Aura Topan

Anamaria Topan carried out her university studies in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, earning her B.A. in European Studies at the Babes-Bolyai University. Several years of work followed, first as an advisor at the Babes Bolyai Center for International Studies, then as a project manager at the Ethnocultural Diversity Research Center. A strong desire to engage in a more research-oriented work translated in pursuing a Master’s degree in social sciences at the Faculty of Sociology in Freiburg, Germany. She attended the Global Studies Program with the support of a DAAD scholarship. The program took place in collaboration with two other universities, the Kwazulu-Natal University in Durban, South Africa, and Jawaharlal University in New Delhi, India. After the completion of the master’s program emerged the desire to deepen the research work in social sciences. She started a doctorate at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in München, Germany, also working as a lecturer at the Institute of Sociology. The doctorate was continued at the University of Innsbruck, Austria and the research is being carried out at the Institute of Sociology under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Frank Welz, who was also the Director of the Global Studies Program in Freiburg.


Dissertationsprojekt: Refugee Journeys as Catalysts of Transformed Subjectivities

The research focuses on the path the refugees take to and in the country of destination, with the aim to provide a contextualized and authentic understanding of refugee experiences, their needs and demands. The arguments are constructed around the theory of performativity by Judith Butler. From her iconic articulation of the relationship between gender and performativity, she extends the main tenants of her theory in her later work to precarious bodies: the poor and the disenfranchised. The research follows Butler’s argument that political articulation is inextricably linked with bodies, (the refugees), with their needs, the desires, and the complexity of their decisions. The thesis investigates whether vulnerability and precarity are mobilized throughout the journey to produce agency, at the individual and/or collective level; specifically, how does the bodily performativity of refugees operate in order produce claims and demands at the social and political level. In this way, the thesis wants to help redefine the existing framework of refugee studies by providing an account of the complex figure of the refugee and the process of refuge itself, especially in revealing the potential for political agency in finding and negotiating their place in the social realm.




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