Dr. Schimkat is a social and cultural anthropologist with a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto and an M.A. from Freie Universität (FU) Berlin. She was born in Cleveland, Ohio but grew up in what was then still West Germany. When the Wall came down in 1989 she had just finished conducting ethnographic interviews with immigrants from the German Democratic Republic for her master’s thesis “Careers of Integration and Models of Adjustment of Immigrants from the German Democratic Republic in West Berlin”.
Her Ph.D. research involved extensive field work in Germany’s post-unification period inspired by the slogan of the East German women’s movement “You Can’t Build a State Without Women.” Her ethnography “The Experience of Collective Transformations: The Women’s Centre Sundine in Eastern Germany during Unification” focused on a particular women’s center as a social-political space that provided the lens through which she examined the broader effects of the social, political, and economic restructuring in the 1990s.
In 1999, she returned to Berlin and has since worked in several interdisciplinary research projects on gender, diversity, and integration at various institutions, including the Social Science Center Berlin and the Institute of Sociology at FU Berlin. She has advised and evaluated projects that are funded by the European Social Fund of the European Commission. She also teaches courses on the anthropology of aging at FU Berlin, Humboldt Universität, and other educational institutions.