SKY Courses 2021-2022

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Bulletin 13.4.2021

This bulletin contains information on SKY Courses during the academic year 2021-2022. The bulletin is updated with new course information regularly. Information on courses is published in the primary language of the course. If you have questions on SKY Courses, please contact the doctoral programme's planning officer Lauri Turpeinen (


Trans/Queer Human and More-than-Human Ecologies  

University of Helsinki Doctoral Program in Gender, Culture, and Society (SKY)

Time & Place: April 19 – 21, 2022 via Zoom. As part of the course an open lecture by Wibke Straube will be held via Zoom on April 19, 4pm EET.  

Course teachers: Dr. Wibke Straube (Centre for Gender Studies, Karlstad University); Dr. Kuura Irni (University of Helsinki).

Application deadline: January 15, 2022. 

Deadline for student papers: April 1, 2022.

Course description

Gender and sexuality are theorised both as discursive and a material phenomena (Alaimo/Heckman) and in this course we will discuss what they mean in the context of feminist posthumanism and other non-anthropocentric modes. For instance, both sexuality and gender, and with them race and ability, emerge in convergence with anthropocentric discourses that bring the human and more-than-human into proximity with notions of “nature” and “deviancy”, or even further, deny the materialization of non-normative bodies as fully human (Hayward/Weinstein, 2015; Luciano/Chen 2015). In this course, we are concerned with the interdependencies between different human, animal, and other more-than-human bodies, ecological questions, and environmental emergencies, as well as revisiting the impact of hierarchical anthropocentric taxonomies. Specific human and more-than-human bodies, marginalised by human society, often categorised as insufficiently fitting into the Cartesian ideals and norms of self-sufficient, autonomous and masculinist human superiority will be at the centre of our discussions. Looking through a posthumanist lens, we will explore in our conversations co-dependencies of multispecies becomings, ecological and climatological destruction, crisis, catastrophe and contamination, onto-epistemological questions of nature and “naturecultures” (Haraway) as well as planetary futures for Earth and its Others. Rekindling Val Plumwood’s notion of Earth others, we invite you to engage with us in relating to and discussing intersectional, ecological and interspecies relationalities in empirical and/or theoretical work.  


The course is designed as a two-day workshop, which combines conversations on key readings with discussions of students’ PhD work in progress. Our inquiries will thus be structured around the issues addressed by the selected readings and by students themselves in their PhD projects. The course is particularly designed for students whose work come from fields such as queer and trans studies, feminist environmental humanities, and animal studies, as well as targets students working within a framework of feminist new materialism and feminist posthumanities.

Course requirements  

Students are required to send short papers (3500-4000 words) based on their PhD work in progress two weeks before the start of the course (this can be a chapter /article draft for instance). Along with the paper, they should send a short description of the dissertation project and the preliminary table of contents. Other requirements include attending the course (including the introductory lecture) and reading and commenting the papers of other participants as well the assigned readings.


Course times:  

April 19, 2022 

16.15 – 18.00 EET                                                                                                  Lecture (online, Zoom) 

April 20 – 21, 2022 

ca. 10 – 12.00; 14.00 – 17.00 EET                                                                       Paper discussions (online, Zoom)

How to apply  

Please send an abstract (200-300 words) describing the paper you plan to present in the course, as well as a short paragraph on how you see this course as relevant for your research project and/or position as a gender scholar simultaneously to kuura.irni at and wibke.straube at The number of participants is limited to eight, priority is given to PhD students affiliated with University of Helsinki Doctoral Program in Gender, Culture, and Society (SKY).  

Deadline for applications: 15 January 2022 

Notification regarding course acceptance: 31 January 2022 


Course instructors

Wibke Straube, PhD, works as Senior Lecturer and Research Coordinator at the Centre for Gender Studies at Karlstad University, Sweden. Their work focuses on an intersectional analysis of trans and queer embodiment, affective methodologies and inquiries into earthly survival and the possibilities of creating zones of liveability. Among others, they have published in Lambda Nordica, NORA - Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research, Environmental Humanities and Screen Bodies. Wibke is part of the research project “Trans*Creative: Health, Violence, and Environment in Transgender Cultural Production” in which they chair the research strand “Environmental Crisis”. The project is funded by Kone Foundation (2021 - 2024).

Kuura Irni, PhD, works as Associate Professor at University of Helsinki Gender Studies and is affiliated also with Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS). Their current research focuses on intersectional approaches to queer/trans ecologies, feminist science studies and posthumanisms, and critical feminist animal studies. They also lead the Kone Foundation funded research project Climate Sustainability in the Kitchen – Everyday Food Cultures in Transition. They have published among others, in European Journal of Women’s Studies, NORA, Body & Society, Humanimalia, and Signs.  



CALL FOR PAPERS: SKY Course: Conducting history of sexuality, gender diversity and queer ‒ concepts, theory and methods (5 ECTS), 25-27 October 2021  

Course description

This doctoral course focuses on the theoretical and methodological questions of conducting research on the histories of sexualities, gender diversity or queer. During the past decades, the study on the history of sexuality and gender diversity has grown into an internationally recognized and diverse field, producing rich theorization on how to address past sexualities and gendered subjectivities in their various forms, temporalities and locations. Hence, the theoretical approaches developed in this field have been applied to varying geographical and temporal contexts. In addition, the histories of gender diversity in the context of for example, trans and intersex experiences, have often been developed in connection to queer history. 

