Silke Heumann is a Sociologist and Assistant Professor (Senior Lecturer) in the Major Social Justice Perspectives (SJP). Her areas of expertise and interest are Gender and Sexuality Studies, Social Movements, Latin American Politics, Discourse Analysis and Social Theory. She obtained her MA (2003, honors) and PhD (2010) at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), The Netherlands, and her Licenciatura at the Central American University (UCA) in Managua, Nicaragua (1998, honors).
Before joining ISS, she taught at several Institutes and Schools of the University of Amsterdam, in the programs of Sociology; Gender and Sexuality Studies; (Medical) Anthropology; and Latin American Studies. In the 1990s, she lived in Nicaragua for a decade. During that time she studied and worked with NGOs, international organizations and public institutions in a wide range of areas, including sexual and reproductive health and rights; gender based violence; elections, democracy and regional autonomy; gender and microcredit, and awareness-raising about discrimination based on gender, age, sexual orientation, class and ethnicity.
Her teaching and research are characterized by an interest in interdisciplinary approaches, intersectionality, the relationship between power and knowledge, and the connections between personal and (inter)subjective processes, and broader socio-economic and political developments, particularly in the reproduction of structural relations of power.
The research on “Sexual politics and Regime Transition in Nicaragua” explored the relationship between the personal and political to explain debates and mobilizations around gender and sexuality in post-revolutionary Nicaragua, by tracing and comparing the histories, mobilizing strategies, as well as personal and public discourses of both the feminist and the ultra-conservative “pro-life” movements.
This concern with the intersections of sexuality, gender and social justice finds continuity in recent and ongoing collaborative work with sex workers’ organizations on work precarity in the sex industry and the adverse impact of anti-trafficking discourses and migration governance on sex workers’ working conditions and human rights.
At ISS Silke Heumann is a member of the Sexuality Research Initiative (SRI) and the Civic Innovation Research Initiative (CIRI), and an affiliate member of Governance, Globalization and Social Justice (GGSJ).