Sophia Prinz

Cultural Sociology and Theory of Design, Berlin University of the Arts

Sophia Prinz served as visiting professor for Theory of Design/Gender Studies at the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK) from 2018 to 2020 and has been an academic advisor to the Johann Jacobs Museum in Zurich since 2013.

She works at the intersection of cultural sociology and the science of art. With an eye to a critical social theory of design, she examines the interrelationship of social and aesthetic forms.

Subsequent to her monograph Die Praxis des Sehens (The Practice of Seeing) (transcript, 2014), Sophia Prinz has dealt increasingly with the transculturalization of the worlds of things, cultural practices and collective schemes of perception within global modernity. In transdisciplinary research and exhibition projects, she pursued criticisms of Eurocentric and culturally essentialist theories of modernity. Concurrently, she developed museological concepts that address the colonial origins of collected artifacts and at the same time aim to meet the complex realities of a postmigrant audience – for example with the project “Mobile Worlds. On the Migration of Things in Transcultural Societies”, which was funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and led to an exhibition at the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg in 2018.

During her HIAS Fellowship, Sophia Prinz will work on a book project that, under the title “Migration of Form”, will expand on the concept of “form” as a general concept of cultural theory.

Her tandem partner is the art and environmental historian and cultural anthropologist Lutz Hengst, who works on landscape as a space of memory and future possibilities at the Centre for Advanced Studies “Imaginaria of Force” at Universität Hamburg.

Sophia Prinz’ HIAS Fellowship is financed by Universität Hamburg with funding by the Federal Government and the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg.


Sophia Prinz


Universität Hamburg


Dr. Lutz Hengst, Art and environmental historian and cultural anthropologist, works at Centre for Advanced Studies “Imaginaria of Force” at Universität Hamburg

Förderung durch das Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) sowie der Freien und Hansestadt Hamburg im Rahmen der Exzellenzstrategie von Bund und Ländern der Universität Hamburg

Image Information

Ai Weiwei, Rebar 41, 3 Armierungseisen / 3 steel rods, je ca. 1 m lang /each about 1 meter long, 2008-12, Courtesy Johann Jacobs Museum and AWW Studio (photo: Axel Crettenand)

Photo Sophia Prinz: Marvin Zilm/ZHdK