants to exchange views on the six central fields of action of the Critical Diversity Policy and the Code of Conduct through discussions and personal encounters in alternating small groups. The aim is to promote interdisciplinary discussions on the way to the implementation of the Critical Diversity Policy. New knowledge and new ideas are more likely to emerge when relevant future issues are addressed together. Participants can choose the topics and issues relevant to them depending on their personal interests.

In German and English spoken language

Soundscapes of Institutional Learning

Where is the access to one’s own voice and how does it become audible? In the workhop, we identify body parts that are connected to university or school experiences and translate them into sound and text surfaces. Microphones, beats and effects equipment are available. Our improvisations focus on free experimentation beyond “right” and “wrong”.

In German spoken language (bilingual friendly)

Jakob* from the collective Gather
is performer with a focus on body, voice, digital performance. Part of the band collective “Die Schlangenknaben”, classical music from a queerfeminist perspective.
Gather is a participatory project with a shared intersectional interest in art/music and collective low-hierarchy learning.

Saturday, 10/2/24

Racism-critical perspectives on music-related fields and courses of study at the UdK Berlin
Organization: Isabelle Heiss, Johann Honnens and Christine Hoppe

Based on the three starting points of the symposium, canon critque–accessibility–methodologies, this section will look at music-related fields from a racism-critical and intersectional perspective. After three keynote speeches by Maiko Kawabata, Daniele Daude and Johannes Ismaiel-Wendt, the section will culminate in a discussion forum led by Tsepo Bollwinkel, which will focus on an exchange about exclusionary structures and “unlearning processes” in the music-related degree programs at the UdK Berlin.

Johannes Salim Ismaiel-Wendt: About auditions and precarious shacks

In this talk I reflect on my attempts at “dissonant participation” (Hark 2005) in the institutionalized hype of decolonization. I ask why I have the feeling that I always only build “provisional shacks” (Hark 2005: 370) in the established “institutions of knowledge” (Kretschmann, Pahl, Scholz 2004). Does this also have to do with the squares, universities, museums, etc. on and in which I or we build? Is it perhaps a good thing to continue to only place temporary constructions? Who will actually let me audition, when I do not have access to a reasonably viable material infrastructure? What deals do I agree to in order to be able to build small rehearsal rooms for fantasies of freedom from domination?

In German spoken language with English whispering translation

Johannes Salim Ismaiel-Wendt
is Professor for Music Sociology and Popular Music Studies at the University of Hildesheim, Germany. He is the author of tracks’n’treks. Populäre Musik und Postkoloniale Analyse (2011), post_PRESETS. Kultur, Wissen und populäre MusikmachDinge (2016), the editor of Postcolonial Repercussions (2022 with Andi Schoon) among others. Ismaiel-Wendt is a founding member of the collective ARK [Arkestrated Rhythm Komplexities], a collective for post-representative sound lectures and installations on globally entangled histories of music, sampling cultures and drum machines. ARK presents its work in diverse exhibitions and live sessions.

Daniele G. Daude: The myth of opera analysis – for a situated opera

As a sub-area of musicological analysis, opera analysis is still largely understood and taught as opera music analysis in German-speaking countries. The focus is on the description and interpretation of the individual elements and their relationship to each other. More than in other European countries, German opera research is based on the sharp distinction between “the musical” and “the non-musical” (Hanslick, 1875). Firstly, this means that opera analysis is reduced to the realisation (not the performance) of logocentric elements (music texts, libretti, letters, etc.), which secondly explains the scenic elements as an executive realisation of the work (Dahlhaus, Danuser). Thirdly, this leads to opera researchers never recognising their ideological and cultural influences as well as their social positioning as elements of the analysis and presenting their work as universal, objective and a-historical. With the study of critical musicologists and theatre scholars in recent decades, this belief has been questioned and has provided several alternatives for new techniques and methods of opera analysis. My contribution raises the question of how to deal with ideologically charged material, the criteria of opera analysis and a critical systematic with a pedagogical purpose.

