Nordic Women's and Gender History Conference

Nordiska kvinno- och genushistorikermötet

University of Oulu, Finland
7-9 June 2018



Nordic Women's and Gender History Conference

Nordiska kvinno- och genushistorikermötet

University of Oulu, Finland, 7–9 June 2018


Detailed programme of parallel sessions, see below             (updated May 29, 2018)


ABSTRACTS of individual papers, full sessions and roundtables (pdf)




Thursday, June 7th  


Registration, Faculty of Humanities entrance hall (Humanistinen tiedekunta)


Opening session, welcoming address, Lecture Hall L5

Seija Jalagin, Chair of the organising committee

Paula Rossi, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities             


Keynote: Lecture Hall L5

Professor Ana Carden-Coyne (University of Manchester, UK): Beyond the Veteran Body: Gendered Visions in the History of War Disability

Chair: Tiina Kinnunen


Lunch, Restaurant Mara


Parallel sessions 1




Parallel sessions 2


Reception at Oulu City Hall, Festival Hall, 2nd floor (Kirkkokatu 2a)


Friday, June 8th


Registration, Faculty of Humanities entrance hall (Humanistinen tiedekunta)


Parallel sessions 3




Keynote, Lecture Hall L5

Professor Pamela Scully (Emory University, USA):  Biography, Gender History, and the Limits of Reconciliation

Chair: Seija Jalagin


Lunch (Restaurant Mara)


Parallel sessions 4


National meetings


Conference dinner and party, Aleksinkulma (Aleksanterinkatu 9)


Saturday, June 9th


 Parallel sessions 5


Coffee & light lunch


Keynote, Lecture Hall L5

Professor Anu Koivunen (University of Stockholm, Sweden): The caring nation: Queer history, affect and the politics of remembering

Chair: Heini Hakosalo


Closing remarks & discussion

Professor Tiina Kinnunen, University of Oulu


Excursion to Hailuoto Island (separate registration & fee)

The bus leaves from Lasaretti Hotel (Kasarmintie 13b)





Thursday, June 7th

Parallel sessions 1 (13:00–14:30)




Session 1a    

Room HU205 (60)

Women facing economic crisis and financial distress in Scandinavia in the 16th–19th century I


Organisers: Sofia Gustafsson (University of Helsinki)

& Riina Turunen (University of Jyväskylä)

Chair: Sofia Gustafsson (University of Helsinki)

Commentator: Karin Hassan Jansson (Uppsala University)


  • Anu Lahtinen (University of Helsinki), Riches – to rags – to riches: The choices of a sixteenth century merchant widow
  • Guðný Hallgrímsdóttir (University of Iceland), Independent women in the eighteenth century and their struggle for a decent life
  • Tiina Hemminki (University of Jyväskylä), Female investors, creditors and debtors. A source critical study at probate inventories in the end of eighteenth century urban Finland


Session 1b

Room HU108 (30)

Queer history on the margins of the Nordic Region (ROUNDTABLE)


Organisers: Íris Ellenberger (University of Iceland)

& Riikka Taavetti (University of Helsinki)

Chair: Riikka Taavetti


  • Ásta Kristín Bendiktsdóttir (University of Iceland and University College Dublin)
  • Hafdís Erla Hafsteinsdóttir (independent historian, Vienna)
  • Elsi Hyttinen (University of Turku)
  • Íris Ellenberger (University of Iceland)
  • Tuula Juvonen (University of Tampere)
  • Riikka Taavetti (University of Helsinki)


Session 1c  

Room HU207 (54)

Humanitarian crises and gender – narratives and practices of transnational relief work from mid-19th to mid-20th Century


Organiser: Maria Småberg (Lund University)

Chair: Karina Hestad Skeie (NLA Høgskolen Bergen)


  • Norbert Götz (Södertörn University), Women in Aid Appeals and Relief Work: The Case of the Great Irish Famine, 1846/47
  • Lina Sturfelt (Lund University), Swedish Rädda barnen in the wake of the ‘gender order crises’ after the disaster of the First World War
  • Inger Marie Okkenhaug (Volda University College, Norway), Transnational Relief and Local Practices: The Swedish School in Jerusalem, 1936–1948 


Session 1d  

Room HU206 (40)

