Habitat Unit

Previous Staff Member

Dr. Elisa Bertuzzo

Elisa Bertuzzo


Room A 408b
T + 49 – 30 – 314 – 27391
F + 49 – 30 – 314 – 21907

Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Elisa Bertuzzo has been associated with the Habitat Unit since May 2012 within her research project Circular Migration and Habitat: The city-country relation in an era of global urbanisation, funded by the German Research Foundation, as well as during her PhD studies in 2005 – 2008. Dr. Bertuzzo studied comparative literature, sociology as well as communication and media studies at the universities of Augsburg, Free University Berlin and Paris VIII – Saint Denis, before the exposure to the phenomena of urbanisation in South Asia led her to shift her research focus to urban studies.

Since her dissertation on the everyday life uses and transformations of space in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in which she transposed Henri Lefebvre's theory of the production of space onto empirical research, Elisa Bertuzzo has carried out research on subaltern survival tactics in Bangladesh and India, specifically in the Bengali speaking areas of the country. Bridging approaches and discourses from the fields of cultural and urban studies, she has published and taught on the perception and representation of space, on urbanisation under regimes of exclusion as well as on a critical re-appraisal of the concept of informality.

Against the background of these research interests and drawing on extended fieldwork in India and Bangladesh within her current project, Dr. Bertuzzo is working on a re-theorisation of urbanisation and settlement in South Asia. Her entry point is the observation of trans-local livelihoods that span the Subcontinent,, transforming the urban and rural areas. She has teaching assignments at the Georg-Simmel Centre for Metropolitan Studies of the Humboldt University Berlin as well as on the master's program Space Strategies of the Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weißensee.

Since 2013, she has acted as reviewer for the German Research Foundation (DFG) and since 2011, as thesis supervisor within the international Urban Management master’s program of TU Berlin. Elisa Bertuzzo works as curator and project leader with Habitat Forum Berlin, a non-profit organisation that promotes the right to the city and humane housing, especially within the framework of the project 'Paradigmising Karail Basti', whereby physical and social structures of Dhaka's biggest unplanned settlement are being mapped and documented. 


2005 – 2008
Doctorate of Philosophy (Dr. Phil. with honours), TU Berlin
(Thesis) Fragmented perspectives, transiting sings of urbanity – Everyday life's representations and uses of space in Dhaka, Bangladesh. (Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Peter Herrle, Prof. Dr. Ingeborg Baldauf).

2002 – 2004
Master Artium in Comparative Literature as well as Communication and Media Studies (M.A.) FU Berlin
(Thesis) Erinnern statt Flanieren – Zur Deckung von Bio- und Topographie in Walter Benjamins 'Berliner Chronik' (Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Winfried Menninghaus).

SS 2003
Erasmus Semester, Paris VIII – Saint Denis and École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Classes and submission of a preparatory work for the M.A. thesis.

1999 – 2002
Grundstudium in Comparative Literature, Sociology as well as Communication and Media Studies (B.A.), Universität Augsburg

Employment History+

2012 – 2015
Senior Researcher / Principal Investigator
TU Berlin, Habitat Unit

DFG Project: Circular Migration and Habitat: The city-country relation in an era of global urbanisation 

2011 – 2012
HU Berlin, Dept. of Social Studies

DFG Project: Invisible Work 

Since 2010
Research Associate
Habitat Forum Berlin

Project: Paradigmising Karail Basti

2008 – 2009
Visiting faculty
Institute for Asia and Africa Studies, HU Berlin 

Since 2007
Space Strategies Masters Course, Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weißensee

2005 – 2007
id22: Institute for creative Sustainability, Berlin

2004 – 2005
Researcher and Editor
Telefactory Berlin

Research Projects+

Since 2012
Circular Migration and Habitat: The city-country relation in an era of global urbanisation

Own project, funded by DFG German Research Foundation, Habitat Unit, TU Berlin

Since 2010
Paradigmising Karail Basti – a socio-physical mapping

Habitat Forum Berlin

2008 – 2009
Making the city traversing it – Festivals between formulation of identity and production of space in South Asia

Post-Doc Research. BGSMCS, FU Berlin 

2005 – 2008
Doctoral Dissertation
Fragmented perspectives, transiting sings of urbanity – Everyday life's representations and uses of space in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Habitat Unit, TU Berlin

Teaching Activities+

WS 2014/2015
Seminar: Pasolini and the other spaces. Space Strategies Masters Course, Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weißensee 

WS 2013/2014
Seminar: Von Urbanism as a Way of Life zu Non-Urbanism: Stadt(theorie) in der Krise? Georg-Simmel Centre for Metropolitan Studies, HU Berlin 

WS 2012/2013
Seminar: Ländliches Wohnen im Wandel in Indien und Bangladesch. Habitat Unit, TU Berlin 

SS 2010
Seminar: The five obstructions: Rhythmanalysis in Mysore. University of Mysore, India

WS 2009/2010
Seminar: Ethnographie des Berliner Friedrichswerders. Department for European Ethnology, HU Berlin 

SS 2009
Urban Design Studio: Other Spaces in Tongi. Department of Architecture, BRAC University, Dhaka / Bangladesh

SS 2007
Seminar: Stadt/Raum/Öffentlichkeit. Space Strategies Masters Course, Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weißensee



with Eszter Gantner, Jörg Niehwohner and Heike Oevermann (2012) Kontrolle öffentlicher Räume: Unterstützen Unterdrücken Unterhalten Unterwandern. Berlin: LIT Verlag.

