Simone Derix

Senior Fellow

Pacific Office of the German Historical
Institute Washington Institute of European Studies | University of California, Berkeley | 202 Philosophy Hall | Berkeley, CA 94720-2316

Biographical Summary

Simone Derix holds the Chair of Modern and Contemporary History at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU), Germany. She joined GHI Pacific Office in October 2023 as a Senior Fellow in the program “Innovation through Migration.” She is a historian of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and emphasizes international and transnational perspectives on European social and political history. She serves on various editorial boards, e.g. of Historische Anthropologie and Studien zur internationalen Geschichte. Her research has focused on political mise-en-scenes, visual history, material culture, family and kinship, and wealth, property and capitalism. The research project that led her to Berkeley addresses the impact of mobility and intersectionality on female agency in academia, and questions of social (in)visibility and (in)audibility in the twentieth century.


  • Hilde Thurnwald: The Invisible Half of a Mobile Academic Couple
    The project started as an investigation of the life and work of the German anthropologist Hilde Thurnwald (1890-1979) who in the 1920s and 1930s did anthropological field work in Bougainville in the South Pacific as well as in East Africa and after 1945 carried out a survey on Berlin families. It has turned into a study of the entanglements of academia, gender, and mobility in the twentieth century that allows for new insights into female agency and (in)visibility in the academic world and how different and overlapping ways of mobilities – field trips as well as research periods abroad, and unfulfilled wishes for long-term migration – shaped scholarly work.