Images and Agency of Women in the Political Left and Right


Chair: Kaisa Vehkalahti (University of Oulu)


  • Rakel Adolphsdóttir (National and University Library of Iceland), Women in political and self-identity crisis within the Socialist Party in Iceland, 1939–1974. Were they active agents or merely decorations to catch the women’s vote?
  • Liisa Lalu (University of Turku), ”Good ideology ruined.” The Collapse of the Soviet Union in personal narratives of Finnish left-wing female activists
  • Marja Vuorinen (University of Helsinki), Little wives, feminist whores and Valkyries: The threefold imagery of the feminine in the 2010’s Nordic far right
  • Piia Vuorinen (University of Turku), Women who were suspected, followed and possibly interrogated by the Finnish security police in 1919–1944


Session 1e

Room HU111 (30)

Constructing Masculine Identities in 19th- and 20th-Century Finland


Chair: Daniel Blackie (University of Oulu)


  • Henrik Forsberg (University of Helsinki), Masculine submission: National narratives of the last great famine in Finland, c. 1868–1920
  • Cecilia Hortlund (Umeå Universitet), In the name of country, homestead and the domains of our fathers: A study of masculinity, nationalism, citizenship and identity in the Swedish speaking Civil Guards in Ostrobothnia 1918–1944
  • Eira Juntti (University of Jyväskylä), ‘Crises of masculinity’ in Finnish literature in the late 19th century


Session 1f

Room HU110 (20)

Gender in times of social and instititutional rupture


Chair: Essi Jouhki (University of Oulu)


  • Ainur Elmgren (University of Helsinki), Radical Ambition, Critical Reaction – Ada Norna and the Cultural Crisis of the 1930s
  • Heidi Kurvinen (University of Turku / University of Oulu), Finnish male journalists participating in the reconstruction of the nation in the 1950s
  • Malin Nordvall (Chalmers University of Technology), Reform and resistance: Responses at Chalmers University of Technology to a gender equal recruitment project in the early 1990s



Thursday, June 7th  

Parallel sessions 2 (15:00 – 17:00)


15:00 – 17:00


Session 2a

Room HU205 (60)

Women facing economic crisis and financial distress in Scandinavia in the 16th–19th century II


Organisers: Sofia Gustafsson (University of Helsinki)

& Riina Turunen (University of Jyväskylä)

Chair: Sofia Gustafsson (University of Helsinki)

Commentator: Karin Hassan Jansson (Uppsala University)


  • Tiina Miettinen (University of Tampere), Secret Solutions: Gentlemen and their housekeepers in 18th and 19th century Finland
  • Jezzica Israelsson (Uppsala University), Providing for themselves and others: Women's strategies for support in petitions to Swedish county administrations, ca 1730 to 1840
  • Riina Turunen (University of Jyväskylä), The question of fairness, but fairness to whom? Conflicting principles regarding the liability of abandoned wives to repay a household´s debts in nineteenth-century urban Finland
  • Pirita Frigren (University of Jyväskylä), Makeshift economy of deserted and divorced wives in the nineteenth century Finnish cities


Session 2b

Room HU207 (54)

Borders of Nordic Voting Rights: Economic Eligibility and Gender in Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden before and after Universal Suffrage


Organiser: Fia Sundevall (Stockholm University & Swedish Labour Movement’s Archive and Library)

Chair: Astrid Elkjær Sørensen (University of Aarhus)


  • Eirinn Larsen (University of Oslo), Suffrage – first and foremost a question of honour? Norway 1814–1919
  • Minna Harjula (University of Tampere), Economic competence and voting restrictions after universal suffrage (1906) in Finland
  • Fia Sundevall (Swedish Labour Movement’s Archive and Library), Money and citizenship: Economic suffrage restrictions in Sweden 1921–1945
  • Thorgerdur Thorvaldsdottir & Ragnheiður Kristjánsdóttir (University of Iceland), Suffrage (not) granted – or lost. Suffrage, gender and class. Intersectional reflections on the construction and constraints of a lawful citizen in Iceland, 1915–1934


Session 2c

Room HU111 (30)

Otherness, Gender and Boundary Crises: Discourses on Minority Peddlers in Late Nineteenth-Century Finland


Organisers: Jutta Ahlbeck & Ann-Catrin Östman (Åbo Akademi University)