(2009) Fragmented Dhaka – Analysing everyday life with Henri Lefebvre’s Theory of Production of Space. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag.

with Nazrul Islam, Günter Nest and Salma Shafi, eds. (2008) Smooth and Striated. City and Water, Dhaka/Berlin. Dhaka/Berlin: Goethe-Institut Bangladesh/Habitat Forum Berlin.


Book contributions 

(2013) Mobil, immobil, translokalisiert: Südasiens zirkuläre Migranten im 'Dazwischen'. In: Blotevogel, H., Frank, S., Holz-Rau, C., Scheiner, J., Schuster, N., Mobilitäten und Immobilitäten. Dortmunder Beiträge zur Raumplanung. Essen: Klartext Verlag.

(2012) 'Motion at large': Für eine Kulturwissenschaft der Bewegung. In: Dilger, H., Hoffmann, B., Ethnographische Raumpraktiken. Berlin: Panama Verlag.

(2011) Urban Aesthetics and the Image of the City – A Survey of Dhaka Dwellers’ Mental Maps. In: Ahmed, S., Hafiz, R., eds. Dhaka Past Present Future II, Dhaka City Publication Series. Dhaka: Asiatic Society Bangladesh.


Refereed articles

(2015) The Multifaceted Social Structure of an unrecognised neighbourhood of Dhaka City: experience from Karail Basti. In: Rahman, M., ed. Dhaka – An urban reader. Dhaka: UPL.

(2014)During the Urban Revolution – Conjunctures on the streets of Dhaka. In: Schmid, C., Stanek, Ł., Moravánszky, Á., eds. Urban Revolution Now. Farnham: Ashgate.


Other articles and publications

(2015) Chinese urbanism between multi-locality and inter-urban growth. disP – The Planning Review 1/2015.

(2014): Imploded theory, exploding bookshelves – and the planetary bias of centrality. disP – The Planning Review 3/2014.

(2013) Brief aus Kolkata. Le Monde Diplomatique 11/2013.

(2013) Diese Siedlung ist kein Slum. Beobachtungen in Karail Basti, Dhaka. Edition Le Monde Diplomatique, N° 14.

(2012) Muzharul Islam, Botschafter der Moderne. der architekt. Available from http://derarchitektbda.de/botschafter-der-moderne/.

(2012) Architektur: Doch revolutionär? disP – The Planning Review 2/2012.

with Günter Nest (2011) Städte im Fluss. StadtBauwelt 192/2011.

(2011) Bis das Wasser kommt. Taktiken der Infrastruktur-Versorgung und lokale Netzwerke in einer illegalen Siedlung am Wasser. StadtBauwelt 192/2011, 52-57.

with Günter Nest (2008) The Significance of Urban Water Bodies for Public Sphere. In: Bertuzzo, E.T. et al., Smooth and Striated. Dhaka/Berlin: Goethe-Institut Bangladesh/Habitat Forum Berlin. 


Conference Papers 

(2015) Circular Migration and Habitat: The city-country relation in an era of mophosshol-isation, Sustainable And Inclusive Urban Development In India: Learning from International Experiences and Devising Future Strategies, Institute for Human Development, New Delhi.

(2015) Archives of movement – Reading current transformations of migrant labour through the concept of movement, PSi 21 International Conference Fluid States Performances of Unknowing – Rethinking Labour and the Creative Economy: Global Performative Perspectives, JNU, New Delhi. 

(2014) All-Orte und der radizierte Raum, Revival of Places, VW-Foundation symposium, Hannover.

(2012) Zirkuläre Migration und Habitat – Zu einer Kulturwissenschaft der Bewegung, Mobilitäten/Immobilitäten, TU Dortmund .

(2010) Modernity in detail, Ethnographische Raumpraktiken conference of the Gesellschaft für Ethnographie (GfE), Berlin.


Convened Conferences 

(2015) Circular Migration and Habitat: Stories of Movement in Bangladesh and West Bengal, 2-days international workshop, CSSSC, Kolkata.

(2009) Prayer in the City – Islam, Sacred space and urban life, 3-days international conference, BGSMCS, FU Berlin.

Invited Lectures+

(2015) Stadt-Land-Stadt im Kontext Südasiens, Anthropo-geography Lecture Series, FU Berlin .

(2015) Country-City-Country Mobility in South Asia, Central Asian Seminar, HU Berlin.

(2014) On sacrifice – reflections on unorganised production in a squatter settlement of Dhaka, Bangladesh, Flamme Eternelle, installation by artist Thomas Hirschhorn at Palais de Tokio, Paris.

(2013) Contrasting Europe: Challenged 'public' in Kolkata, India, Summer School: How public is public? Challenged public spaces, Georg-Simmel Centre for Metropolitan Studies, Berlin.

(2010) From urban to urbanisation studies, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences Calcutta Lecture Series, Kolkata.

(2012) Differenz, Wiederholung, Mass: Eine Szenische Lesung, Feldforschungsfestival_Kultur der Akademie der Künste, Berlin.

Grants, Awards, and Fellowships+

TU Berlin Female Researchers Grant
PSi #21 International Conference Fluid States Performances of Unknowing – Rethinking Labour and the Creative Economy: Global Performative Perspectives, JNU, New Delhi

2008 – 2009
Post-doc Fellowship
Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies, FU Berlin

ZEIT-Stiftung Grant
Summer School „Stadt und Urbanität im 21. Jahrhundert, Hamburg

Professional and Academic Affiliations+

CSSSC: Centre for Studies of Social Sciences, Calcutta
Affiliated researcher

HIC: Habitat International Coalition

Other Projects+