ERC Consolidator Grant Awarded to Historian at Freie Universität Berlin

ERC Consolidator Grant Awarded to Historian at Freie Universität Berlin

European Research Council awards Dr. Jana Tschurenev almost two million euros for research project

The European Research Council (ERC) is funding a new research project led by historian Dr. Jana Tschurenev. Tschurenev will receive over 1.99 million euros in the form of an ERC Consolidator Grant for her upcoming five-year project, “Democratising the Family? Gender Equality, Parental Rights, and Child Welfare in Contemporary Global History” (DEMFAM). The project group, consisting of four researchers, will investigate the transformation of gender and the family in contemporary global history.

DEMFAM examines the democratization of the family (such as the equalization of parental rights within and outside the domain of heterosexual marriages and the consolidation of children’s rights), while also researching authoritarian, illiberal tendencies in political discourse surrounding the rights of parents in relation to each other, their children, and the state. Tschurenev was inspired to carry out the project after observing a number of surprising parallels between the reforms in family law currently taking place in countries as different as the UK, Germany, Poland, and India.

Since the beginning of the twenty-first century, there has been a growing emphasis on family law reforms on equally shared custody both within the European Union and beyond. The “dual residency model,” according to which children of separated parents spend an equal amount of time in both parental households, has gained global currency. As a result, hierarchical family structures are giving way to more egalitarian ideals in which both parents share the same responsibilities for the care of their children, regardless of their relationship to one another. The practical implementation of gender equality within family law, however, implies new challenges for individual parents and children, and for modern democratic societies: How can conflicts of interest be solved, and how can cooperation be achieved between disagreeing legal equals? What is the role of the state in safeguarding the best interests of the child in situations of familial conflict? DEMFAM will trace how parental rights assumed center stage in the “gender wars” of the twenty-first century, as well as the politicization of gender, sexuality, and the family in struggles over national and religious identity, liberalism, and democracy.

DEMFAM will analyze transformative processes of parenting and the family across different political-economic and legal systems within a shared global environment. It will investigate the contestations surrounding family law reforms on multiple political levels. By taking into account developments in western European, (post-)socialist, and postcolonial societies, DEMFAM will provide a meaningful contribution toward the global history of gender, childhood, and family.

Tschurenev joined the Global History division at Freie Universität Berlin’s Friedrich Meinecke Institute in December 2023. Her research interests include transformations in education, care, gender, and family from the late eighteenth century to the present day. Before joining Freie Universität, Tschurenev worked as a substitute professor for modern Indian history and a visiting lecturer on gender and development at the University of Göttingen’s Centre for Modern Indian Studies (CeMIS). She acted as a principal investigator with the Transnational Research Group (TRG) “Poverty and Education in India,” funded by the Max Weber Foundation, from 2014‒2017, and held a position at ETH Zurich as a lecturer in global history from 2009‒2013. She was also awarded fellowships at the international research center Work and Human Life-Cycle in Global History (re:work) in Berlin and the M.S. Merian – R. Tagore International Centre of Advanced Studies “Metamorphoses of the Political” (ICAS:MP) in Delhi.

Regions: Europe, Germany, Poland, United Kingdom, Asia, India
Keywords: Society, Grants & new facilities, Social Sciences, Humanities, History


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