Chair: Ann-Catrin Östman


  • Jutta Ahlbeck & Hanna Lindberg (Åbo Akademi University), Anxieties and Peddling in Nineteenth-Century Finland
  • Sandra Waller (Åbo Akademi University), Implicit Crises: Othering and Questionnaires
  • Anna Sundelin (Åbo Akademi University), Peddlers Settling Down. Crises in Community?
  • Johanna Wassholm & Ann-Catrin Östman (Åbo Akademi University), Curiosity, Fear and Conflict: Strangers on the Fair in Nineteenth-Century Finland


Session 2d

Room HU206 (40)

Motherhood and Marriage in Transition


Chair: Sirpa Aalto (University of Oulu)


  • Anna Niiranen (University of Jyväskylä), “A source of dread, anxiety, and subsequent regret”? Pregnancy as a potential crisis in nineteenth century British medicine
  • Dalrún J. Eygerðardóttir (University of Iceland), “What else could I do?” A historical analysis of single mothers working as housekeepers in the Icelandic rural society 
  • Erla Doris Halldórsdóttir (independent historian), Widowers after losing their wives in childbirth in the 19th century


Session 2e

Room HU108 (30)

Encounters with the “Other”: The Personal and the Political


Chair: Seija Jalagin (University of Oulu)


  • Christian Gerdov (Mittuniversitet), Kris i befolkningsfrågan – ett (tredje) världsproblem?
  • Ritva Larva (University of Turku), Acquiring a new skill during the war times – Marta Keravuori becoming a Japan specialist
  • Yulia Gradskova (Södertörn University). Presentation of the book Gendering Postsocialism. Old Legacies and New Hierarchies




Friday, June 8th

Parallel sessions 3 (9:00 – 10:30)




Session 3a

Room HU110 (20)

Remembrance and emotions I


Chair: Daniel Blackie (University of Oulu)


  • Eve Annuk (Estonia Literary Museum), Body, femininity and motherhood: Women’s unspoken stories about Soviet period Estonia
  • Ilmari Leppihalme (University of Oulu), Embodied memories and affective (re)mapping in Anu Kaipainen’s evacuee novels
  • Maarit Leskelä-Kärki (University of Turku), Life’s catastrophes: Interpreting life crises in biographical research


Session 3c

Room HU207 (54)

Kropp och kön i svensk dags- och populärpress 1920–2015, session I 


Organiser: Emma Severinsson (Lunds Universitet)

Chair: Heidi Kurvinen (Turku universitet & Oulu universitet)


  • Ulrika Holgersson (Lunds universitet), I ljuset av hennes död. Begravningar som mediehändelser i liberal dagspress från Sofia av Nassau till Anna Lindh
  • Klara Arnberg (Stockholms universitet), Gentlemannens paradis? Stockholms “porrgata” som ett kommersiellt, könat och medierat rum 1960–1990 

  • Emma Severinsson (Lunds universitet), Jakten på den ideala svenskan – ras, nationalitet och feminitet i skönhetstävlingar 1921–1933


Session 3d

Room HU111 (30)

New perspectives: letters and crises


Chair: Kaisa Harju (University of Oulu)


  • Margrét Gunnardóttir (University of Iceland), The tragedy of a Danish adventurer: “The King of Iceland!” in 1809, Jörgen Jörgensen, as seen in his letters to his mother and siblings
  • Marjo Kaartinen (University of Turku), Practices of Coping with Separation: The Case of Vera Hjelt (1857–1947)
  • Heini Hakosalo (University of Oulu), Högbergsgatan 13 at war: A microhistorical case study on the effects of the outbreak of the Winter War (1939–40) on the gender and social relationships of a Helsingfors housing company


Session 3e

Room HU205 (30)

Crisis, gender and literature


Chair: Hanna-Leena Nissilä (University of Oulu)


  • Katarina Leppänen (University of Gothenburg), Crisis of femininity in early 20th century Nordic novels
  • Nina Työlahti (University of Oulu), Crisis as a Literary Device – Sentimentalism in Heikki Meriläinen’s Novel The Girls of Pietola (1892)
  • Merlin Kirikal (Tallinn University), Obsessive working and divided self – Crisis and female creativity in Johannes Semper’s Jealousy (1934)


Session 3f

Room HU108 (60)

