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Prof. Dr. Claudia Liebelt

PD Dr. Claudia Liebelt

Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology

University Professor for Social und Cultural Anthropology and Executive Director of WE 04 (Social and Cultural Anthropology)

PI Berlin Graduate School of Muslim Cultures and Societies; Director of the Research Team "Gender, Body, Sexualities"

Landoltweg 9-11
Room 105
14195 Berlin
Kindly contact me by email only

Office hours

My consultation hour takes place Monday, 2.30-4 pm. Please contact my student assistant to arrange for a meeting: moxi.ochsenbauer@fu-berlin.de

Research interests

 My research interests are in the anthropology of the body and the senses, gender and sexuality, religion, migration and Critical Beauty Studies as well as debates on new materialism, toxicity and postsecularism.

My current research revolves around questions of transnational formations of the self, notions of hygiene, smell/smelling and the use of fragrances. My regional expertise is in the Middle East, with ethnographic research in Turkey, Israel and Morocco, as well as the Philippines.

I am a founding member and speaker of the working group “Gender & Sexualities | Queer Anthropology” in the German Anthropological Association (DGSKA) and a review editor for Sociologus–Journal for Social Anthropology.


 Academic Positions and Education

  • since August 2022: Professor for Social- and Cultural Anthropology, FU Berlin, Head of the research area "Gender, Body, Sexualities"

  • April 2020–July 2021: Heisenberg Position at the Chair of Social Anthropology, University of Bayreuth; denomination: “Gender, Body, Beauty: Transnational Formations of the Self”
  • Oct. 2019–March 2020: Guest Professorship for Gender & Diversity Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Freie Universität Berlin
  • June 2019: Dr. habil. and venia legendi in Social and Cultural Anthropology; title of habilitation thesis: “Istanbul Appearances: beauty and the making of middle-class femininities in urban Turkey,” Faculty of Cultural Studies, Bayreuth University (Germany)
  • April-July 2017: Chair of Social Anthropology (W3; in replacement of Prof. Erdmute Alber), Bayreuth University
  • 2013–2018: Principle Investigator ('Eigene Stelle') of a large grant research project on Aesthetic Body Modifications and Femininity in a Global City: cultures of Beauty in Istanbul funded by the German Research Foundation (No. LI 2357/1-1; on leave from position at the Chair of Social Anthropology, Sept. 2013–April 2016)
  • 2012–2013: Parental leave
  • 2010–2019: Assistant Professor (“Akademische Rätin”) at the Chair of Social Anthropology, University of Bayreuth
  • Nov. 2010: Dr. phil. in Social Anthropology (summa cum laude), “Caring for the ‘Holy Land’: Transnational Filipina Care Workers in the Israeli Migration Regime,” Faculty of Philosophy I, Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (Germany)
  • 2009–2010: Honorary Research Fellow, Research Institute for Law, Politics & Justice, Keele University (UK)
  • 2007–2009: Research Fellow, in the AHRC-project In the Footsteps of Jesus and the Prophet: Sociality, Caring, and the Religious Imagination in the Filipina Diaspora (PI: Prof. Pnina Werbner), Research Institute for Law, Politics & Justice, Keele University (UK)
  • 2005-2008: PhD Fellow, Graduate School Culture and Society in Motion (formerly Asia and Africa in World Reference Systems), Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg
  • 2003-2008: PhD candidate, international co-tutelle arrangement; supervisors: Prof. Dr. Burkhard Schnepel (Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany) and Prof. Dr. Eyal Ben-Ari (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel)
  • Aug. 2003: Magistra Artium (MPhil), Cultural and Social Anthropology (major), Islamic Studies and Sociology, University of Cologne; graduated with honours (equivalent to 1st grade)
  • 1997–2003: Studies in Cultural and Social Anthropology, Sociology, Islamic Studies and the History of Arts, University of Cologne (Germany)


Winter 2023/2024 - Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology FU Berlin

- BA Themen und Theorien der SKA

- BA Soziale Beziehungen

- BA Care: Anthropologische Perspektiven

- ABV Berufsfeldorientierung: Berlin Anthropology Seminars

- MA Forschungsprojekt

- MA Forschungsauswertung

Supervision activities

I supervise BA- and MA theses and PhD dissertations in the fields of anthropology of the body and the senses, political anthropology, gender and sexuality, religion and Critical Beauty Studies.

At the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology I occupy the research focus on "Gender, Bodies, Sexualities and Societies of the Middle East and North Africa" and I am head of the research area "Gender, Body, Sexualities"

My current research project is on "Aesthetic Citizenship: Formations of the Gendered Self and Imaginations of Urban Modernity in the Chinese Periphery" (2021–2024, funding: German Research Foundation; Project staff member: Anne Kukuczka)

Within the SFB 1171 Affective Societies, I am leading the sub-project "Olfactory Belonging: Contested Scents in Urban Publics" since July 2023.

Previously, I conducted research on the olfactories of hygiene within the framework of a Heisenberg position, i.e. on the significance of personal hygiene, smell and fragrances in Turkey and the Turkish diaspora in Germany.

Between 2013–2018, I conducted a project on “Aesthetic Body Modifications and Femininity in a Global City: Cultures of Beauty in Istanbul” (funding: German Research Foundation), which resulted in a habilitation on the topic.

Between 2007–2010 I was part of an interdisciplinary research project at Keele University (UK) on "Sociality, Caring and the Religious Imagination in the Filipino Diaspora" (PI: Prof. Pnina Werbner).