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Lea Zentgraf


Freie Universität Berlin

ZI Lateinamerika-Institut

Doctoral Researcher

Feminist food movements, digital activism - Case Study Germany/Brazil

ZI Lateinamerika-Institut der Freien Universität Berlin
Geschäftsstelle: Boltzmannstr. 1
Room 106
14195 Berlin

Academic Experience

  • 2021-2024: Doctoral Researcher BMBF Junior Research Group Food for Justice | FU Berlin.
  • 2019-2021: Research Assistant BMBF Junior Research Group Food for Justice | FU Berlin.
  • 2019: Student Researcher Monitoring Human Rights and Democracy in Brazil | FU Berlin.


  • 2018-2021: Master | Interdisciplinary Latin American Studies | Freie Universität Berlin. Institute for Latin American Studies (LAI), Profile Political and Social Sciences (B). Thesis: „Women disputing the Brazilian public sphere: #Elenão vs. #Elesim. A critical feminist discourse analysis of the polarization during the 2018 presidential campaign“.
  • 2015-2016: Academic Year Abroad | Letras & Ciências Humanas | Universidade de São Paulo.
  • 2014-2017: Bachelor | Translation Studies | Ruprecht-Karls Universität Heidelberg. Thesis: “‘Plastische Mammachirurgie‘. Eine Terminologiearbeit zum Sprachenpaar Deutsch-Portugiesisch unter Betrachtung der soziokulturellen Hintergründe der brasilianischen Schönheitschirurgie“

Other Work Experience                                                                                                      

  • 2018-2021: Assistant Dep. Literatures and Cultures of Latin America | FU Berlin.
  • 2018: Internship in Journalism | Schwäbisches Tagblatt Tübingen.
  • 2017-2018: Trainee in PR and Communication | German-Brazilian Chamber of Industry and Commerce São Paulo (AHK São Paulo).
  • 2017: Internship in Translation | Brazilian Editor Vermelho Marinho.
  • 2013: Internship as Assistant Director | Studio Theater Stuttgart.
  • 2012: Internship as Assistant Stage Designer | Staatsoper Stuttgart.

Editorial Experience                                                                                                            


  • German - Native Speaker
  • Portuguese - Fluent (C1/C2)
  • English - Fluent (C1)
  • French - Advanced (B2)
  • Spanish - Advanced (B2)

Research Interests

Social movement studies, environmental studies, food studies, digital food activism, gender Studies, feminist theories, intersectionality, ecofeminism, digital media studies, postcolonialism, critical whiteness.


Gender. Power. Food: women's claims and actions in Food Movements in Germany

The modern food system plays a significant role in today's global crisis. Food movements question the current food politics and claim a more democratic, just, and sustainable system by advocating for a significant socio-ecological transformation. Consequently, food activists are agents of change and mobilize not only around the right to food and more sustainability but demand a shift in how food is produced, distributed, and consumed. There is a growing awareness of feminism and gender inequalities within food movements, which shows in recent social innovations taking up the gender question.

My Ph.D. project wants to identify how the category of gender is mobilized in food movements and which different demands and actions are disputed in the public sphere. Women play a significant role in the socio-ecological transformation and are often pioneers for innovation and change in food production and consumption.

To analyze women's claims and repertoires in food movements, I work on two case studies: the Berliner Ernährungsrat [Berlin Food Council] and the LandFrauenVerband. Both initiatives are important actors in the current food politics in Germany, making them the ideal cases for comparative analysis. They articulate collective action on a local, regional, and national scale and participate actively in the debate about problems and alternatives for the food system's future. Especially the differences between the political subjects, demands, and repertoires regarding scales (urbanity and rurality/local and regional), spheres (digital and analog), structural forces (economic, political, ecological, cultural, etc.), and intersectionality (class, race, gender, more-than-humans, etc.) are relevant for the research. The project applies a mixed-method design. It combines quantitative and qualitative methods; digital ethnography, content analysis, and semi-structured interviews.


  • Zentgraf, Lea, Kalix, Thalita (2022): „Food Movements, solidarity and new digital repertoires in (post-)pandemic times“. The Food System in the (Post-)Pandemic World: Disruptions, Vulnerability, Resilience, and Alternative, ISA RC40 Mini-Conference Leipzig, October 20
  • Zentgraf, Lea (2022): “Essen als Vermittler für politisch-ökologische Koalitionen“. Ad-Hoc-Group "Polarizing Social Debates as Impulses for Sociology of Land and Agriculture", 41st Congress of the German Sociological Association 'Polarized Worlds' at Bielefeld University, September 30.
  • Zentgraf, Lea (2022): "Rural struggles, socio-ecological transformation and unheard voices - the role of women in German food movements". Sommer Akademie “Rural Futures” ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin and Gerd Bucerius, September 20.

Summer/Winter Schools

  • Global Research Academy 2nd part Universidade de São Paulo: "Sustainable Cities". February 27 – March 02, 2023.
  • Summer Academy “Rural Futures”, ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin and Gerd Bucerius, Akademiezentrum Sankelmark. September 19 – 23, 2022.
  • Global Research Academy 1st part FU Berlin, King's College London: "Sustainable Cities". July 16-24 in 2022.
  • Summer School „Future of Food – Zukunftsfähige Ernährungssysteme“, Schloss Akademie Kirchberg. August 28 - September 4 in 2021. 

Professional Affiliations

Research Reports


  • Zentgraf, Lea (2022): "#EleNão #NotHim – a feminist strike". In: FKW Zeitschrift für Geschlechterforschung und visuelle Kultur, special issue: "how :// do we speak #feminism? // new global challenges“, Berlin. Link: https://www.fkw-journal.de/index.php/fkw/issue/view/85 
  • Suarez, Marcela, Zentgraf, Lea (forthcoming): "The vicious spiral of violence and resistance: hate speech and feminist protests in Brazil and Mexico." In: CLACSO, special issue.

Book chapters

  • Zentgraf, Lea (under revision): "Essen. Macht. Frauen. – Die Rolle von Gender und Care in Food Movements in Deutschland“. In: Rückert-John, J.; Wember, C.: Geschlecht und Ernährung: Perspektiven sozialen Wandels, Reihe des Gender- und Frauenforschungszentrum der Hessischen Hochschulen, Verlag Barbara Budrich.

Publications in Newspapers, Magazines and Websites