World War I and civil war as frames for gender and crisis


Chair: Tiina Kinnunen (University of Oulu)


  • Íris Ellenberger (University of Iceland), Gendered aspects of foreignness in Reykjavík 1900–1920
  • Marjaliisa Hentilä (University of Helsinki), Dreaming of a peaceful revolution: Hilja Pärssinen, a Member of the Red Cabinet in 1918 in Finland
  • Marianne Junila (University of Oulu) & Tiina Lintunen (University of Turku), Thinking back on the Finnish Civil War 1918 – Young girls’ ways of coping with crises and trauma




Friday, June 8th  

Parallel sessions 4 (14:00 – 16:00)




Session 4a

Room HU111 (30)

Remembrance and emotions II


Chair: Nina Työlahti (University of Oulu)


  • Hanna-Leena Nissilä (University of Oulu), War, memories and women writers – “Evacuee literature as creative remembrance
  • Kirsi Tuohela (University of Turku), Breakdown – crises in women’s autobiographies of mental illness
  • Tuija Huuki & Maija Lanas (University of Oulu), Affective, historical and material entanglements in a painful past-present lecture-assemblage of an Arctic adult-child
  • Synne Myrebøe (Umeå University), Rational crises: Martha Nussbaum and the politics of emotions



Session 4b

Room H1

Free and unfree labour in the Nordic countries: A gender history perspective


Organisers: Fia Sundevall (Stockholm University & Swedish Labour Movement’s Archive and Library) & Yvonne Svanström (University of Stockholm)

Chair: Fia Sundevall

Commentators: Astrid Elkjær Sørensen & Ann-Catrin Östman



  • Carolina Uppenberg (University of Gothenburg), Servants in free and unfree labour: Gender and labour relations in 18th and 19th century Sweden
  • Hanne Østhus (independent researcher), Perspectives from free/unfree labour and gender history. The example of service and slavery in eighteenth-century Denmark-Norway
  • Yvonne Svanström (University of Stockholm), Unemployed and Forced to Labour: Vagrancy, Legislation and Gender in Sweden 1920s–1950s
  • Johanna Overud (Umeå University), Bound by location: The localization of jobs and the activation of women in the 1960s and 1970s Swedish rural north


Session 4c

Room HU207 (54)

Kropp och kön i svensk dags- och populärpress 1920–2015, session II


Organiser: Emma Severinsson (Lunds Universitet)

Chair: Heidi Kurvinen (Turku Universitet & Oulu universitet)


  • Helena Tolvhed (Stockholms universitet), Att bygga en kropp. Medierade representationer av och förhandlingar om kvinnors bodybuilding ca 1970–2015

  • Wilma Sjöberg (Stockholms universitet), Motorsport och maskulinitet. Konstruktionen av tävlingsförare inom rally och Formel 1 i Svenska medier 1948-1999


  • Paneldiskussion: Kropp, nationalitet och kommersialism. Mediehistoriska komparationer i 1900-talets Sverige  


Session 4d

Room HU208 (20)

State, gender and eugenics


Chair: Niina Timosaari (University of Oulu)


  • Merle Wessel (University of Greifswald), Motherhood in Crisis – Eugenic Feminism in the Nordic Countries, ca. 1890–1940
  • Sophy Bergenheim (University of Helsinki), Women bringing down and saving the nation: National and collective crises as gendered issues in Finland and Swedish-speaking Finland, 1920s–1950s
  • Malin Arvidsson (Lund University), State redress for involuntary sterilization in Sweden and Denmark 


Session 4e

Room HU206 (40)

Women, War and Survival: Coping with Political Crises, Persecutions and Unrest in China and the Middle East, 1898–1930


Organiser: Inger Marie Okkenhaug (Volda University College)

Chair: Inger Marie Okkenhaug

Commentator: Lina Sturfelt (Lund University)


  • Inger Marie Okkenhaug (Volda University College), Scandinavian Involvements, War and a Gendered Refugee Crisis, Turkey and the Levant, 1915–1930
  • Maria Småberg (Lund University), Sexual Violence and Survival – Humanitarian narratives of Armenian women as victims and agents during the 1915 Armenian Genocide
  • Karina Hestad Skeie (NLA University College), Violent death, fear and spiritual warfare: Norwegian Missionaries and Chinese Christians in Hubei and Henan 1898–1930


