Skip to main content Heidemarie Winkel

Soziologin, Fakultät für Soziologie, Universität Bielefeld

Assoziierte Professur



Short Biography

Heidemarie Winkel, Dr. phil. habil., passed her studies in sociology and economics at the University of Trier. She received her Diplom in Sociology in 1993 and obtained her PhD in 2001. In 2010, she completed her Habilitation (professoral thesis) at the University of Potsdam. Since June 2016, she is a university professor at Bielefeld University. In 2017, she was awarded a Senior Research Associate at St. Edmund's College and the Von Hugel Institute at the University of Cambridge.

Employment History

Heidemarie Winkel was a research fellow in sociological theory and gender sociology at the University of Trier (1993-1994), the Technical University of Berlin (1995-2001) and the University of Mainz (2001-2002); she continued as assistant professor at the Universities of Erfurt (2002-2005 & 2007-2009) and Potsdam (2009-2011). From 2005-2007, she completed a research project in the Mashriq (Palestine, Lebanon & Egypt; funded by the German Research Foundation).
Winkel was a board member the German Sociological Association's research section for Women's and Gender Studies (2012-2016) and the research section Sociology of Religion (2012-2018); Winkel also was a board member of the Research Network Sociology of Religion in the European Sociological Association (2012-2020) and its chair /vice-chair from 2012-2016, a member of the ISSR Council (2018-2021) and she is a member of the advisory board of GENDER. Zeitschrift für Geschlecht, Kultur und Gesellschaft as well as the Editorial Board of the Journal for Religion, Society and Politics.


Main research interests are: Transcultural Gender Sociology, Plural Gender Cultures and Postcolonial Sociology, Global Sociology of Religion and Plural Religiosities with a special interest in selected Arab contexts in the Mashriq; Qualitative Methods; Sociology of Knowledge, Intercultural Communication and Transcultural Sociology / Cultures of Understanding

Forschungs- und Praxisprojekte (Auswahl)

2017 - 2019
Handbook Religion in Context, zus. mit Annette Schnabel u. Melanie Reddig

Veröffentlichungen (Auswahl)

Herausgabe Sammelwerk

Herausgabe Special Issue/Journal


Ausgewählte Aufsätze / Artikel



Excerpt from:

Gender Knowledge in the Arab-Islamic Realm. On the social situatedness of gender as an epistemic categorie, in: Stefanie Knauss/Theresa Wobbe/Giovanna Covi (ed.), 2012: Gendered Ways of Knowing in Science. Trento: Fondazione Bruno Kessler, S. 155–176.

The epistemological function of the sex/gender differentiation has been highly disputed in Western social sciences since the 1970s. In the beginning, the focus lay on the term sex and the social consequences of its meaning as a given biological factor for womenÄs and men's sociation. Today, gender is contested as wel, because the concept tends to reify the sexual divide between women and men. Numerous historical and sociological studies have built on this insight, demonstrating that the lived reality of two incommensurable sexes is part of an epistemological shift since 1800, intertwined with the Western history of science. Accordingly, gender is a term deeply rooted in the Western mindset and its socio-historical development.

Despite a strong awareness that gender is an analytical category which is deeply embedded in Western social history, the concept's transfer to non-Western societies consistently fails to acknowledge its social situatedness in the Western context. As a result, gender configurates in other societies are viewed through Western lenses, which mak endogenous gender schema. This paper will analyse the distoring effects of Western lenses with reference to an Arab-Islamic context. I argue that gender is not primarily associated with sexual difference in this societal realm. Instead, gender knowledge is mainly shaped by equitable reciprocity. (...) Equitable reciprocity constitutes the nucleus of a gender concept in its own right alongside the Wester-European model of sexual difference.

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Expertise für

Transcultural Gender Sociology, Gender Relations in the Mashriq/selected Arab contexts, Sociology of Knowledge, Sociology of Religion, Gender and Religion, Multiple Modernities, Postcolonial Theory, Plural Gender Cultures


Gesellschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften