Christopher Zraunig

all pronouns
Anthropology Graduate Student

Degrees prior to starting this degree program:

BSc 2016, University of Amsterdam

MSc 2018, University of Amsterdam

MA 2021, Princeton University

Areas of Interest:

Queer anthropology, empirical ethics, anthropology of aging and care, critical disability studies, anthropology of institutions, medical

Field Research Plans/History:

Christopher Zraunig is a doctoral candidate at Princeton's Anthropology Department. Christopher's ethnographic research centers around questions of good aging in the queer communities of Berlin and New York City: How do subjects who fail to adhere to heteronormative and ableist norms of successful aging create good later life for themselves and their chosen families? What are the possibilities and pitfalls of efforts towards diversification in geriatric settings by care institutions, and NGOs advocating for inclusion of LGBTQIA+ and (post-)migrant communities? How does the increasing recognition by the nation state of LGBTQIA+ subjects as deserving citizens impact the carescapes of queer seniors? But also, how are liberal forms of inclusion of some LGBTQIA+ subjects entangled with the exclusion of queer and non-queer others?

To answer these questions, Christopher conducted 18 months of ethnographic fieldwork with LGBTQIA+ elders and their formal and informal care settings: nursing homes, intergenerational support networks, people's homes, gay senior groups, queer housing projects, LGBTQIA+ service and lobbying agencies, geriatric diversity workers & advisory councils, etc. Christopher complements their ethnography with archival data from Schwules Museum Berlin, expert interviews with politicians, policy makers, and LGBTQIA+ lobbyists, as well as memoirs and literature by queer elders. Christopher’s project has an interdisciplinary approach, engaging in conversations with queer theory, public health/medical anthropology, empirical ethics, critical disability studies, and the anthropology of institutions. 

Christopher's dissertation research has been supported by grants from the Wenner-Gren Foundation (Dissertation Fieldwork Grant), and the American Ethnological Society.

For the academic year 2024/2025 Christopher will be a fellow at Princeton's University Center for Human Values, where he was awarded the Laurance S. Rockefeller Graduate Prize Fellowship.

For their MSc from the University of Amsterdam (2018), Christopher conducted ethnographic fieldwork among long-term survivors of HIV in New York City, investigating the multiplicity and indeterminacy of human-viral becomings. Christopher is currently working on an ethnographic play performance based on material from this research.

Before starting their PhD at Princeton, Christopher worked as an ethnographic researcher at the Amsterdam University Medical Center on an interdisciplinary project on dementia care.

Membership/activities in graduate student events or organizations:

Certificate Program in Gender and Sexuality Studies