Kick-off Events

The ZivDem project was launched in the summer of 2022. Two events represented ZivDem’s kick-off:

At the 28th International Conference of Europeanists CES “The Environment of Democracy,” on June 20-22, 2022, at the Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL), Mareike Gebhardt, Lena Laube, and Maria Ullrich presented the research group’s initial preliminary assumptions in a panel on “Migrant Rights Activism and Legal Support: Contestation or Conformation?” (organized by Saskia Bonjour and Sonja Evaldsson Mellström, both University of Amsterdam).

For its official kick-off, all members of ZivDem met on August 24, 2022, at FIW Bonn.

Forschungsgruppe ZivDem
Working meeting of the research group at FIW Bonn © ZivDem

Workshop: Social and Legal Sciences on the High Seas 

On April 5 and 6, 2023, the workshop "Social and Legal Sciences on the High Seas" took place at the University of Münster in the Karl Bender Hall of the Juridicum. The workshop was hosted by the ZivDem research group, the Chair of Public International Law and International Human Rights Protection, and the Junior Professorship of Political Theory. The main purpose of the workshop was for the three teams to get to know each other and to identify common research interests and intersections in order to explore further collaboration. 

The participants were Svenja Ahlhaus, Iman Al Nassre, Sebastian Benedikt, Fabian Endemann, Mareike Gebhardt, Lena Laube, Nora Markard, Eva Schmidt, Sarah Spasiano, Marlene Stiller, Pia Storff, and Maria Ullrich.

Gruppenfoto Workshop Münster
© ZivDem
© ZivDem

The Open ZivDem Research Colloquium invites (prospective) scholars on migration and border politics in different stages of their academic careers. From an interdisciplinary perspective, we discuss the relationship between Search and Rescue Missions, border politics, and democracy.

The research colloquium is a platform and extended network of ZivDem. It is open to interested researchers from different disciplines who want to present their works, BA or MA theses, or research projects and discuss literature together.

The colloquium takes place once a month, on Thursdays, from 14:00-15:30. Registration for participation or the presentation of your research ideas and work is possible at any time under If required, individual sessions can also be held in English. The link to the respective Zoom meeting and possible reading texts will be sent by e-mail to all interested parties before the meeting.

Click here for the program

Social actors in different European places argue over Search and Rescue Missions in the Mediterranean Sea. Based on these conflicts, broader disputes crystallize in which the right to mobility and (the sovereignty over) borders of inclusion and exclusion are negotiated. According to the thesis of the research group ZivDem, the future shape of European democracy is thus up for discussion.

With this lecture series, we look at Search and Rescue Missions in the central Mediterranean and situate them in general social and political negotiations about migration movements to Europe. For this purpose, we invite experts from different disciplines to discuss these topics at the University of Bonn in the summer semester of 2023. A detailed program with individual lectures, which will take place (irregularly) on Wednesdays from 18.00 to 19.30, will be published here shortly.

Click here to learn more about the lecture series.

Meeting of the Working Group Democracy and Forced Migration of the German Network for Forced Migration Studies | March 23-24, 2023 | Kiel University

Here you can view the webpage of the working group 

4th Conference of the German Network for Forced Migration and Refugee Studies | September 28-30, 2022 | TU Chemnitz

The research group ZivDem presented a poster on their central thesis and research goals.

Here you can view the poster

Furthermore, Maria Ullrich and Mareike Gebhardt were discussants of the roundtable “Research on Forced Migration as Democracy Research,” which took place during the conference and was organized by the working group Democracy and Forced Migration.

Here you can find the webpage of the conference

28th International Conference "The Environment of Democracy" | June 20-22, 2022 | Instituto Universitário de Lisboa

Mareike Gebhardt, Lena Laube, and Maria Ullrich presented the first preliminary ideas of ZivDem at the Council for European Studies (CES) conference in a panel on “Migrant Rights Activism and Legal Support: Contestation or Conformation?” (organized by Saskia Bonjour and Sonja Evaldsson Mellström, both University of Amsterdam).

Click here for the conference webpage

Juli 3-6, 2023 | Warschau & online

Search and rescue in the Mediterranean and the struggle over European democracy. Presentation by Lena Laube and Maria Ullrich at the 20th IMISCOE Annual Conference "Migration und Ungleichheiten. Auf der Suche nach Antworten und Lösungen".

March 3, 2023 | German Sociological Association (DGS), Bamberg.

Joint conference on “Comparing Recent and Older Refugee Migration in and to Europe – Sociological Perspectives” of the DGS sections “Sociology of Europe” and “Migration and Ethnic Minorities.” Lena Laube and Maria Ullrich presented their work on “Search and rescue in the Mediterranean and the struggle over the reception of refugees in the EU.”

February 15, 2023 | STS-MIGTEC Circle Event, online

Mareike Gebhardt, Lena Laube, and Maria Ullrich presented their paper (work in progress) “Beyond Orchestration and Contestation: SAR NGOS in the Mediterranean Border Assemblage.”

January 31, 2023 | FIW Bonn, online

Lena Laube und Sarah Spasiano presented the outline of ZivDem’s sub-project II „Zivile Seenotrettung als Teil des mediterranen Grenzregimes. Eine juridico-politische Analyse europäischer Migrations- und Asylpolitik auf Hoher See.“

Click here for the event

Laube, Lena und Maria Ullrich (): Über die Rettung Flüchtender hin zu politischer Inklusion? Handlungsfelder von SAR-NGOs im zentralen Mittelmeer. In: Identität und Repräsentation: Analysen über den Zustand der Demokratie, herausgegeben von Rebecca Pates and Deniz Oğuzhan.

Mareike Gebhardt (in Vorbereitung):
Un-Mögliche Solidarität. Zivile Seenotrettung als Praxis der kommenden Demokratie? (Arbeitstitel). In: Geneaology+Critique/Special Collection: Krisen der Solidarität, hg. von Michaela Bstieler und Sergej Seitz

Gebhardt, Mareike und Isabel Vehrkamp (in Vorbereitung):
Narrative des Humanitären. Zur Konstruktion von Betrauerbarkeit im deutschen Diskurs zu ziviler Seenotrettung” (Arbeitstitel)

Gebhardt, Mareike, Lena Laube, Maria Ullrich (in Vorbereitung):
Beyond Contestation: SAR NGOs in the Mediterranean “Border Assemblage”

Mareike Gebhardt / Daniel Kersting / Moritz Riemann / Maria Becker / Lena Laube / Maria Ullrich / Christin Younso (2022): Fluchtforschung als Demokratieforschung: Ein Dialog zwischen politischer Philosophie und empirischen Sozialwissenschaften. In: Zeitschrift für Flucht- und Flüchtlingsforschung 6 (2): 284-302. Link

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