Daniele G. Daude
is a French-German scholar and dramaturge. Already during their music studies, Daniele G. Daude founded and conducted choirs and string ensembles. After graduating with honours in music from the Conservatoire National (Aubervilliers region), Daniele G. Daude completed their doctorate in theatre studies at the Freie Universität Berlin in 2011, specialising in performance analysis, and in musicology at the Université Paris 8 in 2013, specialising in opera analysis. Since 2008 Daniele G. Daude has been teaching at German and French universities. 2013-2015 Daniele G. Daude is Visiting Professor of Performing Arts at the Campus Caribéen des Arts (Martinique). 2016-2022 Daniele G. Daude is Maître* de Conferences for Aesthetics and Philosophie. In the same year, Daniele G. Daude founded the ensemble The String Archestra to perform works by Black, Indigenous and PoC composers that have been erased from a canonical musical historiography and a standardised concert repertoire. In 2021, The String Archestra received the TONALi Award for their longstanding work. Daniele G. Daude has been working as a dramaturge for concert, opera and theatre since 2016.

Maiko Kawabata: The New ‘Yellow Peril’ in Western European Symphony OrchestrasClassical Music Performance

The ‘Yellow Peril’ – a term referring to the historical racist phobia of invasion by foreigners, specifically East Asians – also describes a current problem among professional Western European orchestras. My interviews with ethnically Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Taiwanese musicians reveal that bullying, microaggressions, and discrimination occur in a range of settings from conservatoires to auditions, rehearsals, concerts, and tours. The reasons why the pervasive stereotypes of the soulless automaton or the perpetual outsider persist ultimately appear to be structural: the deeply entrenched Eurocentric hypocrisy that the ‘universal’ language of classical music belongs exclusively to white people reflects a white supremacist ideology. While U.S. scholars (Mari Yoshihara, Mina Yang, Grace Wang) have documented racism against East Asian and Asian-American classical musicians, Yellow-Perilism in Berlin, London or Vienna has received less attention in academic literature. To acknowledge existing inequality is a necessary first step if the sector is to become truly more diverse and inclusive.

Maiko Kawabata
(Reader in Music at the Royal College of Music and Staff Tutor in Music at the Open University) is an award-winning musicologist and professional violinist. She is the author of Paganini, the ‘Demonic’ Virtuoso and a co-editor of Exploring Virtuosities: Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst, Nineteenth-Century Musical Practices and Beyond. Her research interests include performance history, performance studies, gender studies, music and race. Maiko’s research into Japanese composer Kikuko Kanai was supported by the BBC and AHRC. She has played violin in orchestras and chamber ensembles throughout the UK, USA, and Germany.

Tsepo Bollwinkel Keele
thinks, writes and speaks about racialized identities and whiteness and the politics of the global majority – and at the same time is the first solo oboist at a German city theater in its 35th season, which is why a power-critical view of the cultural sector is a focus of her work.

Questions towards the Logics of Canonization in Art & Design Histories

The logics of canonization in art and design history for what is considered relevant in teaching, research and curating are deeply rooted in the longue durée of the respective disciplines (19th century for art history and early 20th century for design history). The panelists are theorists, practitioners, and both who challenge these Eurocentric logics from different perspectives in a methodological effort to diversify, pluralize, de-hierarchize, and decolonize the structures of canonization processes. The panel seeks to gather, focus and discuss approaches to critical and more inclusive ways of dealing with the canonical legacies of art and design history in the unlearning academia.

Işıl Eğrikavuk: How to collaborate? Building dialogues, co-creation, interconnectedness

In her presentation, Işıl Eğrikavuk will speak about her ongoing project at the UdK, ‘the Other Garden’, which she is running with her students, as well as her PhD thesis in which she collaborated with art and ecology collectives from Turkey.

