Dr. Agata A. Lisiak (Postdoctoral Researcher)
In her project within TRANSFORmIG, Agata Lisiak develops the notion of immigrant mothers as agents of change. National discourses on motherhood, family, and migration continue to impact our daily lives in ways that are discriminatory and limiting: they privilege the dominant nation and the dominant classes and, thus, further deepen social inequalities, both within individual nation states and between them. By literally leaving behind national ideals of motherhood into which they had been socialized and encountering on a daily basis different national ideals of motherhood present in the host society, immigrant mothers are in a unique position to question both. Moreover, since mothers play a central role in transmitting cultural capital on a transnational and transgenerational scale, the regular exposure of immigrant mothers to diversity in general and especially to diverse mothering practices and discourses leads, through social remittances, to a transformation of the understanding and performance of motherhood in the sending country. With her expertise in urban studies, gender studies, and visual studies, Agata inquires into everyday practices of mothering in diverse urban contexts and the discourses and norms that influence said practices. She investigates how immigrant women practice motherhood locally and transnationally and how they negotiate various nationalized, classed, and gendered ideologies of motherhood. Agata’s ethnographic research in Berlin, Munich, London, and Birmingham centers on everyday encounters, observations, and displays performed by immigrant mothers in urban space.
She holds a doctoral degree in Media and Communication Studies (University of Halle-Wittenberg, 2009), an MPhil in Literature (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam 2005), and an MA in International Relations (University of Economics in Poznan 2002). She was a postdoc researcher at the National Sun Yat-Sen University in Kaohsiung (2009) and the 2013-14 EURIAS Junior Fellow at the Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen in Vienna. Aside from conducting seminars at Humboldt University's Urban Sociology Department, Agata teaches at Bard College Berlin. She has also worked as an organizer and coordinator of cultural events including festivals, readings, lecture series, and conferences.
Agata is the author of Urban Cultures in (Post)Colonial Central Europe (Purdue University Press 2010) as well as articles and book chapters on media representations of the city, urban image, urban text, cultural memory in urban space, and, more generally, Central and East European cultures after 1989. She is interested in visual cultures, everyday urban cultures, spatialities and visualities of migration, and developing ethnographic methodologies for researching said issues.