Geopolitically, the Nordic countries inhabit an interesting location between the former socialist block of Eastern Europe and Russia, and West Europe and USA. The fall of socialism in East Europe eliminated one of the crucial touchstones of liberal national identity. With the growth of EU, emphasis is instead placed on shared “Europeaness” and on a strategic strengthening of regions.
This project analyses conceptions and constitution of regional identities in the Nordic region with focus on the dynamic academic field, Women’s and Gender Studies, from its emergence in the late 1970s until today. Thereby the project covers a period both consisting of thorough changes within academia, within Gender Studies itself and outside academia, in international politics and in politics concerning higher education and equality. This project examines conceptions and understandings about a specific Nordic community of Women’s and Gender studies in contrast to developments in this field in the Baltic region and Russia and the Anglo-American region. This is done, first, through three distinct case studies based on different geographic and academic perspectives: the Swedish, the Russian/Baltic and the Anglo-American, and, second, by examining and deconstructing usually non-problematised, self-evident conceptions within a research field under construction. We pay special attention to scientific canonisation, i.e. how understandings of relevant research fields, objects and analytic categories are formed, and to forms of cooperation.
The case studies are:
– “The Construction of Nordic Women’s Studies, 1975-1990”
– “A Joint Canon? Transitions and Translations in Nordic Women’s and Gender Studies, 1990-2005”
– “Constructing the West/Nordic: The Rise of Gender Studies in Russia and the Baltic States”
Source material is rich and yet only modest research has been done about Women’s and Gender studies as a new field within academia. The question of the traffic in feminist ideas, and the relations between Gender Studies and political movement has not been sufficiently analysed in a Nordic setting, a context that has been taken for granted until quite recently. Differences within Nordic Women’s and Gender Studies as well as the complexities inherent in the construction of the Nordic imagined community deserve further exploration.