In Memoriam: Professor Beate Collet

13 April, 2023

It is with great sadness that we announce the recent passing of Professor Beate Collet on 4 April 2023. She was a Professor of Sociology at Sorbonne University since 2007, Deputy Director of the research center GEMASS, and a visiting professor at Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi. Professor Collet taught important courses in the Bachelor of Philosophy and Sociology and in the Master of Applied Sociological Research. She was an extremely popular professor, as well as a dear colleague and friend to many among us. She was known for her dedication, kindness, joie de vivre, and genuine care for students, and she will be deeply missed.

As a sociologist of the couple and family, Beate Collet dedicated her career to the study of marital diversity and interethnic relations in France, while developing a comparative approach with Germany, her country of birth. She obtained her PhD in Sociology in 1995 at EHESS with a doctoral thesis on “Citizenships and Mixed Marriage in France and Germany” under the supervision of Dominique Schnapper. She was recruited as an Associate Professor in 1998 at the University of Lyon 2 before joining the University Paris-Sorbonne in 2007. She continued to work on the conceptualisation of conjugal mixity, making it the subject of her Professorial Thesis in 2018. She became a Full Professor at Sorbonne University in 2022.

Beate Collet was a respected and esteemed academic in the field of migration and family studies, and her research was marked by strong empirical anchoring, always accompanied by great rigor of analysis. Over the years, she collaborated with several researchers on collective research projects, such as her fruitful collaboration with Emmanuelle Santelli on the conjugal choices of descendants of immigrants or more recently with Christian Brouder and Elise Verley on women engaged in scientific careers at Sorbonne University.

In addition to her research, Professor Collet devoted much of her time to scientific, pedagogical, and administrative functions. She was the Deputy Director of the Department of Sociology and IT for Social Sciences from 2015 to 2021 and greatly contributed to the development of the Master of Sociology in Paris. She was also a member of the editorial board of several scientific journals and an elected member of the Research Committee of the University. Moreover, she served as a policy officer against discrimination and racism at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Sorbonne University. Frequently coming to Abu Dhabi for her teaching missions in the Philosophy and Sociology Department, she deeply enjoyed visiting the UAE, always keen to discover new places and exchange views and ideas with our students. She supervised numerous students with dedication for their Master’s thesis at Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi.

In recent months, Professor Collet continued to look to future research projects, demonstrating her unfailing intellectual curiosity and appetite for research. She was planning a project on the ‘Love is not Tourism’ movement, carried out by binational couples who, following the pandemic and the closure of borders, claimed their right to love and meet. She was also planning a project on refugees who marry Germans and a project with Dr Clio Chaveneau in Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi to research binational couples among Emirati society, highlighting what mixed families tell us about our societies and their changes.

Her memory will live on in the hearts and minds of her many friends and colleagues, as well as the thousands of students she taught and inspired.