Zuzanna Szutenberg | ESR 1

University of Lodzorlandoviola



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I began my studies in European Ethnology and Gender Studies at the University of Basel, Switzerland and  graduated in these disciplines from the Humboldt University in Berlin. Although Gender Studies were initially my minor subject, content-wise they soon became equally important, as gender issues often provided research contents for my main subject. My BA thesis was thus based on research into the lives of female migrant care workers employed in private households.

After working as an assistant for the university’s centre for trans-disciplinary Gender Studies, I applied for GEMMA, a Master in Gender and Women’s Studies and the predecessor project of GRACE. I graduated with a double degree from the University of Hull and the University of Łódź in 2013. This time, I researched and wrote about the potential of a feminist body-language in the sphere of corporate business.

In the course of my MA program, I started to work in the sector of foreign languages. First, as student language ambassador in Hull, and later, as a language and business coach for corporate clients in Łódź. After my degree, the business world absorbed me for a couple of years. Having coached and lectured for two years, I left Poland and moved to Frankfurt am Main, Germany, where I was offered a managerial position by my seasonal employer, the did deutsch-institut for whom I had run two international summer schools for international teenagers in 2013 and 2014.

Even though I enjoyed the new responsibilities, I felt that I had gone astray from the things I love. I missed my homeland, my partner, my native language, gender studies and the walls of the university.

The story has a happy ending: Back in Łódź, I applied for the GRACE project and succeeded. As ESR 1 I will research ‘Print capitalism and the making of gender equality’, thereby investigating the historical role of national print media as a contested site for the production of cultures of gender equality. An academic review and synthesis, on how print capitalism mainstreamed, catalysed and contributed to “the making of gender equality” and how, conversely, gender and equality activism forged Europe as an “imagined community” of equalities in the course of the last 25 years, is the aim of my PhD research project.

The written work will be complemented with comic episodes of the Equal Prince. Drawing a comic about the media representations of gender equality in Europe, is my attempt of an innovative contribution and a strategy to make sophisticated theories accessible to broad audiences with various reading habits and abilities.