Museum des Kapitalismus by Talulah Geheim and Kate Nixon

Going into this museum, I thought it would be well-funded like some of the other ones we have gone to this block. I did question the opening hours, as it was only open for two hours a day, and it was labeled temporarily closed on Google. What a surprise that a museum about the harmful impacts of capitalism in a capitalist country would not be well-funded! A majority of the displays were introductory, however, accessible and engaging to anyone unfamiliar with critiques of capitalism. Just like race, gender and sexuality, class is another social status that is used to oppress people, and we have discussed the ways intersectionality considers class along with race, gender, and sexuality. During our Jewish History walking tour, we touched on the topic of people who have the privilege to flee and seek refuge, during the Holocaust that was typically wealthy men. A prime example of this is Fazali Taylan, a rich Turkish businessman discussed in “Turk and Jew in Berlin: The First Turkish Migration to Germany and the Shoah” by Marc David Baer. Turkish people were also sent to concentration camps during the Nazi regime. During this time, the Schutzstaffel (or SS) offered the repatriation multiple times to the Turkish government for thousands of people. The Turkish government did not seem to care until it was Taylan, a Turkish migrant with Jewish ancestry. Because of his assets and business exporting German technical goods to Turkey, Turkey actively intervened to save Taylan’s life. While we often hear the stories of the rich like Taylan, the stories of the poor are often overlooked. Grassroots movements and organizations are the wheels for change, yet once the change occurs, the government takes all credit for creating such an “amazing society.” This was also discussed during the Jewish History walking tour when we learned Germany was being praised for being a country that recognizes its own past, but that was only done after the grassroots movements for Holocaust recognition in the 1970s.

by Talulah Geheim

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Kate Nixon

On our penultimate day of the course and after a walking tour focused on the history of poverty and solidarity in Berlin, we visited the Museum des Kapitalismus (Museum of Capitalism). While the museum was on the smaller side, it was packed with interactive exhibits that often made you work for the knowledge (clever!). As a visual learner, I really enjoyed the visual explanations of capitalism—most of the details about how capitalism functions as a system of oppression had concrete examples that were easily digestible. The one section of the museum I especially appreciated was the visualization of intersectionality, a concept coined by American civil rights advocate Kimberlé Crenshaw that “is a metaphor for understanding the ways that multiple forms of inequality or disadvantage sometimes compound themselves and create obstacles that often are not understood among conventional ways of thinking.” This specific display let each person place planks, such as sexism, classism, and racism, that divided pegs that represented people into sections. These sections represent how multiply marginalized groups face different forms of oppression based on how their identities intersect. These intersecting identities create unique experiences that cannot be universalized based on one sole identity category, such as race or gender. Overall, the museum’s displays of how systemic oppression operates in everyday life make it all the more understandable to those who are more unfamiliar with the systems. The museum was also attentive to the specific ways in which capitalism functions in Germany, which I think is especially relevant for locals who may stop in and want to understand more about how capitalism functions here. Particularly after our walking tour that morning, the museum was a great explanation and insight into how people are forced into poverty that is often generational, and it helped me understand how state structures often perpetuate these conditions.

Kate Nixon is a rising senior pursuing a double major in Feminist & Gender Studies and Psychology, with an interest in finding where the two intersect and how they can inform each other. Raised in Maryland and Kansas City, Kate enjoys being in nature and exploring new places. When not working on classwork or the Colorado College newspaper, you can find Kate with friends making art or reading queer and feminist books in various coffee shops.

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A Day in the Life of the #FemGeniusesinBerlin by Italia Alexandria Bella’-Victoria Rodriguez Quintana and Kate Nixon

Italia Alexandria Bella’-Victoria Rodriguez Quintana

This week’s readings contextualized the fall of the Berlin Wall and the violence during integration of West and East Germany. As a Mexican-American, it felt impossible for me not to see the methods of violence globally maintained in the 21st century. I thought often about Transnational Feminism as a framework to explore borders and how they position us in a false binary of confined or protected. Additionally, we’ve learned Critical Race Theory functions as a framework to understand the racialization of immigration legislature, as well as the creation of national identities that essentialize exclusionary ideologies. The paradigm of “who belongs” versus “who is excluded” has been necessary to utilizing people as tools of oppressive institutions, exemplified in the violent treatment of migrant groups within West Germany. Our class discussion then changed to forms of resistance in Germany and how the fight for liberation includes anticipation of our oppressors fighting back to maintain power. This was discussed in relationship to ideals of work and production, as those who face the worst of capitalism in the U.S. (Black and Brown communities) are also faced with the question: Will I choose to rest or resist? Similarly, Black and Brown women are asked to position themselves as silent victims of violence for the betterment of their communities. This can be analyzed in the discouragement of reinforcing racial stereotypes and brutalization towards Black and Brown communities, while silencing conversations of intracommunity issues. I see this in relation to frameworks of Black Feminist Theory, as Black women are asked to give up their racial or gender identity to focus on a singular experience of oppression, which flattens the complexity of existing within the intersections of multiply marginalized categories. This week’s readings also examined the relationship between colonialism and the construction of race, which has served as historical context for how marginalized groups are treated in contemporary Germany. On the streets, we saw street art of a cop saying “aquí no necesitamos a gente como tu.” This contributed to my understanding of Germany by emphasizing the dichotomy between differing systems of racialization that globally share foundations of anti-immigrant sentiments. The street art piece, which translates to “we don’t need people like you here,” reminded me of our class in which we discussed how borders designate whether we belong and how racialized national identities designate BIPoC as forever foreign.