Işıl Eğrikavuk 
studied Western literature at Boğaziçi University (Istanbul) then completed her MFA in performance art at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) with Koç Foundation scholarship. She earned her PhD degree in 2021 from Istanbul Bilgi University, with her thesis titled “From A Political Protest To An Art Exhibition: Building Interconnectedness Through Dialogue-Based Art”. Eğrikavuk lives in Berlin and works as a faculty member at Berlin University of Arts since 2017.

Mahmoud Keshavarz: In Search of Makers in Police Archives: Two Snapshots from Unlearning Histories of Making

What happens when police archives and not collections and museums become the canon for reading histories of making, craft and design? What do we see if we look at the histories of making and designing from the perspective of racialised deported makers and designers, whose criminalised making became the ground for deportation and exclusion from the national narratives of designing. This short talk, based on two snapshots from 1920s and 2000s taken from the Swedish police archive, sketches some ideas for unlearning the nationalised histories of making.

Mahmoud Keshavarz
is associate professor of cultural anthropology at Uppsala University, Sweden. His work focuses on how borders are shaped by the materials, images, designs, and technologies that have emerged through colonialism and continue to be present in our everyday lives. He is author of The Design Politics of Passport: Materiality, Immobility, and Dissent (Bloomsbury 2019), co-author of Seeing Like a Smuggler: Borders from Below (Pluto Press 2021), a founding member of Decolonizing Design and previously co-editor-in-chief of the journal Design and Culture.

Carolin Overhoff Ferreira: How can art be decolonized in theory and practice?

Decoloniality is a challenge to the Western idea of modernity, as it must be remembered that coloniality, i. e. colonial patterns of thought and action, was its program. This must be named and changed through the inclusion of non-Western epistemologies. Art, its history, theory and practice must face this challenge, as the hierarchization of art and artefact has led to the humiliation of other cultures and their art production. Western art, its teaching and its study are called upon to adopt decoloniality as a method. The article advocates this by describing this challenge from a Brazilian perspective.

Carolin Overhoff Ferreira
is professor (Associada) at the Department of Art History at the Federal University of São Paulo. She was Assistant Professor at the Catholic University of Portugal in Porto, postdoctoral researcher at the University of São Paulo, International Research Fellow at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge and Visiting Professor at the Universities of Coimbra and Bristol. She has taught at the Free University of Berlin and the University of Art and Design Hanover. In 2022, her monograph Dekoloniale Kunstgeschichte. Eine methodische Einführung was published by Deutscher Kunstverlag.

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Ableism is the discrimination of and social prejudice against people with differing physical and mental abilities and needs. It typically involves a negative assessment of a person’s body and mind due to skills and abilities, based on a supposed biological (physical and/or mental) norm of what an able-bodied, neurotypical person should be. Ableism can intersect with other forms of oppression such as racism and sexism. 

Adultism is the discrimination found in everyday life and law based on unequal power relationships between adults, on the one hand, and children, adolescents, and young people on the other. 

The General Equal Treatment Act (AGG), enforced since 2006, is the uniform central body of regulations in Germany for the implementation of four European anti-discrimination directives. For the first time, a law was created in Germany that comprehensively regulates protection against discrimination on the grounds of race, ethnicity, gender identification, religion or belief, ability, age, or sexual orientation.

Antisemitism is a belief system based on hatred/hostility towards or discrimination against Jewish people as a religious or racial group, Jewish institutions or anyone/anything that is perceived Jewish. Antisemitism varies over time and between cultures, with antisemitism intensifying in different historical moments.   

Accessibility names the extent to which a product, service, or environment can be used and accessed by as many people as possible. Inclusive accessibility therefore assesses the needs and desires of all possible people—including those who are neurodivergent or who have varying abilities—and incorporates these into its design and function. Changes to enable those with different abilities to have equal opportunity and participation are often referred to as accommodations.  

Harassment is undesired and non-consensual conduct that violates the dignity of another person. Harassment can often create intimidating, hostile, humiliating, or offensive environments, and can be based on someone’s sexual orientation, religion, national origin, disability, age, race, gender, and more. Harassment can take a variety of forms, including verbal, physical, and/or sexual. 

