Sigrid Schmitz, Prof. Dr.

Chair Gender Studies, University of Vienna, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology

Scientific Head of the Gender Research Office [Referat Genderforschung]

Sigrid Schmitz currently holds the chair of Gender Studies at the University of Vienna. With a PhD in biology (1992) her research and teaching covers approaches in Gender & Science Technology Studies since more than 20 years. 1999-2009 she was university lecturer at the University of Freiburg/Germany, where she initialised and headed the Forum of Competence “Gender Studies in Computer and Natural Sciences“ [gin] together with Prof. Britta Schinzel. She was visiting professor at the University of Graz/Austria (2003), at the Humboldt University of Berlin (2008) and at the University of Oldenburg/Gemany (2009/2010).

Research interests within the NeuroGenderigns network:

My research covers analyses of modes of knowledge production within the field of brain research (starting with the project GERDA at University of Freiburg, Germany in 1999). I have dismantled and published analyses on dichotomous biologist attributions to gendered skills, attitudes and behaviors and analyzed methodological and interpretative biases as well as the constructive nature of brain images. I established brain plasticity concepts in gender research to stress the experience based formation of the brain.

My current work focuses on the developments of current neurocultures, in which disciplines also from “outside” the brain sciences refer to seemingly neuroscientific “facts” to explain and legitimize social (gender*) relations and significations of genders and other groups. One focus of my work lies on the conflicting use of neuro-technological interventions in current brain politics. Grounded in the epistemological framework of feminist materialism, I emphasizes the cyborgian nature of the malleable bio-techno-socio-cultural subject (a term that I in elaborated Schmitz 2012, Neuroethics) to take these intra-active becomings in assemblages of between matter, discourse, scientific apparatuses of knowledge production, meaning and power relations within current neuro- and bio-politics into detailed research (research projects on brain-computer interfaces, neuro-economies, neuro-enhancement).

In 2012 I have organized the second conference of the network NeuroGenderings, NeuroCultures – NeuroGendrings II“, at the University of Vienna in 2012 (anthology of the papers, see Schmitz/Höppner, 2014).