We are interested in the question as to how affect-articulations and affective communication contribute towards shaping the social context of school life and thus provides information about the social conditions of migration societies at large. Following John Dewey, we understand school as a kind of societal microcosm of the wider society, in which the affectivity of the migration society is introduced and manifests itself. School, furthermore, is not only a place where the formal mediation of knowledge and skills takes place, rather it must be understood as a Bildungsraum, an educational space or learning environment (see Winkler 20014) that has a lasting and definitive influence on social positions in later adult life as members of the wider society. We are working on the assumption that affective communication plays an important part in this process, and that its role, has to date, been relatively under-researched in the field of pedagogy. Fear and threat as a trope of affective communication in school is part of our research focus. It is however not reduced to this investigation alone but rather seeks to examine the significance of fear and threat within the larger framework of our overall research on affective communication in school and thus in society at large.


  • What and or who is considered as a threat?
  • What and or who is pitied?
  • Who experiences shame – how does it manifest itself?
  • Who can/does express which affects?
  • Whose affect-articulations are recognised and acted upon and whose are disregarded?
  • Are affects (fear, anger, sadness, inhibition, exuberance, apathy etc.) interpreted equally according to the subject position (migrant, male, female, gay, lower class, Muslim, black, white etc) of the person manifesting the affect?
  • What spaces exist in schools to negotiate difficult affects?
  • Who is responsible for these negotiations and what is the educational background of their specialist competency?


We are first and foremost interested in examining affect – not so much in terms of the psychological implication to individuals, although this invariably comes into play, rather, we are interested in examining affect in its wider placement, entanglements and function in society. We aim to examine how affect is performatively negotiated within the specific social/material power constellation of teacher-training (Kollegium – Fortbildung) contexts withing schools and what the consequences of these performances are for those expressing or being impacted by the affective enunciation. In other words, it is an ethnographic study of how affect is generated, manifest and performed within the microcosm of the collegial teacher-training context and as such in the wider community and how that points to the underlying power constructions in society that shape these possible expressions and their impact in the world.

Dr. Monica van der Haagen-Wulff

University of Cologne, Cultural Sociology in the Department of Education and Social Sciences at the Faculty of Humanities

Doctorate of Creative Arts (DCA),  Associate Lecturer 

hier: ACP-Forschungsthema

Migration, Language, Culture and Discourse

Projects in this cluster cover a wide range of topics, including social integration, national isolationism, cultural identity, xenophobia, racism, etc.


Monica van der Haagen-Wulff (*1965), Doctorate of Creative Arts (DCA), is an Associate Lecturer at the Chair for Education and Cultural Sociology in the Department of Education and Social Sciences at the Faculty of Humanities, University of Cologne.  Her teaching and research interests include: Cultural- and Postcolonial Studies, Migration, Intersectionality, post- and decolonial feminist theories, Globalisation, Global Cities, Affect Theories, Embodiement, Fictocritical Writing, Critical Heritage und Historical Memory Studies. Monica has an intercultural dance and performance background, and her main research focus is on how practice and theory can be merged to create new knowledges, and in so doing decentre Eurocentric knowledge constructions. She is interested in questions of critical heritage, exploring, in particular, the possibilities of embodied ways of understanding and remembering history. In her role as university teacher, she is inspired by bell hooks’ Engaged Pedagogy, that sees the classroom as the most radical space of possibility in the academy and teaching as a celebration that enables transgression in the form of movement against and beyond boundaries (1994) and able to affect social change. She is an active member of the German Network for Anti-Racist School-Pedagogy (Netzwerk Rassismuskritische Schulpädagogik), as well as a founding member of the Forum Decolonizing Academia at the University of Cologne. Most recently she is the recipient of an AICGS Exchange fellowship “Social Divisions and Questions of Identity in Germany and the United States (2022-2023) from the Johns Hopkins University, USA. She has published in international academic journals, but she also considers Performance as part of her theoretical output and has performed in Australia and internationally.