The gender binary is the classification of gender into two distinct and opposite categories of man/masculine and woman/feminine. This belief system assumes that one’s sex or gender assigned at birth will align with traditional social constructions of masculine and feminine identity, expression, and sexuality. Assignment beyond the gender binary is typically viewed as a deviation of the norm. 

Sex refers to a person’s biological status and is typically assigned at birth, usually based on external anatomy. Sex is typically categorized as male, female, or intersex. 

Cisgender, or simply cis, refers to people who identify with the gender assigned to them at birth. Cis comes from the Latin prefix which means “on this side of.” 

This concept, according to Birgit Rommelspacher, assumes that there is a system of hierarchies, rule and power in which the various racist, sexist, classist, and other forms of governance intertwine. In this interconnectedness, a dominant group maintains power, which is socially negotiated again and again. In a given society, the dominant group achieves their role by being perceived as pertaining to a majority of the population and having a significant presence in societal institutions. 

The prison-industrial complex (PIC) is a term that describes the complex and interrelated dependencies between a government and the various businesses and institutions that benefit from practices of incarceration (such as prisons, jails, detention facilities, and psychiatric hospitals). Based on the term “military-industrial complex,” PIC urges a more comprehensive analysis of how imprisonment is used in a society, noting all the interest groups that prioritize financial gain over keeping people out of prisons. 

Gender-expansive is an adjective that can describe someone with a more flexible and fluid gender identity than might be associated with the typical gender binary. 

Gender is often defined as a social construct of norms, behaviors, and roles that vary between societies and over time. Gender is often categorized as male, female, or nonbinary. 

Gender transition is a process a person might take to bring themselves and/or their bodies into alignment with their gender identity. This process is not a singular step nor does it have a definite end. Rather, it can include any, none, or all of the following: telling one’s family and social circles; changing one’s name and pronouns; updating legal documents; medical interventions such as hormone therapy; or surgical intervention, often called gender confirmation surgery. 

Gender expression is how a person presents gender outwardly, most typically signalled through clothing, voice, behavior, and other perceived characteristics. Society identifies these cues and performances as masculine or feminine, although what is considered masculine or feminine varies over time and between cultures.  

Gender dysphoria refers to psychological distress that results from the incongruence between one’s sex assigned at birth and one’s gender identity. People of all genders may experience dysphoria at varying levels of intensity, or not at all. 

Gender identity is one’s own internal sense of self and their gender. Unlike gender expression, gender identity is not externally visible to others. 

Heteronormativity is the concept that heterosexuality—romantic and/or sexual attraction between people of the “opposite” gender—is the normative or acceptable sexual orientation in a society. Heteronormativity assumes the gender binary, and therefore involves a belief in the alignment between sexuality, gender identity, gender roles, and biological sex. As a dominant social norm, heteronormativity results in discrimination and oppression against those who do not identify as heterosexual.   

Hormone therapy, sometimes called gender-affirming hormone therapy (GAHT) or hormone replacement therapy (HRT), is the process by which sex hormones or other hormonal medications are administered. These hormone changes can trigger physical changes, called secondary sex characteristics, that can help better align the body with a person’s gender identity.

Institutional discrimination refers to prejudiced organizational policies and practices within institutions – such as universities, workplaces, and more – such that an individual or groups of individuals who are marginalized are unequally considered and have unequal rights. 

Inter*, or intersex, is an umbrella term that can describe people who have differences in reproductive anatomy, chromosomes, or hormones that do not fit typical definitions of male and female. The asterisks (*) emphasizes the plurality of intersex realities and physicalities. 