This course is open for doctoral candidates whose work is connected to the topics of sexualities, gender diversity or queer in history, working under any discipline, on any historical period and any geographical area. The course consists of participating in the conference “Histories of Sexualities, Gender Diversity, and Queer in the Nordic and Baltic Region” (25-26 October), either with your own presentation or without one, and a one-day workshop following the conference (27 October) which focuses on the participants’ own dissertation work. During the workshop, participants will receive expert feedback on their papers (dissertation chapters, article manuscripts, work-in-progress) from the teachers and other doctoral candidates. 

The course is free of charge and will take place at the University of Helsinki or, situation demanding, via Zoom. The participants need to cover their own travel and accommodation expenses. SKY-doctoral students will have a prioritized entry to the course, but it is open to other PhD students from universities in Finland and abroad. The maximum number of admitted students will be 6 to allow sufficient time for engagement with each students’ work during the workshop. 


Andrés Brink Pinto is Associate Professor (Docent) in history at Lund University. Since 2019 he is working as a researcher at the department of Gender Studies, Lund University, on a project dealing with the policing of homosexuality in Stockholm 1944-1968 (grant no VR 2018-01161). Previously he has done research on youth riots, militant antifascism and norms of class, gender and sexuality within the Swedish communist movement. 

Julian Honkasalo is an Academy of Finland postdoctoral research scholar in gender studies, University of Helsinki. Honkasalo obtained their PhD in gender studies at the University of Helsinki in 2016, with a dissertation on feminist interpretations of Hannah Arendt. They obtained a second PhD in political science at the New School for Social Research in 2018, with a dissertation on Hannah Arendt and biopolitics. The dissertation was awarded with the New School's Hannah Arendt Award in Politics. Honkasalo's current, postdoctoral research focuses on contemporary offshoots of twentieth-century race hygiene, gender norms and eugenic discourse from a Foucaultian perspective. A key question of interest in the project is understanding how minorities resist biopolitical violence. 

Riikka Taavetti is a postdoctoral researcher in gender studies at the University of Helsinki. She works currently in research project titled Sexuality and democracy: Exploring the links and re-thinking the concepts for feminist politics (SEXDEM), funded by the Kone Foundation. Her research addresses political debates concerning same-sex sexuality in Estonia and Sweden from the late 1980s to 2010s. Her research interests include Estonian and Finnish history of sexuality, queer history, politics of memory and oral history. She has also conducted research on the history of sex research in Finland and Sweden. 


For applying to the course, please send an abstract of your paper (max. 200 words) and personal information via e-form by 15 August 2021:  

In case your work is connected to Nordic and Baltic region and you wish to propose a paper to the conference, please see the conference Call for Papers and submit your proposal by end of May 2021:  

Decisions of acceptance for the course will be made by 1 September 2021.

Attending the course will require you to:  

  • Send a paper (max 3000 words) by 11 October 2021.   
  • Attend the conference on 25-26 October. 
  • Read your fellow students’ papers to participate in the discussions the seminar day 27 October. The papers will be circulated among the workshop participants, so all can comment and discuss. 

For further information, please contact the main organizer of the course: 

Riikka Taavetti, riikka . taavetti (a) helsinki . fi  


CALL FOR PAPERS: SKY Course: Ethnographic Methodologies in Feminist Research (5 ECTS), 16 & 17 September 2021 

Scope: Research on gender often requires close empirical engagement with people. As a research methodology, ethnography offers a nuanced and in-depth way to engage with research participants. Ethnographic research includes a variety of ways to approach people, including participant observation, interviews and the analysis of material and visual practices. In feminist research, ethnographic methodology is particularly appealing, as it questions the idea of science and researchers as objective, detached individuals, emphasising rather the need for reflexive practices and the multiple relational engagements generated by such research. In this course, we will discuss the hand-on details of conducting ethnographic research as well as its epistemological and ethical aspects. 

This course offers possibilities for doctoral students in different disciplines who do research on gender to participate in interdisciplinary discussions on how to engage in ethnographic methodologies in feminist research. The students are encouraged to engage in ethnographic research in their own work but this is not required. 

In the course, students will receive detailed feedback on their papers (dissertation chapters, article manuscripts, work-in-progress) from the teachers and their peers and get a chance to discuss collectively the challenges and opportunities offered by feminist ethnographic research. Both teachers of the course will give a presentation on ethnographic methodologies in their own feminist research. 

The workshop will take place via Zoom and is free of charge. SKY-doctoral students will have a prioritised entry to the course, but it is open to other PhD students from universities in Finland and abroad. The maximum number of admitted students will be 10 to allow sufficient time for engagement with each students’ materials. Zoom links will be sent to the admitted participants closer to the workshop date. 

The teachers: 

  • Dr Heidi Härkönen (Gender Studies & Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Helsinki), has long-term experience in conducting ethnographic research on gender, kinship, life cycle and the state in Cuba. She has particularly explored questions of ethnographic reflexivity and ethics in her work. Her current research examines the intersectional politics of Cuba’s emerging digitalisation process. 
  • Visiting speaker & commentator, Prof. Sandra Fernandez (Social and Cultural Anthropology, Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia UNED, Madrid) is a specialist on gender, reproduction and questions of urban space, and has published widely on ethnographic methodologies.

For applying to the workshop, please send an abstract of your paper (max 200 words) to and fill in the e-form at: by 28 June, 2021. 

Decisions of acceptance will be made by 2 August 2021.

Attending the course will require you to: 

Send a paper (max 3000 words) by 3 September, 2021.  

In addition, participants are expected to read two articles and their fellow students’ papers and to participate in the discussions during the two-day course. 

The papers will be circulated among the workshop participants, so all can comment and discuss.

For further information, please contact the main organiser of the course:

Heidi Härkönen


Bulletin 13.4.2021

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