RUB » Equal Opportunities Portal » Women in Science » Interview with Anna Tuschling

Jun.-Prof. Dr Anna Tuschling

Short biography:
Anna Tuschling has been conducting research and teaching at RUB since 2010. First as a Juniorprofessor and since 2016 as a professor of theory, aesthetics and politics of digital media.

Guiding principle:
In research, not to accept the obvious, and in teaching, to pass on a critical thinking skills and to transmit enthusiasm to students.

Julia Bandow

Interview with Anna Tuschling

You are a Juniorprofessor in the Mercator Research Group “Spaces of Anthropological Knowledge”. What does your work involve?

It involves examining the media involved in modern affect research. I’m especially interested in finding a scientific media-related approach to research in the life sciences. Our particular project investigates how, since the 19th century, the development of modern science has relied on technological advancements such as photography, film, video recordings, and other media. The images created aren’t simply illustrations of human beings and their facial expressions, but as media they play an integral role in increasing our knowledge about mankind. The history of science in the 19th century allows us to clearly demonstrate, for example, that the development of photographic technology was responsible for the creation of a science of human facial expression and thus for the development of modern affect research.

What in particular fascinates you about your field of research?

What I find particularly interesting in my field of research is that I can apply questions from media science to the areas of human and life sciences. I think it’s especially exciting to examine social and scientific processes for irregularities. I was very lucky to be able to do this with our female research team and in direct dialogue with related disciplines thanks to the generous funding from the Mercator Foundation.

Were you already planning an academic career while you were studying?

Not really. But I developed my enthusiasm for scientific work early on in my studies and realised during my doctoral training that I want to continue working in this area.

What was your plan B? What would you have enjoyed doing professionally if you had not become a scientist?

I studied psychology and initially planned to work as a clinical therapist.

How do you manage to balance career and family/partnership?

Of course, the reconciliation of the two is very dependent on infrastructure and organisation. With support from all sides, especially from UniKids, who do a fantastic job, it is possible to balance both areas.

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?

I like reading crime novels. I love playing with my daughter, and I also like hiking. I like to cook and to eat.

If you were RUB’s rector for a day, what would be the first thing you would do?

I’d focus more on the collaboration of different sciences and on the plurality of different scientific approaches. I’d try to ensure that the humanities and cultural and social sciences are given enough room to develop their methods and research topics.

Fast-forward 10 years into the future: what do you want to have achieved?

I’d like to see a further growth in the young and exciting field of media science. The students’ enthusiasm in this subject is more than justified, as it has been one of the most productive subjects in recent years (for the winter semester 2011/2012 here at RUB, there were more than 8,000 applications for less than 100 places). I’d be delighted if I could continue participating in the development of this subject area. It would be important to me to achieve a greater differentiation and perception with regard to our understanding of media. I want to help show that not just the technical and digital media, but other media-determined conditions also play an integral role in our lives.

What is your guiding principle for research and teaching?

In terms of teaching, it’s important to me to pass on a critical thinking approach and to transmit enthusiasm to my students. I see students pursuing their studies while suffering from high stress and anxiety; I’d like to instil more joy in them. In terms of research, I think it’s important not to accept the obvious.