Intergenerational trauma refers to the trauma that is passed from a trauma survivor to their descendent. Due to violent and terrifying events—such as war, ethnic cleansing, political conflict, environmental catastrophe, and more—experienced by previous generations, descendants may experience adverse emotional, physical, and psychological effects. As the original sources of trauma are structured by forms of discrimination such as race and gender, intergenerational trauma also occurs along intersectional axes of oppression. For example, Black communities have brought to light the intergenerational trauma of enslavement. 
Intergenerational trauma is sometimes called historical trauma, multi- or transgenerational trauma, or secondary traumatization. 

Intersectionality names the interconnected nature of systems of oppression and social categorizations such as race, gender, sexuality, migratory background, and class. Intersectionality emphasizes how individual forms of discrimination do not exist independently of each other, nor can they be considered and addressed independently. Rather, addressing oppression should take into account the cumulative and interconnected axes of multiple forms of discrimination. 

Islamophobia is a belief system based on hatred/hostility towards or discrimination against Muslim people as a religious or racial group, muslim institutions or anyone/anything that is perceived Muslim. Islamophobia varies over time and between cultures, with Islamophobia intensifying in different historical moments.

Classism is a term that describes discrimination based on the belief that a person’s social or economic status determines their value in society. Classism, as a form of discrimination and stigmatization, is based on actual or assumed financial means, educational status, and social inclusion. “Inferior” classes in the hierarchy are problematised and stereotyped, and often receive unequal access and rights within society. 

Colonialism is the control and dominance of one power over a dependent area or people. In subjugating another people and land, colonialism entails violently conquering the population, often including mass displacement of people and the systematic exploitation of resources. Beyond material consequences, colonialism also includes processes of forcing the dominant power’s language and cultural values upon the subjugated people, thereby effecting cultural, psychological, and intergenerational trauma. 

Culturally argued racism is directed against people based on their presumed cultural or religious background. This form of discrimination can occur regardless of whether they actually practice one culture or religion and how religious they are (e.g. anti-Muslim racism and anti-Semitism). 

Cultural appropriation is the act of taking on aspects of a marginalized culture by a person or an institution who is outside of that culture, without comprehensive understanding of the context and often lacking respect for the significance of the original. Cultural appropriation, when promoting negative cultural or racial stereotypes, reproduces harm. Acts of cultural appropriation can often reveal power dynamics within a society: for example, a white person who wears a marginalized culture’s traditional dress is praised as fashionable, while a racialized person could be isolated from the dominant group and marked as foreign.  

Marginalization describes any process of displacing minorities to the social fringe. As a rule, marginalised groups are presumed to not correspond to the norm-oriented majority of society and are severely restricted in their ability to behave freely, have equal material access, enjoy public safety, and more.  

Microaggression names individual comments or actions that unconsciously or consciously demonstrate prejudice and enact discrimination against members of marginalized groups. As small, common, and cumulative occurrences, microaggressions can comprise of insults, stereotypes, devaluation, and/or exclusion. Microaggressions often negatively affect the person on the receiving end, affecting their psychological and physical health and wellbeing. 

Misogyny is a term for sexist oppression and contempt for women that is used to keep women at a lower social status than men, thereby maintaining patriarchal social roles. Misogyny can indicate an attitude held by individuals and a widespread cultural system that often devalues anything perceived as feminine. Misogyny can overlap with other instances of oppression and hate—such as homophobia, trans*-misogyny, and racism. 

Neurodiversity is a term that describes the unique ways each person’s brain structures function. The basic assumption of what kind of brain functioning is healthy and acceptable within a norm-oriented majority society is called neurotypical. 

Nonbinary is a term that can be used by persons who do not describe themselves or their genders as fitting into the binary categories of man or woman. A range of terms are used for these experiences, with nonbinary and genderqueer often used. 

Patriarchy is a social system whereby cis men dominantly hold positions of privilege both in public and private spheres. In feminist theory, patriarchy can be used to describe the power relationship between genders that favors male dominance, as well as the ideology of male superiority that justifies and enacts oppression against women and all non-normative genders. 

