Curriculum Vitae

Ulrike Bialas is a post-doctoral research fellow in the Department of Socio-Cultural Diversity, specializing in the study of categories and categorization processes in the context of international migration. Her forthcoming ethnographic book Forever 17: Coming of Age in the German Asylum System ( examines the role of the legal and social category of age in the lives of young asylum seekers in Germany. Ulrike is currently conducting an interview-based study that explores the intricate decision-making processes surrounding migration pathways and legal statuses among migrants from Syria.

Prior to joining the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Ulrike completed a PhD in Sociology at Princeton University (with a focus on International Migration, Urban Sociology, and Science and Technology Studies) and a BA and MA in Social Sciences at Humboldt University Berlin.

Research Projects


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Bialas, U. (2023). Forever 17: Coming of age in the German asylum system. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. (

Special Issue Editorships

Bialas, U., Lukate, J., & Vertovec, S. (in progress). Contested Categories in the Context of Migration. Ethnic and Racial Studies.

Bialas, U., & Lukate, J. (in progress). Beyond classification: Un/making Categories in the Context of Migration. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies.

Peer-reviewed journal articles

Bialas, U. (2023). Ambiguous Ages, Ambivalent Youths: How Asylum Seekers in Germany Navigate Age Categorization. Migration Politics, 2(1), 003.

Bialas, U. (2022). The Effect of Offspring Sex on Parents’ Migration Probabilities and Outcomes—A Natural Experiment. Sociological Inquiry, 92(S1), 681–709.

Bialas, U., & Sohail, J. (2022). Flucht nach vorne (seeking refuge in the future): Trauma, agency, and the fantasy of onward flight among refugees in Berlin. Ethos, 50(4), 480–495.

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