Doctoral Fellow (Max Weber Centre for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies)


Weltbeziehungen / C19.03.28

Office hours

nach Vereinbarung

Visiting address

Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien
Nordhäuser Str. 63
99089 Erfurt

Mailing address

Universität Erfurt
Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien
Postfach 90 02 21
99105 Erfurt

Aileen Jennifer Becker

Personal Information

Curriculum Vitae

  • 11/2022 Doctoral Fellow KFG „Religion and Urbanity“ at Max Weber Centre, University of Erfurt
  • 02/2022 – 10/2022 Digitization Manager at the Saxon State Office for Museums, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
  • 11/2019 – 12/2021 Scientific Coordinator for Provenance Research at the municipal collections of Tübingen (funded by the German Lost Art Foundation)
  • 06/2018 – 07/2019 Honorary Office as group representative for graduate Trainees in Rhineland-Palatinate
  • 03/2018 – 07/2018 Advanced Education in Provenance Research at Freie Universität Berlin and the State Office for Non-State Museums in Bavaria (Certificate)
  • 08/2017 – 08/2019 Graduate Traineeship at the General Directorate for Cultural Heritage Rhineland-Palatinate in cooperation with the Historical Museum of the Palatinate in Speyer (Exhibition and Collection Management)
  • 02/2017 – 03/2018 Advanced Education in Cultural Management at the PH Ludwigsburg (Certificate)
  • 04/2015 – 08/2016 Research Assistant at the Archaeological Collection of the Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg i.Br.
  • 03/2015 – 04/2015 Internship at the German Archaeological Institute in Athens
  • 04/2014 – 04/2017 Master of Arts, Archeological Studies, Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg i.Br.
  • 11/2012 – 03/2014 Student Assistant at the Department for Ancient History at the University of Konstanz (i.e. Creating a database)
  • 10/2010 – 03/2014 Bachelor of Arts, History and Cultural Studies, University of Konstanz (B.A.)

Research Project

The common bathing of Christians: conflicts between urban actors and institutions in the literary sources (Second to sixth Century CE)

The planned research project focusses on Christian bathing culture in the imperial period and late antiquity. It aims to close a gap in the current state of knowledge on Christian living spaces and their constitution in urban areas. The Christianisation of the Imperium Romanum fundamentally changed social spatial relations in the first millennium. The resulting network of interdependencies between church and state, society and rule is highly differentiated in its dynamics and complexity. The new spatial structures on which these are based will be examined in the planned study, in which the baths and bathing habits of Christians as community-building objects of research will be analysed. The conflict in the bathing space plays a key role here, spatially depicting group formations and segmentations, conformity and distinction1. In the bathing facilities, the tension between the pagan cultural character and the Christian influences is visible in a specific and at the same time multiple way. In Republican times, baths and bathing facilities in the Roman Empire were places of performance and distinction2 for urban identity and prestige.

The Christians reshaped this area of life for themselves in the imperial era and thus "refigured" an urban institution and central social building segment, i.e. they occupied and transformed it according to their own growth, so that Christian baths crystallised as new spaces and Christian bathing habits as common practice. The concept of "refiguration" is taken from spatial sociology and goes back to Norbert Elias, who introduced figuration as a construct that conceptualised the reciprocal-relational relationship of individuals as entities constituting society.3  My aim is to understand and describe social development processes in spatial terms. Applied to the religiously influenced bathing practices of late antiquity, this means that the Christians were shaping a Christian bathing culture through their use of the bathing rooms. The research project will examine in detail how this process of refiguration took place and how the ambivalent attitudes of society towards the bath and towards each other changed. Neither the bathers nor the bathing space exist in isolation, rather they are in a reciprocal creative relationship. This reciprocity is eminent and forms the basis of the figuration-sociological study of baths and bathing in the imperial period and long late antiquity.


1 According to P. Bourdieu: Die feinen Unterschiede. Kritik der gesellschaftlichen Urteilskraft. Suhrkamp (Frankfurt am Main 1982) /Original: La distinction. Critique sociale du jugement (Paris 1979) a term that describes the demarcation of individuals and groups for their own self-assurance.
M. Löw: Raumsoziologie. Suhrkamp (Frankfurt am Main 20158); N. Elias: Über den Prozess der Zivilisation. Sozialgenetische und psychogenetische Untersuchungen. Suhrkamp (Frankfurt am Main 201032).