Christine Hentschel

Christine Hentschel studied political science, Francophone cultures, and comparative religious studies at Universität Leipzig and the Institut d'Études Politiques de Paris. Her PhD-thesis, “The Spatial Life of Security: Durban, South Africa” (2010), explores practices of (self-)governance and survival in a post-apartheid city where the fear of becoming a victim of violent crime pervades people's lives. Hentschel's research builds on theoretical inspiration from spatial theory, critical criminology, political anthropology, and governmentality studies. Influenced by the call to postcolonize urban research, she has recently taken her interest in cities from downtown Durban to her own neighborhood of Berlin-Neukölln – a place branded as poor, violent, and failing that now rapidly changes its guise. In “KippCity”, her postdoctoral project at the Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICI) Berlin (2010/2011), Hentschel attends to Neukölln's “flickering urbanity” through a combined methodology of urban ethnography and textual and visual analysis.

Her project as Rechtskulturen-fellow, "The Legal Life of Urban Spaces" (2011/12), further develops this inquiry by investigating the workings of law in contemporary city making, for example, in the (non-)regulation of casinos and the use of vacant business spaces, as well as in the political and legal debates about the future of the iconic Airport Tempelhof. Through an analysis of the troubled and contested transformation of Berlin-Neukölln, the project seeks to conceptualize how new urban social orders are negotiated and societal norms remodeled and displayed in and through space.