Research at the Department of Gender Studies

The Department’s research profile and focus are on humanities, particularly on cultural and arts studies.

Intersectionality, with its focus on examining coincidental and interlocking differences, is characteristic to Gender Studies at the University of Turku. Research topics at the Department include, i.a., the history of academic feminism, affects, new materialist feminisms, and trans studies.

Examples of past Gender Studies master’s thesis research questions at the University of Turku:

  • What kind of connections of gender and sexuality can be read in the experiences of non-heterosexual transgender bodies?
  • How is the emancipation of female characters depicted in Tove Jansson’s Moomin books?
  • How do early childhood educators affect the everyday life of nursery schools by organising space and supervising play?
  • What kind of meanings are given to the body in the health and fitness magazine Fit?

Research projects

Timelines of Academic Feminism in Finland (TAFF)

The multidisciplinary research project will produce a history of Finnish academic feminism from the mid-1980s till today. The project approaches the topic from specific angles dealing above all with questions and problems of creating, developing, legitimizing and institutionalizing a completely new scientific field, scholarly acknowledged practice, and academic discipline. The issues investigated are subjects of wide common concern for contemporary transnational academic feminism, and the project approaches them through the prism of the locale of Finnish academic feminism. In Finland the research object has not earlier caught scholarly attention, which makes the project a novel research undertaking.

The project consists of four studies, which from different angles investigate the overall topic. Contextualization and historicizing of Finnish academic feminism, men’s and masculinity studies, queer studies and conceptual politics of the institutionalization of Women’s Studies in Finland.

Funding: Academy of Finland (2012‒2016, SA 257024) 

Project leader: Marianne Liljeström


Localizing Feminist New Materialisms

The project expands feminist new materialisms through three key aims revolving round localization. First, it highlights the role of research methodologies, especially fieldwork methods, in new materialisms. Second, it brings a range of previously less noted topics into feminist new materialisms: children’s cultures, disability studies, performing arts, and sound. Third, the project advocates the localization of new materialisms within contemporary humanities. This is crucial both for assessing the theoretical and political relevance of these approaches, and for helping humanistic research grapple with today’s realities. 

Funding: Academy of Finland (2017‒2021, SA 30900)

Project leader: Taru Leppänen

Project members: Katve-Kaisa Kontturi, Tara Mehrabi and Milla Tiainen

> Project web site

Recent publications