Italia Alexandria Bella’-Victoria Rodriguez Quintana is a Xicana from South Denver, Colorado. Her name seems long, but it represents her and her mom’s shared interest in paying homage to the people who made her. Italia is a Romance Languages major with minors in Political Science and Race, Ethnicity, and Migration Studies. Her study of linguistics allows her to explore history and culture through personal narratives, serving as a method of decolonization of the self. She enjoys reading feminist theory, Instagram reels, thinking|pondering, weightlifting, and reviewing food w| her bestie on @latinayumtinas.

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Kate Nixon

Hello, and welcome to my day in the life on a lovely Wednesday in Berlin! I started my morning with yogurt and coffee (made by one of my wonderful roommates—thank you Elliot!!) and headed to class. We started class with a discussion of love—questioning how is love defined and how is it pushing us towards resistance? The day before, we went on a tour exploring the escape tunnels built under the Berlin Wall during the Cold War. One of the largest factors motivating these escapes was love, so much so that one man made sure the tunnel he built was tall enough for his fiancé to use without having to crouch down. These tunnels showed us how love gave those tunnel builders purpose and motivation to keep going even despite the low (25%) success rate of the tunnels. Our conversation then shifted to how we keep resisting, knowing that regardless of our best efforts, nothing will be successful 100% of the time. While we didn’t come up with any concrete solutions, we came back to love and how necessary it is to have in hard times. Keeping with the discussion of staying motivated when everything seems exhausting, we talked about the importance of rest. As self-defined “Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet” Audre Lorde has written, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” We discussed how napping is a form of self-care and active resistance, and in honor of that, after class and amazing visits to a gluten-free café and a queer bookstore, I decided to take a nap. After I arose from my restorative siesta, Elliot and I decided to head to the Berlin State Library to finish off the night with some schoolwork.

Kate Nixon is a rising senior pursuing a double major in Feminist & Gender Studies and Psychology, with an interest in finding where the two intersect and how they can inform each other. Raised in Maryland and Kansas City, Kate enjoys being in nature and exploring new places. When not working on classwork or the Colorado College newspaper, you can find Kate with friends making art or reading queer and feminist books in various coffee shops.

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Some Final Thoughts on the 2023 #FemGeniusesinBerlin by Dr. Heidi R. Lewis

“Gotta hit them muthafuckin’ angles! It’s a short life!”
—Drake, “Nice for What” (2018)

Judy at the DARK MATTER Museum with Me and Chase

I want to be honest. Every summer since around 2018, about halfway through this course (which I’ve taught annually since 2014 and except in 2020 and 2021 because of COVID-19), I contemplate not teaching it again. Most of the time, that has little to nothing to do with the students, who are usually great overall. The real issue is I’m getting older and changing in ways I never thought I would. Sometimes I think seriously about leaving the liberal arts or even about leaving the academy altogether. I don’t love teaching the same way I used to five years ago let alone twenty years ago when I taught my first college course while pursuing my Master’s degree. A large part of that is probably also due to my kids getting older. I now have an 18-year-old son headed to college this fall and a 17-year-old daughter headed into her senior year of high school. So, I’m interested in reinventing myself and spending more time with my elders and folks my own age. Plus, teaching in Berlin is exhausting. I still do everything the students do, including the walking tours and museum visits. Then, when my kids come along (as they did in 2016, 2017, and 2022, and my daughter also came this year), I’m energized by doing additional things with them like going swimming, shopping at flea markets, going to the zoo, and visiting extra museums. But that’s also exhausting.

But then, something(s) always happens to give me a spark, a second wind, if you will—another reminder of why I love teaching this course and why I’ll come back again.

