Dr. Kathrin Thiele

Universitair hoofddocent

Research Profile

I am Associate Professor of Gender Studies and Critical Theory in the Department of Media and Culture Studies (MCW) at Utrecht University. Since 2023, I direct the Graduate Gender Programme (GGeP) and I am also Academic Director of the Netherlands Research School of Gender Studies (NOG), which is hosted by Utrecht University.

Trained transdisciplinarily in Gender Studies, Sociology, Literary Studies and Critical Theory, my research engages with questions of critical inquiry, ethics and politics from queer feminist, decolonial and posthuman(ist) philosophical perspectives. My work aims to intervene in discussions around differences, in/equality, de/coloniality, ecologies and post/humanisms, and my critical attention lies most of all with the troubling consequences of a relational understanding of the world. I deeply engage with the inherent frictions, the processes of in/exclusion and the always asymmetrical power relations we inhabit.

Most recently, I initiated (together with Ida Hansen) the Relational Matters Archive, a series of online conversations that collects plurivocal insights on how relationality as a matter of concern can help us attune to the specificity of today's planetary condition. With this project I also aim to strengthen critically-aware theorization in the broader humanities and beyond academic contexts.

Together with Birgit M. Kaiser I have founded and coordinate since 2012 Terra Critica: Interdisciplinary Network for the Critical Humanities . This research consortium consists of an international group of researchers engaged in re-examining critique under the conditions of the twenty-first century, strengthening the Critical Humanities as a crucial site for meaningful analyses of our present times. Terra Critica also has a local practice 'ReadingRoom', organized together with Utrecht based Casco Art Institute .


Selected Publications

The Ends of Critique re-examines the stakes of critique in the 21st century. In view of increasingly complex socio-political realities and shifts in a fully globalized world, the roles and manners of critique also change. The volume offers an unprecedented re-examination of critique under those conditions of global entanglement and asymmetrical relations from a diversity of scholarly perspectives within the humanities.

Informed by feminist/queer studies, postcolonial theory, cultural analysis, and critical posthumanism, Biopolitics, Necropolitics, Cosmopolitics engages with longstanding questions of biopolitics and necropolitics in an era of neoliberalism and late capitalism, but does so by calling for a more inclusive (and less violent) cosmopolitical framework. This posthuman(ist) and post-/decolonial approach has potential for transformation that can lead to social justice.

special issue philoSOPHIA vol 8/1 (2018) on Returning (to) the Question of the Human

Doing Gender in Media, Art and Culture (edited with R. Buikema & L. Plate, Routledge 2018). "Doing Gender in Media, Art and Culture, 2nd edition is a comprehensive gender studies textbook with an international focus and relevance across a broad range of academic disciplines. Covering an array of topics, theories and approaches to gender studies, it introduces students to the study of gender through geographically diverse case studies on different historical and contemporary figures."

Diffracted Worlds - Diffractive Readings (SPIB Series Routledge, 2018)

Symptoms of the Planetary Condition: A Critical Vocabulary (edited with M. Bunz & B.M. Kaiser, meson press 2017). "This book explores the future of critique in view of our planetary condition. How are we to intervene in contemporary constellations of finance capitalism, climate change and neoliberalism? Think we must! To get to the symptoms, the book’s 38 terms ranging from affect and affirmation to world and work provide the reader with a critical toolbox to be continued. Negativity, judgment and opposition as modes of critique have run out of steam. Critique as an attitude and a manner of enquiry has not."

Doing Gender in Medien-, Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften: Eine Einführung (edited with R. Buikema, Lit 2017)

Parallax special issue "Diffracted Worlds - Diffractive Readings" (edited with B.M. Kaiser2014)

The Thought of Becoming: Gilles Deleuze's Poetics of Life (Diaphanes 2008) "Instead of understanding philosophy and ethics as abstractions from the world, in this book I argue in what sense both are constructive of it; and instead of following the common opinion that the poststructuralist philosopher Gilles Deleuze cannot contribute anything to ethical debates, I explicate via a feminist Deleuzian interpretation that Deleuze's whole work speaks but one formula: 'ontology = ethics'."