Monthly Archives: September 2010

Gendering Asia Network Conferences

The Gendering Asia Network was initiated in 2005 and the first Gendering Asia Conference was held at Kungälv in Sweden in May that year. The second conference ‘Gendered Modernity and Vulnerabilities in Asia’ was held in Iceland in 2007, and the third conference on the theme of ‘Gender, Mobility and Citizenship’ was held at Helsinki University in 2009.

The words of keynote speaker Professor Maila Stivens at the first conference define the overall approach of the Network to studying gender. She said that when applying a gender perspective the aim is not simply to analyse the ‘effects’ on women of the dramatic economic, social and political changes sweeping the region or to add women to the mainstream accounts that seem so resolutely to mostly exclude them. Rather, the aim is to explore the thoroughly gendered processes that construct many dimensions of Asian modernities and their incorporation into a globalizing world.

There were several reasons why we wanted to set up such a network and bring together people for conferences:

The overall aim is to strengthen research and teaching on gender and Asia in the Nordic countries

  1. On the one hand we knew that several scholars were engaged in research and teaching on gender and Asia in more or less all the Nordic countries, but on the other hand we also did not have an overall picture of who exactly was doing what and where. We wanted to facilitate exchange by building a database of scholars and students working on gender and Asia.
  2. Asien studies environments in the Nordic countries are all relatively small and although we all have our individual networks within and beyond the Nordic countries we believed there was room for increased Nordic interaction, exchange and collaboration that could be facilitated by a formalised network.

The Nordic perspective was emphasized. However, we very deliberately chose not to call this a Nordic Gendering Asia Network. Much of our work takes place in collaboration with colleagues in Asia and elsewhere in the world and the network, as reflected also by participation in the three conferences, is open to colleagues from all parts of the world.


The first and the second conferences led to the following publications:

No. 2, March 2006

Gendering Asia

(pdf-file, 1,91 MB)

No. 1, June 2008

Gendered vulnerabilities in Asia

(pdf-file, 1,09 MB)

A selection of papers from the third conference has been published in Mikako Iwatake (ed) 2010 Gender, Mobility and Citizenship in Asia Helsinki: Renvall Institute Publications.

NordForsk grant for the Gendering Asia Network

The Gendering Asia Network has received a grant from NordForsk to strengthen research in the combined field of Asia studies and gender studies in the social sciences and humanities in the Nordic countries.


The Network will convene workshops in 2010, 2011 and 2012 with a view to:

  1. providing the basis for internet as well as face-to-face interaction and exchange among Nordic researchers and PhD students
  2. offering research training for Nordic PhD students
  3. developing collaborative research projects


Workshop focus

It is an explicit aim to achieve a broad, open and inclusive network.

Thus, the starting point for workshop activities will be a broad focus on:

  1. how recent developments in gender theories are articulated in relation to Asian studies
  2. in which ways empirical studies of societies in Asia contribute new insights to gender theories
  3. as Asia in the current globalized world is not confined to a certain geographic part of the world the Network will include research on how Asia exists in the Nordic countries in diverse forms such as for example migrant people and literature


First workshop – Copenhagen November 2010

The first workshop will include the first and important training in the Barha Community internet based interaction that will form a core mode of communication for the network. Moreover, the workshop will include the first stage and initial discussion on establishing Nordic collaborative research projects across the involved country-specific participating groups.


Second and Third workshop – 2011 Iceland and 2012 Norway

The second workshop will take place in 2011 at Iceland University and the third workshop will be held in 2012 at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim. At these two subsequent workshops activities will take place in plenum and in the theme groups in order to further develop the joint research projects.


For further information, please contact: Cecilia Milwertz 

The Sino-Nordic Women and Gender Studies Conferences

Comparing China and the Nordic countries

The aim of the Sino-Nordic Women & Gender Studies conferences is to develop trans-national, cross-cultural and inter-disciplinary perspectives on studies of women and gender within and between the Chinese and Nordic environments. The conferences include both theoretical and policy relevant research.

The conferences are organized by the Nordic Centre, Fudan University, China and NIAS and take place alternately in collaboration with a Chinese or Nordic host institution.

By gathering scholars from China and the Nordic countries and by engaging in cross-cultural comparisons, the conferences aim to facilitate constructive and thought-provoking dialogues and discussions. Unquestioned assumptions may be challenged and stimulus provided to view one’s own society from alternative perspectives.

The Nordic countries and China differ in many ways, but there are also similarities. It could be argued that there are greater similarities between China and the Nordic countries – such as the strong and interventionist role of the state – than there are between China and the USA, for instance. Another similarity between China and the Nordic countries is a strong political commitment to creating gender equality, as well as the high degree of cooperation between women’s organizations and the state. On the other hand, there are obviously also many differences regarding the ways in which the state intervenes in people’s lives, and in the extent to which gender equality has been achieved. These differences and similarities are related to the legal, political, social and economic systems of China and the Nordic countries, and to the global context in which they operate. Regarding studies of women and gender, the topics addressed in the Nordic countries and in China, and the methodologies and theoretical approaches that are used also partially overlap. Many Chinese and Nordic researchers use theories that originate from other contexts. These theories have then been indigenized into something Chinese or Nordic. But how is this done in practice? And what are the consequences of acceptance or rejection of ‘foreign’ theories?