Photo Credit: Katharin Luckey, 2023 #FemGeniusesinBerlin

This year, I remembered to visit a space where I once wondered if I could hold class for discussion days. The Regenbogenfabrik (or Rainbow Factory), just across the street from the flat where I’ve lived almost every year since 2018, is a self-governing, emancipatory, grassroots collective that began in 1981 (the year I was born) as part of the tenant’s rights movement in Kreuzberg. But to be honest again, my remembering the space wasn’t intentional. In fact, I hadn’t thought about it once this year—despite passing it multiple times daily—until I was preparing for our class swap and convergence class with Dr. Zachary Woods of Seattle University. I reserved rooms for us at two spaces that have been friends of the #FemGeniusesinBerlin for years, xart splitta and the FHXB Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg Museum. One “fell through” for that morning, so I wrote the Regenbogenfabrik staff last minute asking if we could use their kino (theater). They said “yes,” and it was truly amazing. It reminds me so much of the now-defunct Brauni space that I was introduced to by Jewish Antifa in 2017 and where I held discussion days in 2018. I’m really looking forward to having class there and not only because I’d only have to leave my flat 15 minutes before class starts. So, that was one thing, and I’m starting with that, because sometimes it really is the “little” things that make a huge difference.

On that note, the majority of folks in Berlin were surprisingly kind this year. Never have so many strangers smiled at and offered to help me. It was unreal. My friend Sharon and I even met a guy from Detroit as we were leaving a coffee date. Shoutout to the Midwest. I wonder if some of the unusual kindness I’ve experienced is related to folks being happy to be back outside “after” COVID-19, but to be more honest, I don’t really care. As I told my student Kaléa during a walking tour, the older I get, the more I appreciate random acts of kindness. I need it. I receive it.

Ria and Me

Of course my friends, colleagues, and comrades here are always a reminder. I even met some new folks I’m excited to connect with again next year. To the former, I visited Ika Hügel-Marshall’s grave for the first time with Ria, Jasmin, Dagmar, and their friends Sabine and Katharin, who I met back in 2015. Every year, we go to the cemetery to see and tend to May’s grave, as well as Mike Reichel’s and Fidelis Grotke’s. This was the first time Ika wasn’t with us in the physical. I miss her. Most of all, I’m so thankful to have known and loved her and to have been loved by her. My daughter Chase and I were also so happy to spend time with Deborah, Katja, Ecki, Peggy, and Maisha in their garden. As usual, the food and drinks were delicious and the company was even better. I was thankful to hear Sharon and my other friend Josy read from their new books and seeing Tiffany at the former. I was thankful to have dinner with Rebecca, especially since she’s now a tenured professor in the U.S. and may not always be visiting Berlin when I’m in town. I want to spend every moment possible with my folks—sharing stories, smoking, eating, drinking, and laughing, especially my elders. Every hug, every kiss on the cheek, every toast is a reminder.

I do miss my best friend Dana, who came to Berlin with me as the Second Responsible Adult (SRA) five times between 2016 and 2019. It’s still hard for me to think about being in the city let alone actually being in it without her. To fill the void, my daughter, Judy, and I went to what felt like 100 flea markets and museums. I walked when it was possible to take public transportation way more than I was willing when Dana was with me. I also took pictures of the weirdest things like a donut on the bus and a bumblebee on a flower. She was definitely here in spirit.

Still, it was great having Judy back. Judy, a Feminist & Gender Studies at Colorado College alum (2020) and member of the Fall 2017 #FemGeniusesinBerlin, acted as the SRA last year and this one. The students and I always love hearing about her research on Indianthusiasm (or hobbyism) in Germany. Moreover, I remain honored that this course was one small catalyst for her work.

Italia and Marisa during the Street Art & Graffiti Walking Tour

Last, but never least, my spark was lit by this incredible group of students—these 19 students (highest enrollment for the course ever!) who were thoughtful, curious, funny, and super duper fly. It’s been a long time since I taught a course in which the Black students, Brown students, and other students of color were the majority and also gave so many damns about how they look. I firmly believe in the “look good, feel good” mantra, and these “kids” stayed camera-ready, and I loved to see it—hence, the Drake quote opening this essay. Oh, and for the record, can’t nobody serve poked lips in a picture like Marisa, honey. It was absolutely beautiful. I was so inspired. If I continue with my honesty theme, though, these were some of the slowest walkin’ students in the history of this course, probably in the history of all of mankind. Emma referred to them as “saunterers,” and I absolutely concur. But that was part of their swag, and it was only really annoying during walking tours—for me, that is. Haha. And their bond seemed so genuine. That’s not a prerequisite or a learning outcome for the course. However, it’s always a beautiful thing when I get to witness and support students developing substantial relationships. To be fair, several knew (or at least knew of) each other beforehand, but even those students seemed to grow closer during their time here.