Pronouns, or personal gender pronouns (PGPs), are the set of pronouns that an individual uses to refer to themselves and desires for others to use when referring to them. The list of pronouns is continuously evolving. An individual may have several sets of preferred pronouns, or none. The intention of both asking and using a person’s pronouns correctly is to reduce the negative societal effects for those whose personal pronouns don’t match with the gender identity that’s assumed by a cisnormative society. Using gender-neutral wording and terms to refer to groups of people (such as “folks,” instead of “guys”) are also inclusive steps that resist the gender binary and cis-normativity. 

Racism is the process by which systems, policies, actions, and attitudes create unequal opportunities and outcomes for people based on race. More than individual or institutional prejudice, racism occurs when this discrimination is accompanied by the power to limit or oppress the rights of people and/or groups. Racism varies over time and between cultures, with racism towards different groups intensifying in different historical moments.   

Sex-gender difference names the distinction between the concept of “sex” as a biological fact and the concept of “gender” as a product of cultural and social processes, such as socially constructed roles, behaviours, expressions and gendered identities.

Sexism is the process by which systems, policies, actions, and attitudes create unequal opportunities and outcomes for people based on their attributed or supposed sex and the ideology underlying these phenomena. It is mostly used to name the power relations between dominant and marginalised genders within cisheteronormative patriarchal societies.

Sexual orientation is the term that describes which sex or gender a person feels emotionally, physically, romantically and/or sexually attracted to.

Social origin describes the socio-cultural values and norms into which one is born, including factors such as environment, class, caste, education biography, and more. The values that accompany one’s social origin are constructed, but often have material impact that privileges or under-privileges certain groups and people. For example, someone whose social origin includes living in a Western country, inheriting intergenerational wealth, and having a consistently good education will increase their chances for a high-paying job as an adult. Their social origin must therefore be taken into account, rather than their inherent worthiness for such a job. 

A social norm is a shared belief in the standard of acceptable behaviour by groups, both informal as well as institutionalized into policy or law. Social norms differ over time and between cultures and societies. 

Socioeconomic status, usually described as low, medium, or high, is a way of describing people based on their education, income, and type of job. The values and norms assigned to each socioeconomic class are socially constructed but have material impact. 

Structural discrimination refers to patterns of behaviour, policies, and attitudes found at the macro-level conditions of society. This discrimination of social groups is based on the nature of the structure of society as a whole. Structural discrimination is distinct from individual forms of discrimination (such as a single racist remark, which is a microaggression), though it often provides the contextual framework to understand why these individual instances occur. 

Tokenism is a superficial or symbolic gesture that includes minority members without significantly changing or addressing the structural discrimination of marginalization. Tokenism is a strategy intended to create the appearance of inclusion and to divert allegations of discrimination by requiring a single person to be representative of a minority. 

White supremacy names the beliefs and practices that privilege white people as an inherently superior race, built on the exclusion and detriment of other racial and ethnic groups. It can refer to the interconnected social, economic, and political systems that enable white people to enjoy structural advantages over other racial groups both on a collective and individual level. It can also refer to the underlying political ideology that imposes and maintains multiple forms of domination by white people and non-white supporters, from justifying European colonialism to present-day neo-fascisms. 

Whiteness is a socially and politically constructed behaviour that perpetuates an ideology, culture, history, and economy that results in the unequal distribution of power and privilege favoring those socially deemed white. The material benefits of whiteness are gained at the expense of Black, Indigenous, and people of color, who are systematically denied equal access to those material benefits. 
On our blog, white is often written in small italics to mark it as a political category and emphasize the privileges of whiteness which are often not named as such, but rather taken for granted as the invisible norm. 

Xenophobia names the hostility towards groups or individuals perceived as “outsiders” based on their culture. Xenophobic attitudes are often associated with hostile reception of immigrants or refugees who arrive in societies and communities that are not their homelands. Xenophobic discrimination can result in barriers to equally access socioeconomic opportunities, as well as ethnic, racial, or religious prejudice.

