PhD in International Education

Annett Graefe Full Bio

Picture of Annett Graefe

Expected Date of Graduation: May 2017

Email Address:

Program: International Education

In general, my research interested in how societies, social institutions and organizations respond to demographic changes caused by immigration and migration. I am particularly interested in how schools may change to better accommodate or integrate new parts of the populations and how they respond to problems caused by the influx of new groups. In addition, I am fascinated by the ideas of nation, and national belonging, multiculturalism, inter-culturalism and their interaction with ideas of liberalism and how these concepts are translated into the lived experience of teachers, youth, educators, and parents. My dissertation research evaluates the ways in which minority religions are received in Berlin’s secondary schools. In particular I am looking at the ways in which Berlin’s mandatory ethics instruction, which is designed to follow a religiously and ideologically neutral curriculum, deals with religion.

Theoretically, I am utilizing neo-institutional organization theory to conceptualize the restraints and opportunities available (imposed by the school as an organization and by societal institutions at large) for the teaching of religion in ethics classes. My research thus seeks to apply a neo-institutional framework to the micro and mezzo-levels of organizational analysis. In addition, my research draws on cultural sociology as well as post-colonial theories from anthropology and the sociology of religions.

My work at NYU is indebted to many great scholars, colleagues, and mentors that have helped me shape my research. In particular I am thankful to my dissertation chair Professor Dana Burde, who has through countless meetings guided me in the development of my dissertation proposal and the logistics of my pre-dissertation research trips. In addition, I am grateful to Cynthia Miller-Idriss who has allowed me to gain experience managing, preparing, and analyzing data. Jim Fraser who took me on as a graduate assistant for his undergraduate class and provided much inside into the workings of religion in public schools. Richard Arum’s class Planned Change in Organizational Settings has provided a solid theoretical framework for my work. And Phil Hosay and Jon Zimmermann who always have an open ear for their students. In addition, I could not do what I do without the friendship and support of, and heated academic discussions with Ozen Guven, Grace Pai, and Heddy Lahmann.

Awards and fellowships:

  • 2015 NYU Global Research Initiative Fellowship Berlin ($10,400)
  • 2015 Steinhardt Doctoral Student Scholarship ($15,000)
  • 2015 Shearwater Foundation Grant for Dissertation Research ($1,000)
  • 2014 NYU Student Senators Council Conference Funding ($946)
  • 2012 Steinhardt Doctoral Student Fellowship ($26,000 for three years)
  • 2010 Else Nagel Memorial Scholarship Travel Grant ($100)

Conference Presentations:

3/15        Graefe, A. (2015). “Diversity in Berlin’s Primary and Secondary Schools: Reflections on the Past to look to the Future.” Comparative International Education Society National Annual Conference. Washington, DC.

4/14        Graefe, A. (2014). “Constructing the cultural Other in Policy Documents – Migrant Women and Mothers in the German National Integration Plan and Program(Poster).Steinhardt Scholarship Day, New York University, New York.

3/14        Graefe, A. (2014). “Education, the Integration of Ethnic Minorities, and EFA in Germany”. Comparative International Education Society National Annual Conference. Toronto, Canada.

11/13     Graefe, A. (2013). “Road to Success? Developments and Transformations in the German Vocational Education System”.  North-East Comparative International Education Society Regional Conference. Amherst, Massachusetts.

4/13        Graefe, A. (2013). "Facing a History of War and Ethnic Cleansing - Challenges and Accomplishment of K-12 Democracy Education in Bosnia and Herzegovina". International Education Conference, New York University, New York, New York.

4/10        Bowen, B. and A. Graefe. (2010). “A Pursuit of Happiness in Imagined Spaces – Wladimir Kaminer’s Russendisko”. Germanic Graduate Student Conference Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio.             

Courses taught:

Teaching and Graduate Assistant:

Comparative Studies of Socialization (Spring 2014 & 2015)

Comparative Studies of Education: Qualitative Methods (Fall 2013 & 2014)

Religion and Public Education in an International Context (Fall 2014)

Adjunct Instructor:

German Culture and Conversation (Spring 2011)

Elementary German 1 (Fall & Spring 2011; Fall 2008)

Elementary German 2 (Fall & Spring 2011, Spring 2009)

Intermediate German 1 (Fall 2011, Spring 2010, Fall 2009)

Contemporary German Culture – Multiculturalism in German Society (Fall 2011)


Intergroup Dialogue: National Origin (Fall 2013)