Call for papers

Call for Papers: Histories of Sexualities, Gender Diversity, and Queer in the Nordic and Baltic Region

This conference brings together scholars working on the histories of sexualities, gender diversity and queer in the Nordic and Baltic countries. During the recent decades, studies on the histories of sexualities have grown into an internationally recognized and diverse field, producing rich theorization on how to address sexual practices, sexual pleasures, sexual knowledge production as well as sexual violence and exploitation in the past. Simultaneously, the understandings of past sexualities have diversified, and the theoretical approaches developed have been applied to varying geographical and temporal contexts. In addition, the histories of gender diversity in the histories of, for example, trans and intersex experiences, have often been developed in connections to queer history. 

The interdisciplinary conference to be held in Helsinki, Finland, 25-26 October 2021 is open for scholars working on histories of sexualities, gender diversity, and queer in the Nordic and Baltic regions. The keynote speakers of the conference will be Professor Kate Fisher (University of Exeter, UK) and Postdoctoral Researcher Julian Honkasalo (University of Helsinki, Finland). The conference will also include a keynote panel commemorating the fifty years that have passed since the decriminalization of homosexuality in Finland in 1971. The panel will be chaired by Senior Lecturer Tuula Juvonen (University of Tampere, Finland) and the participants will be Professor Tone Hellesund (University of Bergen, Norway), Associate Professor Uku Lember (University of Tallinn, Estonia), Dr. Ineta Lipša (University of Latvia) and Associate Professor Andrés Brink Pinto (University of Lund, Sweden).

The disciplinary approaches of the participants may include, in addition to historical disciplines, gender studies, queer studies, trans studies, critical race studies, literature studies, media studies, ethnology, and others. In particular, we encourage junior researchers and transdisciplinary scholars to participate.

We invite both individual papers and workshops focusing on case studies, theoretical reflections or methodological and ethical questions in doing research on past gender diversities or sexualities in the Nordic and Baltic region. When submitting proposals, please choose one of the following topics:

  1. past sexual desires, sexual pleasures and sexual practices
  2. sexualities and identities: histories of homosexuality, bisexuality, asexuality, and heterosexuality
  3. gender diversity in history: intersex and trans histories and connections between queer history and the history of gender diversity
  4. activism and sexuality: organising for human rights, reproductive rights, and pride
  5. gender in the history of sexuality and gendered experiences of sexuality 
  6. sexuality, gender diversity, and intersecting inequalities in history
  7. experience and authority: institutions, law, education, and expertise on sexuality
  8. sexuality, gender diversity and violence: personal experiences, intimate violence, structural violence, and discrimination
  9. sex work, commercial sex, and pornography
  10. sexuality and health: reproduction, HIV, AIDS, sexology, medicine and population policies
  11. racialization of sexuality and the sexualization of race, ethnicity, and nationality 
  12. using and producing history of sexuality in the present: arts, theatre, films, museums, archives
  13. theoretical, ethical and methodological perspectives on histories of sexualities, gender diversity, and queer

Submissions of individual paper requires a title and a maximum of 250-word abstract. Workshop proposals should include title, a maximum of 250-word description of the panel together with titles and max 250-word abstracts of each individual papers (3-4 papers for a full workshop). The conference language will be English.

Please submit your proposal via web form:

If you would like to propose some other session format, such as a roundtable, book presentation or a film screening, contact the organisers by email.

The deadline for the proposals is 31 May 2021. The acceptance or rejection of proposals will be announced by end of June 2021 and the registration will be opened in August 2021. The conference fee will be kept low and will be confirmed by the time the registration begins. We aim at organising the conference on site at the University of Helsinki but will monitor closely the development of the pandemic and the status of travel restrictions. If needed, the conference will be moved to online format or we will develop a hybrid conference.

The conference is organized by Discipline of Political history and INEQ initiative (University of Helsinki), Discipline of Gender Studies (University of Helsinki), SQS – Society of Queer Studies in Finland, and Sexuality & Democracy research project (Kone Foundation / University of Helsinki).

Contact for more information: History-SexualityGenderDiversityQueer2021 ( a ) helsinki.fi