Sejal Mielke

Associated member of the research training group

On the aesthetic dimension of belonging

The starting point of the dissertation is the assumption that subjects emerge as particular subjects in and through practices. Here, the interest lies in the discursive conceptualization of belonging as well as the positioning associated with it. Following such a reading, belonging describes a moment of "subjectivation" (Butler), i.e. the way a subject is brought into a social order by means of language. Here, recognition is considered both a condition and a mode of any subject constitution. The process of becoming a subject is thus regulated from the beginning by addressing others and proves to be an act permeated by power, since every normative matrix is accompanied by a value-related difference that makes it possible to distinguish between recognized and discredited subject positions. This act of recognition is organized according to a binary principle that compels subjects to represent themselves within an exclusionary order and, as it were, to understand themselves. As a result, those who do not conform to or evade the required uniqueness threaten to become socially inexistent. In this respect, orders of difference not only produce sharp distinctions that go hand in hand with marginalization and privilege, but they also subtly regulate who experiences belonging and who is denied it. 

To further develop the debate around belonging, other forms of belonging are needed. For this, I draw on the potential of aesthetics as aísthēsis. 



Sejal Mielke is doing her doctorate at the University of Tübingen. In the winter semester 2019/20, she was a research assistant (parental leave replacement of Dr. Christian Grabau) at the Institute of Educational Science. Over the winter semester 2019/20 and summer semester 2020, she was a Junior Fellow in the international and interdisciplinary Civis network on the topic of belonging. Since February 2021, her dissertation project has been supported by a PhD scholarship from the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. From September 2021 to February 2022, Sejal Mielke completed a research stay at the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis at the Universiteit van Amsterdam. Since the winter semester 2019/20, she has held teaching positions at the universities of Tübingen, Würzburg, Chemnitz,Mainz and the Alice-Salomon-Hochschule (Berlin). Her research interests lie in the field of cultural-aesthetic education.

Sejal Mielke has been an associate member of the DFG Research Training Group "Aesthetic Practice" at the University of Hildesheim since October 2021.



2023: with Janna Wieland: „Ästhetische Praxis als Intervention: Postkoloniale Theorie als transdisziplinäre Perspektive“, in: Anna Wanka et al. (Hg.), Transdisziplinarität in der Bildungsforschung, Springer VS: Wiesbaden (accepted for publication)

2022: Zugehörigkeiten ins Bild rücken. In: Image Zeitschrift für interdisziplinäre Bildwissenschaft 35 (01/2022), S.46-52.



07/2021: Visualität und Zugehörigkeit, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, Workshop zum Thema Transdisziplinarität in der Bildungsforschung (online)

06/2021: Facetten des Sehens, Pädagogische Hochschule Ludwigsburg, Nachwuchstagung der Gesellschaft für interdisziplinäre Bildwissenschaft

07/2022: On the aesthetic dimension of belonging (angenommen), Federal University of Minas Gerais (Brasilien), International Congress of the Aesthetics



  • Forschung Netzwerk Kulturelle Bildung
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ästhetik
  • assoziiertes Mitglied der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Erziehungswissenschaft (Kommissionen: Bildungs- und Erziehungsphilosophie sowie Interkulturelle Pädagogik)
  • Association for Cultural Studies (ACS)
  • FG Dekolonial e.V.
  • Connecticut-Baden-Württemberg Human Rights Research Consortium (Arbeitsgruppe: Graduate Student)