Fiona Faßler
ifk Junior Fellow

Duration of fellowship
01. October 2018 bis 30. June 2019

Fellow Abroad

01. July 2019 bis 31. July 2020

Deutsches Hygiene-Institut (Dresden)

und Museum für Naturkunde (Berlin)



The Era of Dressage. On the Transformation and Regulation of Living Things in Modernity 


Until today, the popularity of Animal Training has been similar to that of the mid-19th century. People are fascinated by the narrative behind this subject, and believe the methods used enable us to control and make use of animal behaviour. People are especially intrigued by this vision in areas such as the history of circuses, behavioral science, military and cinematic history.

Alongside specific cases from these areas, the project aims to formulate a cultural history of training animals in modern times, while observing moments of disobedience, desertion and the training of animals as a marginal figure.


From 2010 to 2016, Fiona Faßler studied Culture History and Theory at the Humboldt University of Berlin. Between 2006 and 2010, she studied Art and Biology at the University of Duisburg-Essen. In her graduate thesis, she investigated the Cultural History of training insects – such as the Flea Circus and so-called “Cy-Bugs”. From 2012 to 2016, she served as a student associate in the Cultural Theory of Aesthetics and in several research projects at the Interdisciplinary Laboratory Image-Knowledge-Gestaltungat the Humboldt University. Among other projects, she worked in “Forms and Styles of Commands“. She also works on exhibition projects, and is active in Cultural Education. Since 2016, she has been working on her doctorate at the Humboldt University on the Cultural History of Training Animals in Modern Times.

03 June 2019
  • Lecture
Fiona Faßler


In der Dressurgeschichte treten Tiere, Menschen und Maschinen in ein neuartiges Verhältnis zueinander. Das Tier soll lernen wie ein Kind und zuverlässig arbeiten wie eine Maschine. Wie steht es um die Beziehung zwischen Tier und Maschine in der Kulturgeschichte der Dressur? Was haben Dressieren und Programmieren gemeinsam?