The Street Art & Graffiti Walking Tour

And they’re so smart. I felt compelled to ask several if they’d thought about graduate school, because I see future professors in this group who’ll write critical scholarship that interrogates oppression and resistance with an especially necessary focus on intra-communal relationships. I see artists who’ll create critical spaces that center subjugated and oppressed people. I see K-12 teachers who’ll do the same. Whatever they become, I know the world is and will continue to be brighter with them in it. I feel sadness thinking about those slated to graduate next year, since I may not have them in class again. Still, and most importantly, I feel hope thinking about their futures. I also feel gratitude for being a small part of their journeys.

Chase and Judy before the SZA Concert

In closing, and as of this writing (June 21—save a few edits), I miss my husband and son more than words can say. I miss my house. I miss my bed. I miss our pets. I miss my friends. I miss my home office. I miss writing. I miss Black America. I miss Hip Hop. I’m ready to go home. But I will be back. And I’m already looking forward to it.

P.S. Other highlights include my daughter Chase’s budding friendship with Atquetzali; the SZA concert; my very novice attempt at storytelling during the German colonialism walking tour; my even more novice attempt at theorizing the bra we saw hanging on a wall during the graffiti and street art walking tour (#FreetheNipple); the convergence class with Zach; the new photojournal assignment; the students’ extra credit postcards; our first cracks at the Precarious Berlin walking tour I learned about from Adam, our Jewish history tour guide, and the Museum des Kapitalismus; and #FleaMarketFrenzy and #MuseumMayhem with Chase and Judy.

Click here to view a slideshow of pictures of the 2023 #FemGeniusesinBerlin, and follow on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook (@FemGeniuses and|or @AudresFootsteps on all platforms) to see more. To view final project indices and slideshows for previous #FemGeniusesinBerlin, click here

PhotoJournal Index:

German Colonialism Walking Tour with Josephine Apraku” by Katharin Luckey and Ella Simons
The Neues Museum” by Kaléa Daniels and Glorie Michelle Romero Elvir Enamorado
A Day in the Life of the #FemGeniusesinBerlin” by Noor Issa and Nova Yu
Jewish History Walking Tour with Adam Schonfeld” by Brailey Harris and Emma Fowkes
The German Resistance Memorial” by Marisa Diaz Bonacquisti and Talulah Geheim
A Day in the Life of the #FemGeniusesinBerlin” by Barbara Bilić and Gabby Rogan
A Day in the Life of the #FemGeniusesinBerlin” by Atquetzali Quiroz and Ella Simons
Die Mauer asisi Panorama” by Jordan Fields and Gabby Rogan
Under the Berlin Wall with Berliner Unterwelten” by Elie Deshommes and Elliot Triplett
A Day in the Life of the #FemGeniusesinBerlin” by Italia Alexandria Bella’-Victoria Rodriguez Quintana and Kate Nixon
Graffiti and Street Art Walking Tour with Alternative Berlin” by Noor Issa and Cecelia Russell
Urban Nation Art Museum” by Nova Yu and Barbara Bilić
A Day in the Life of the #FemGeniusesinBerlin” by Glorie Michelle Romero Elvir Enamorado and Marisa Diaz Bonacquisti
A Day in the Life of the #FemGeniusesinBerlin” by Brailey Harris and Elie Deshommes
The Schwules* Museum” by Jordan Fields and Emma Fowkes
Queer Berlin Walking Tour with Mal Pool” by Elliot Triplett and Cecelia Russell
On the History of Poverty and Solidarity: The Precarious Berlin Walking Tour with Stefan Zollhauser” by Kaléa Daniels and Italia Alexandria Bella’-Victoria Rodriguez Quintana
Museum des Kapitalismus” by Kate Nixon and Talulah Geheim
Graffiti Workshop with Berlin Massive” by Atquetzali Quiroz and Katharin Luckey


Created by Zianah Griffin (Editor), Paige Kahle (Journalist), Mckenna Ryan (Journalist), and Kate Nixon (Graphic Designer) in FG200 Feminist Theory during Block 6 2022

“Welcome to DRAGTOPIA!, a sickening, otherworldly drag magazine. As a team of queer students, we believe in amplifying the contributions of queer and trans people in the fight for a free, more joyful society. We focus on the brilliant world of drag because there are many rich historical and cultural contributions from drag communities and movements, from dance to makeup to consciousness building.”
—Zianah Griffin, Editor

View the “Table of Contents” below, and click here to read DRAGTOPIA! in its entirety.


Fearing Feminism: Anti-Feminist Women in the Information Age

This video, written and produced by Colleen Campbell, Bella Christofferson, Dylan Johnson, and Kate Nixon in FG110 Introduction to Feminist & Gender Studies at Colorado College with Professor Heidi R. Lewis during Block 4 2020, explains various forms of anti-feminism to young social media users.