Abolition is a term that names officially ending a system, practice, or institution. Rooted in 19th century movements to abolish slavery, present day abolitionism is often invoked to end the practice of policing and military and/or the interconnected carceral systems of prisons, refugee camps, detention centers, and more. For more, see the definition of prison-industrial complex). 

Accountability is the obligation and willingness to accept responsibility for one’s actions. In the context of social justice, accountability refers to the ways in which individuals and communities hold themselves to their principles and goals, as well as acknowledging the groups to which they are responsible. Accountability often requires a transparent process and continuous self- and collective awareness. 

Ageism is discrimination or prejudice based on a person’s age, such as when skills and abilities are questioned and assessed based on one’s older or younger age. 

Agender is an adjective that can be used by persons who do not identify as any gender.

BIPoC stands for Black, Indigenous and people of color. A term that originated in the U.S., it is a self-designation intended to center the specific experiences of Black, Indigenous, and other racialized groups, who are severely impacted by systemic racial injustice rooted in histories of enslavement and colonialism, and to unite people and groups affected by racism. 

Colorism is a term that describes the prejudice or discrimination favoring people with lighter skin tones over those with darker skin tones. This is especially used to describe the nuanced discrimination faced within a racial or ethnic group. 

The Critical Diversity Policy at UdK is a document whose intention is to emphasize and enforce the idea that differences in values, attitudes, cultural perspective, beliefs, ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientation, gender identity, abilities, knowledge and life experiences of each individual in each group of people should be considered and overcome within the university.

Deadnaming is the act of calling a trans*, nonbinary, or gender-expansive person by their birth name, or an incorrect name, when they have changed their name as part of their gender expression. It is never okay or necessary to use a person’s deadname when they have changed their name, including when describing past events. If you deadname someone, take accountability by apologizing and commit to not doing so in the future. Take steps to know someone’s current name and commit to using it.   

This sociological term focuses on how people observe, (re-)produce, and make gender relevant in everyday life. Rather than taking gender as an innate quality, the acts of “doing gender” emphasize how gender is a social construct that is prevalent in daily human interaction. 

Misogynoir is a term, coined by Black feminist Moya Bailey in 2010, that describes the gendered and racial oppression faced by Black cis and transgender women (the latter sometimes referred to as trans*-misogynoir). Taking an intersectional lens, misogynoir examines how anti-Black racism and misogyny combine into a particular form of oppression and discrimination. 

Queer is an umbrella term for people who are not heterosexual or cisgender. It Is used for a broad spectrum of non-normative sexual and/or gender identities and politics. 

Safer spaces are intended to be places where marginalized communities can gather and communicate shared experiences, free of bias, conflict, or harm perpetrated by members of a dominant group. Recognizing that there is no such thing as a perfectly safe space for marginalized people under the current systems of our society, the term “safer” indicates the goal of temporary relief, as well as acknowledging the fact that harm can be reproduced even within marginalized communities. 
Examples of safer spaces created in organizations and institutions are queer-only spaces and/or spaces only for Black, Indigenous, and people of color. 

Social justice is a form of activism and political movement that promotes the process of transforming society from an injust and unequal state to one that is just and equitable. Social justice is rooted in the view that everyone deserves equal economic, political, and social rights and opportunities, and the fundamental right to feel psychologically and physically secure. Social justice therefore aims to change governing laws and societal norms that have historically and presently oppressed some groups over others. Social justice is not just the absence of discrimination, but also the presence of deliberate systems and supports that achieve and sustain equity along lines of race, gender, class, ability, religion, and more. 

Transgender, or simply trans*, is an adjective that refers to people whose gender identity is different than the sex assigned at birth. Trans comes from the Latin prefix which means “across” or “beyond.” The self-designation is not an identity feature that automatically indicates whether this person identifies with a different gender, no gender or multiple genders. Thus, there are several trans* identities. The asterisks (*) emphasizes the plurality and fluidity of trans identities.