Dr Katja May

Staff details

Position Postdoctoral Researcher
Department Sociology
Email katja.may (@gold.ac.uk)
Dr Katja May

Katja is currently working on her monograph Needlework, Social Transformation and Making Meaning: The Everyday Textures of Feminist Activism (Bloomsbury, 2023). Thinking text, textiles and material practices in and through each other, the book offers a pioneering interdisciplinary framework for the study of needlework, affect and transnational feminist politics.

As Postdoctoral Fellow on the ERC funded Politics of Patents (POP) project at Goldsmiths, Katja conducts qualitative analysis of the POP clothing patent archive and interviews with inventors. She also reconstructs garments from the archive along with the POP team and is involved in creating an exhibition and public engagement events.

Katja has facilitated multiple feminist craftivism sessions and is passionate about disseminating research results through innovative means of engagement and demonstration. She has given talks to sewing groups and authored articles and blogs for mainstream publications.

Academic qualifications

  • PhD, University of Kent 2020
  • MA, University of Kent 2015
  • BA, Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, Germany 2014

Research interests

Katja’s research interests are in feminist theory, affect, protest cultures, social transformation, social justice, textile crafts and the phenomenology of making.

Her monograph Social Transformation and Making Meaning: The Everyday Textures of Feminist Activism (Bloomsbury, forthcoming 2023) critically engages with a diverse set of text(ure)s: novels by African-American women writers; the US based youth organization the Social Justice Sewing Academy; the Afghan‒European embroidery initiative Guldusi; Bangladeshi sweat shop workers; the Pussyhat Project and the Women’s March on Washington. Thus, it follows different trajectories of meaning-making across the textured web of everyday feminist life lines and considers the personal positionality of makers within systems of power. The book argues that practices of needlework and their narrative representations open people up to the possibility of thinking and feeling differently about themselves and their relationships with others. As a result, people may become oriented towards new everyday imaginaries of social transformation committed to the dismantling of patriarchy and white supremacy.

She is currently in the process of developing a next research project which will expand her previous work on affective tension in transnational feminism in relation to whiteness, anti-racist practice, textile crafts and George Yancy’s (2018, 2012) concept of suturing.

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