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Prof. Dr. Claudia Liebelt

PD Dr. Claudia Liebelt

Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology

Professor for Social- und 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

During Summer Semester 2023 (17.4.23 - 21.07.23):
From 17.04.2023: Monday 13.00 -14.00 on site (room 105, Landoltweg 9-11) or via Webex (room https://fu-berlin.webex.com/meet/claudia.liebelt)
Only after registration via my student assistant Mirjam Oschwald until 4 p.m. on Friday before the appointment at the latest, email: m.oschwald@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)


Summer 23 - Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology FU Berlin

- BA Methoden der Sozial- und Kulturanthropologie

- BA Beauty Politics

- BA Religion und Ritual: Eine Einführung

- ABV Berufsfeldorientierung: Introducing the "Berlin Anthropology Seminars"

- MA Forschungsplanung

- MA Gender and Sexualities in der MENA Region

Supervision activities

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

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)

My current research interests are on Scents and Olfactory Belonging and Beauty and the Making of Middle-Class Femininities in Urban Turkey.

Until recently, I conducted research on the “Olfactories of Hygiene,” i.e. the social, cultural and affective configurations of hand sanitizer, bodily hygiene and smell during the COVID-19 pandemic in Turkey and 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 on "Sociality, Caring and the Religious Imagination in the Filipino Diaspora" (PI: Prof. Pnina Werbner, funding: Arts and Humanities Resaerch Council).


Berlin Southern Theory Lecture