Session 4f

Room HU108 (30)

Kunskapens kön – perspektiv på akademisk maskulinitet


Organisatörer: Helena Bergman & Kirsti Niskanen (Stockholms Universitet)

Ordförande och kommentator: Sigrídur Matthiásdóttir


  • Anders Ahlbäck (Åbo Akademi), Om att identifiera akademisk maskulinitet inom undervisningskulturen
  • Helena Bergman (Södertörns högskola & Stockholms universitet),  Vetenskapens osynliga män – vetenskaplig auktoritet och maskulinitet i svensk alkoholforskning, 1940–1960-tal
  • Hanna Lindberg (Åbo Akademi), Om män, för män, av män – Den finländska efterkrigstida alkoholforskningen som en maskulin arena
  • Kirsti Niskanen (Stockholms universitet), Maskulinitet i förändring – filosofen Einar Tegens akademiska persona mellan 1920- och 50-talen


Session 4g

Room HU109


Men and honour in the time of crisis from the 17th to the 19th century


Organisers: Mari Välimäki (University of Turku) & Saara Hilpinen (University of Helsinki)

Chair: Mari Välimäki (University of Turku)


  • Saara Hilpinen (University of Helsinki), The anatomy of personal scandals and life crises of men of the elite in 19th century Grand Duchy of Finland
  • Anna Koivusalo (University of Helsinki), “Redemption” or southern honor? Change in honorable emotional expression in the U.S. Suth during Reconstruction (1865–1877)
  • Jonas Liliequist (University of Umeå), From the frustrated duellist to the steadfast man – changing social logics and emotional practices of honour and manliness in early modern Sweden
  • Mari Välimäki (University of Turku), Sexuality, honour, communities and men in 17th-century urban Sweden



Saturday, June 9th

Parallel sessions 5 (9:00 – 10:30)




Session 5a

Room HU205 (60)

The conscious emigrant: Emigration as a crisis or conscious act?


Organisers: Sigrídur Matthiásdóttir (Reykjavík Academy) & Ann-Catrin Östman (Åbo Akademi University)

Chair: Hanna Lindberg (Åbo Akademi University)


  • Ulla Aatsinki (University of Tampere), Immigrant women educating new citizens into American society
  • Sigrídur Matthíasdóttir (Reykjavík Academy), Transnational agents or fleeing victims? Single women who emigrated from Iceland to North America
  • Ann-Catrin Östman (Åbo Akademi University), Education, edification and respectability in life stories of rural men


Session 5b

Room HU207 (54)

Using Big Data in Historical Research: New Approaches, New Results


Chair: Heini Hakosalo (University of Oulu)


  • Emil Marklund (Umeå University), Teachers needed! The socio-economic background of teachers in northern Sweden 1870–1950
  • Inger Nørgård (Museum of East Jutland), More records about individuals! Does it bring us closer to a more gender equal history?
  • Lotta Vikström & Erling Häggström Lundevaller (Umeå University), Did disability bring crisis? Gendered and demographic life-course findings on disabled and non-disabled people in 19th-century Sweden
  • Tiina Männistö-Funk (Chalmers University of Technology), The Gender of Walking and the Crisis of Mobility in the Car City: Female Pedestrians in Street Photographs 1890–1989

Session 5c

Room HU111 (30)

Gendered post-crises memories


Chair: Marianne Junila (University of Oulu)


  • Hafdis Hafsteinsdottir (independent historian), Crises in memory: The image of the “war-bride” in Reykjavik and the construction of female sexual deviance
  • Anu Heiskanen (University of Helsinki), Gendered coping and surviving strategies in the aftermath of World War II
  • Emma Lundin (Queen Mary University, London), Writing Women Out of History: Post-Crisis Lessons from Southern Africa and Scandinavia
  • Erla Hulda Halldórsdóttir (University of Iceland), Housewives in crisis: Conflicting ideologies 1945–1970


Session 5d

Room HU108 (30)

Resistance and Empowerment: Gender in Art and Media


Chair: Seija Jalagin (University of Oulu)


  • Elina Karvo (University of Turku), Crises in men’s friendships – a televisual view
  • Susan Lindholm (Malmö University), Boundaries of Sisterhood – a comparative approach to US and Latin American Hip-hop feminism