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Annabell Fender

Doctoral Fellow


Campus Am Neuen Palais
Am Neuen Palais 10
Building 1, Room 0.15
14469 Potsdam


by appointment only

Dissertation Project

Thinking with Bees in the Patchy Anthropocene: Multispecies Kinship in Histories and Futures

In this project I want to historicise human-bee relations and analyse the ways in which this multispecies relationship has been impacted by capitalist and colonial processes – more specifically by industrial agriculture and settler colonialism. By attending to natureculture assemblages of relations – e.g. between various species of bees, including the Western honeybee (Apis mellifera) and Australian sugarbag bees (Tetragonula carbonaria), nodes of agricultural production, Varroa mites, pesticides and insecticides, beekeepers and other ‘pollinator people’ (Ellis), environmental activism, fiction and scholarship – I engage with questions of interspecies flourishing and kinship during a time of pollinator population decline within the framework of the patchy Anthropocene (Tsing et al.). By drawing on literary, cultural and ‘apiary’ texts, I want to unearth and acknowledge instances of bee agency in processes of species co-shaping between humans and (different species of) bees. My thinking with bees thus entails a symbolic and non-symbolic level, at once highlighting bees’ representational capacities and examining real-world encounters between humans and bees. How do these two levels intersect, interact and impact each other? In which ways have our species become-with (Haraway) and shaped each other? And what ethics and responsibilities are involved in studying this entwined interspecies relationship?



My academic path has been firmly rooted at the University of Potsdam so far, where I obtained my B.Ed. and M.Ed. in English & History, as well as a Supplementary Certificate in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies. I also studied the M.A. Anglophone Modernities in Literature and Culture for few (unfortunately digital) semesters. Throughout my studies, I worked as a tutor for schoolchildren, as a student coordinator of the Buddy Programme at the International Office, and I was employed in various positions as a student assistant at Potsdam’s English department.

Since October 2022, I’m a joint doctoral fellow at the RTG minor cosmopolitanisms at the University of Potsdam and University of Melbourne, where I will spend the second year of my PhD candidature. Outside of academia, I enjoy the company of my dog Norbert, and taking long walks around Berlin/Potsdam, encountering local (urban) ecologies.


Research Interests

  • Environmental Humanities/Ecocriticism
  • Postcolonial Studies
  • Critical Animal Studies
  • Gender/Queer Studies
  • Fat Studies
  • STS 

Publications / Presentations

"The Utopianism of Universal Basic Income," Global Modernities, 10 June 2021, https://globalmod.hypotheses.org/84. Student Essays. [publication]

“Saving the Other Bees: Vulnerability of Honeybees and Native Bees in the midst of a varroa destructor outbreak in Australia.” Postcolonial Narrations Forum, University of Bonn, 20-22 October 2022. [presentation]

“Starting to Think with Bees in the Anthropocene.” critical uninhabitations workshop, University of Rostock, 23-25 June 2022. [presentation]

“Thinking with Bees in the Patchy Anthropocene.” Invited talk in Critical Animal Studies seminar by Prof. Dr. Anja Schwarz, University of Potsdam, 7 July 2022. [presentation]

“Saving the Bee(Industrie)s: The Varroa Mite Eradication Plan and Australia’s Settler-Colonial Infrastructure of Care” GAPS Conference, Postcolonial Infrastructures, University of Konstanz, 20 May 2023.