SKY Masterclasses 2023

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Bulletin 13.4.2021

This bulletin contains information on SKY Masterclasses during the academic year 2023. 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 (

See also our archive of past SKY Masterclasses 2014-2022.


Cultures of Violence: Gender Based Violence and Cultural Contexts  

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


Time & Place: February 21 – 22, 2023 via Zoom and in person.  

As part of the course an open lecture by Joanna Bourke will be held via Zoom and in person on February 22, 4pm EET.   

Course teachers: Professor Joanna Bourke (Birkbeck College); Professor Marianna Muravyeva (University of Helsinki).  

 Application deadline: January 30, 2023.  

Deadline for student papers: February 18, 2023.  


Course description 

Gender-based violence has been one of the main challenges for past and contemporary societies to deal with. Very recently, the COVID-19 pandemic and the War in Ukraine have contributed to accelerating different types of GBV: sexual violence, physical violence, psychological violence, economic and emotional abuse. The past three years also highlighted how cultural perceptions of GBV remain persistent in our societies. Rape myths, victim blaming, misogyny, hate speech inhabit digital and material spaces despite legal and policy frameworks in place. Contentious relations with feminism and women’s and queer activism, cancel culture, trans hate, and constant appeals to ‘right to culture’ feed backlash against further legislation on prevention and protection against all forms of GBV.  

While cultural identities contain the histories of a people that include traditions, struggles, achievements, and triumphs and at the same time, cultures nourish pride, resilience, belonging, intersectional identities, and connection to community, culture is often used to justify gender-based violence and inequality by evoking traditional beliefs and practices about how women and girls should be treated thus defining the spaces within which power is expressed and gender roles are enshrined. In this course, we will be looking at how culture the way we understand it impacts social perceptions of GBV and social and legal approaches to deal with GBV.  

The course is designed as a two-day workshop, which combines conversations on key readings with discussions of students’ PhD work in progress. The discussion will be focussed on 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 gender studies, gender-based violence, family violence, violence against women, domestic violence, queer violence of any disciplinary focus.  


Course requirements 

Students are required to send short papers (3500-4000 words) based on their PhD work in progress a week 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.    



February 21, 2023  

10.00-12.00 EET – Introduction, general discussion of the course, discussion of two key readings (online Zoom and in person), Room:  

14.00 – 17.00 EET Paper discussions (online, Zoom and in person) Room:  U3029, Main Building


February 22, 2023  

10.00-12.00 EET – Key readings discussion Room: U3029, Main Building

13.00-15.30 EET – Paper discussions  Room: U3040, Main Building

16.00 – 18.00 EET  Lecture – Joanna Bourke – Sexual Violence in Conflict (online, Zoom and in person) Room: U3032, Main Building


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  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: 30 January 2023  

Notification regarding course acceptance: 31 January 2023  


Course instructors

Joanna Bourke is Professor of History at Birkbeck, University of London, and a Fellow of the British Academy. She is also the Professor of Rhetoric at Gresham College. Bourke is the Principal Investigator and Director of an interdisciplinary Wellcome Trust-funded project entitled ‘SHaME’ (Sexual Harms and Medical Encounters, which explores medical and psychiatric aspects of sexual violence). She is the prize-winning author of fifteen books, as well as over 120 articles in academic journals. Among others, she is the author of Dismembering the Male: Men’s Bodies, Britain, and the Great War, An Intimate History of Killing (which won the Wolfson Prize and the Fraenkel Prize), Fear: A Cultural History, What it Means To Be Human, The Story of Pain, and Wounding the World: How Military Violence and War-Play are Invading Our Lives. In 2022, Reaktion Books published Disgrace: Global Reflections on Sexual Violence (also published by Chicago University Press) and Oxford University Press published Birkbeck: 200 Years of Radical Learning for Working People. Her books have been translated into Chinese, Russian, Spanish, Catalan, Italian, Portuguese, Czech, Turkish, and Greek.

Marianna Muravyeva is a Professor of Russian Law and Administration at the University of Helsinki. Her research is interdisciplinary bringing together history, social sciences and law to examine long-term trends and patterns in social development with a special focus on normativity, gender and violence. Some of her most recent projects focus on human rights of women, conservative jurisprudence, violence against women, and family violence (violence against parents and domestic violence). Professor Muravyeva co-chairs Women and Gender Network of the European Social Sciences History Conference. She has published extensively, including a recent book Parricide and Violence against Parents: A Cross-Cultural View across the Past and Present (London, New York: Routledge, 2021); edited volumes Domestic Disturbances, Patriarchal Values: Violence, Family and Sexuality in Early Modern Europe (New York: Routledge, 2015); Women’s History in Russia: (Re)Establishing the Field (Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014); Gender in Late medieval and Early Modern Europe (London and New York: Routledge, 2013) and numerous articles and books chapters.  


Bulletin 13.4.2021

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