Skip to main content

BMBF-project “’Welfare Queens’ and ‘Losers’: a critical race and intersectional perspective on the U.S. American welfare state”

BMBF-project “’Welfare Queens’ and ‘Losers’: a critical race and intersectional perspective on the U.S. American welfare state”BMBF-project “’Welfare Queens’ and ‘Losers’: a critical race and intersectional perspective on the U.S. American welfare state”

What power structures determine the U.S. welfare state? In the research project "'Welfare Queens' and 'Losers'", a team from the American Studies department at the University of Passau led by Dr. Grit Grigoleit is taking a closer look at racial and gender discrimination.

The socio-economic and structural inequalities in the U.S. between the white majority and racialized minorities have been steadily increasing. Current research on the U.S. welfare state seeks an explanation in the interaction of state, market, and family. Categories that create social inequality, such as race and gender, and their interactions, however, are rarely considered in the formation, implementation, and outcomes of welfare policies. The project "'Welfare Queens' and 'Losers'" addresses this research gap: Based on theoretical approaches of Critical Race Studies, this intersectional analysis shows for the first time the interconnectedness of race and gender in the development of the welfare state and scrutinizes underlying power structures.


"Our research project provides a critical race perspective on the welfare state," explains Dr. Grit Grigoleit, principal investigator of the project at the Professorship for American Studies / Cultural and Media Studies at the University of Passau. "We are pursuing the thesis that race and gender have determined the development path of the U.S. welfare state since its inception and have gained such institutional stability that no fundamental changes occur even in phases of social change." With her team, she examines, among other things, which sociopolitical frames and discourses regarding the inequality-creating categories of race and gender are established in the mass media. In addition, she uses two empirical case studies from Texas and Minnesota to show how regional conceptions of race and gender, as well as racist practices, determine the allocation and distribution of scarce resources. 


The interdisciplinary research project presents an important contribution to the understanding and impact of racism and thus strengthens the American Studies at the University of Passau with the research focus Ethnic and Racial Studies. 


The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding the project according to the funding guideline area studies for an initial period of three years.


Principal Investigator(s) at the University Prof. Dr. Karsten Fitz (Professur für Amerikanistik / Cultural and Media Studies), Dr. Grit Grigoleit-Richter (Professur für Amerikanistik / Cultural and Media Studies)
Project period 01.03.2021 - 29.02.2024
Source of funding
BMBF - Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung
BMBF - Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung
Share page

Playing the video will send your IP address to an external server.

Show video