Christine Hentschel is a professor of criminology: security and resilience at the Social Sciences Department at the University of Hamburg. Her interests revolve around apocalyptic imaginations with regard to the climate crisis, right-wing sentiments and thought, the sociology of in/security and resilience, as well as the emergence of ‘publics’ and collectivities on urban grounds. Throughout her research, she aims to understand the contemporary moment, shaped as it is by uncertainty, insecurity and an authoritarian shift, as well as the affective investments and divestments at play. She studied political science, French cultural studies, and comparative religious studies at Leipzig and Paris, wrote her doctoral thesis (School of Social Sciences, University of Leipzig) on spatialized forms of security in urban South Africa and conducted different postdoc projects at the Institute for Cultural Inquiry ICI Berlin, the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, and the Institute of Urban Sociology at HU Berlin. She is currently Co-PI in three collective research projects at the University of Hamburg: the DFG funded project on "situational awareness: sensing security in the city" that investigates the different attempts to prefigure, anticipate, and handle situations of mass harm in urban contexts; a subproject under the Hamburg excellence cluster “Climate, Climatic Change, and Society” that investigates the relationship between the climate crisis and insecurity, and the Graduate Programme "Democratising Security in Turbulent Times".
- Profile of Christine Hentschel on the website of Universität Hamburg
- Interview with Christine Hentschel
Self-Portraits at the Edge: Devices for Studying Apocalyptic Imaginations in the Anthropocene
In her project “Self-Portraits at the Edge: Devices for Studying Apocalyptic Imaginations in the Anthropocene”, Christine is building a transdisciplinary inventory of critical devices for reading apocalyptic imaginations and the collectivities that engage with them. She conceptualizes apocalyptic imaginations as “affective workout[s]” (Katy Waldman) – emotionally exhausting, but also adrenalin infused exercises concerned with the end, in which horror and desire, apathy and activism, cruel optimism and pessimistic humanism are interwoven in often surprising and troubling ways. Building on her experience with affective, narrative, ethnographic, spatial, and discursive methodologies, she is developing a range of devices, understood as conceptual sensitivities, for reading apocalyptic imaginations in the context of ecological devastation. By helping us decipher the doomed future that we narrate, these devices are meant to engage apocalyptic framings as a critical reading of our present. The critical endeavor is ultimately to explore how “apocalyptic passions” – in the sense that Günther Anders proclaimed them in the face of the atomic threat in the 1950s – can be emancipatory devices for facing ecological ruination in the Anthropocene.