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Gesche Loft



Lansstraße 5-9
14195 Berlin

Research Interests

  • Urban sociology (in the Global North and South)
  • The impact of migration on urban life and policy
  • Social justice in an urban context
  • Participatory urban planning



since 2016

Doctoral Candidate at the Graduate School of North American Studies.
Freie Universität Berlin


Screenwriting student at the German Academy of Film and Television


Europa-Universität Viadrina
Master: Sociocultural Studies (Urbanismo Social in Medellín, Colombia)


Humboldt Universität Berlin
Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Studies and North American Studies


Professional Experience


Content Author for Engly – Englisch lernen für die Schule


Intern at the Goethe Institut Kolumbien, Bogotá


Freelance writer for tip Berlin, Berliner Zeitung

Locally funded Legal Defense Programs for Immigrants in the U.S. (Dissertationsprojekt)

Dissertation in Soziologie

Mentoring Team:
First supervisor: Prof. Harald Wenzel
Second supervisor: Prof. Markus Kienscherf
Third supervisor: Prof. Monica Vasanyi

In the United States, the regulation of immigration is currently being devolved from the federal to the local level via policy programs and data sharing, while the nation-state continues to have the final say on who is allowed into the country, and under which conditions they may stay.

Cities are under increasing pressure to "react" to this issue, with some choosing to aggressively reinforce federal immigration policing on the local level, and some positioning themselves against the trend by limiting the cooperation between ICE and local law enforcement.

Starting with the New York Immigrant Family Unity Program (NYIFUP) in 2013, a number of counties and municipalities have decided to fund legal defense programs for immigrants facing deportation. In the scope of my doctoral thesis, I would like to conduct a comparative case study to find out more about the origins, every day workings, and sustainability of these programs, and the way they might challenge conventional conceptions of citizenship.

Dahlem Research School
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft