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International Conference “Age Agency Ambiguity – gender and generation in times of change”, University of Oslo, Aug. 27 – 30, 2017.

Age Agency Ambiguity – gender and generation in times of change

How do processes of social and economic change effect gender and generational relations?

We welcome you to the International Conference on gender and generations in times of social change in August 2017.

This conference focuses on gender and generations in times of social and economic change, in particular economic crises, migration and environmental challenges. Processes of industrialization, urbanization, deregulation, migration and globalization have had profound effects on gender and generational relations that display both differences and similarities in different national and regional contexts. These have far- reaching consequences on the conditions for gender equality work and feminist academic research practices.

The aim of the conference is to understand the multifaceted impacts of modernisation and crises on different age groups (Age), gendered strategies to deal with the impacts/changes (Agency) as well as the uncertainties people are facing (Ambiguity).

The conference aims at bringing together gender scholars from the Nordic countries, China and other countries who work with issues related to gender, generation and processes of modernization either in their own country, in other countries, or both. The idea is to utilize differences between regions and regional academic cultures to better understand the developments of gender relations and gender equality in each location, as well as to facilitate dialogue and exchange with a view to strengthening theory and scholarly practice. What can be learned about and from each other, and what can be learned about oneself from looking with other(s’) eyes? The main focus will be on the Nordic countries and China, however, studies of other regions are also welcome.

Submissions of Abstracts

The conference invites papers on a wide array of topics related to gender, generation and modernization. Papers may focus on different aspects of modernization of everyday life, for instance, family, work, education, youth, sexuality, reproduction, body and consumption, or on wider issues connected to human rights, feminist activism, politics, environmental challenges and sustainability. We invite papers that address these issues either in a single national context or by comparing different contexts.

Abstracts should include:

  • Title of paper
  • Abstract (appr. 150 words)
  • Contact details (author(s), affiliation, postal address, phone number, and e-mail address

Abstracts must be in English. They should be submitted to: Harriet Bjerrum Nielsen, University of Oslo.

Please also fill in the preliminary registration sheme (see above) when you submit an abstract.

Deadline: 15th December 2016

Keynote speakers

  • Michael Kimmel, Professor of Masculinity Studies and Sociology at Stony Brook, New York, USA and visiting professor at the University of Oslo, Norway
  • Yan Yunxiang, Professor of Anthropology and Chinese Studies at UCLA, Los Angeles, USA
  • Pun Ngai, Professor of Social Sciences at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, China
  • Pei Yuxin, Assoc. Professor of Social Work at Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou, China
  • Lene Myong, Professor of Gender Studies at the University of Stavanger, Norway
  • Helene Aarseth, Assoc. Professor of Gender Studies and Sociology at the University of Oslo, Norway

Workshops, panels and cross-sessionsIn addition to the keynote lectures, the conference offers parallel streams of thematic workshops, roundtables and cross-sessions. We aim at a flexible session model where different formats are used for different types of topics and discussions:

  • Workshops will be spaces for paper presentations
  • Roundtables offer information on specific topics and invites to comments and discussion
  • Cross-sessions focus on comparable phenomena present in both regions but in different forms

Participants are invited both to submit abstracts to the workshops and suggest topics for roundtables and cross-sessions. The structure of the final program will depend on the abstracts and suggestions received.

Suggested workshops

  • Generations of feminisms in activism and gender studies – how have gender challenges been conceived and met in different times and contexts?
  • Gender equality and human rights – different concepts and contextualised practices
  • Gender, environmental challenges and sustainability in different areas, such as consumption, transport and low carbon strategies in China and in the Nordic countries
  • Youth, gender, generation – what does changing gender relations in societies do to the identities of boys and girls growing up? What generational change and continuity can be discerned?
  • Changing models and practices of masculinities/femininities and their connections to market economies, work and family. Family practices in processes of urbanisation and in the context of ageing societies
  • Body politics, bio politics, sexuality and reproduction – how do new developments and trends shape pre-existing cultural ideas and practices?
  • Open workshops (for papers with other topics relevant for the conference)

Suggested roundtables

  • Gender studies in China and in the Nordic countries
  • Travelling theories/concepts – for instance, intersectionality, queer
  • The Nordic model/Nordic gender equality politics
  • What happens with gender relations under eras of post-communism, new socialism, and/or neoliberalism?

Suggested cross-sessions

  • “Left-overs”: imbalances in marriage patterns in the form of left-ower women and men in China and left-over men in the Nordic countries
  • Do we want children? Voluntary childlessness in Nordic countries and Chinese families saying no to a second child in China
  • New class-structures? The increasing social differences in China and in the Nordic countries

Other events

Several cultural events are planned in connection with the conference. Among the plans are an exhibition of the work of young Chinese female artists, documentary films on gender issues in China and the Nordic countries at Litteraturhuset, a “Feminist walk in Oslo”  organised by historians at the Centre for Gender Research at UiO, and visits to Norwegian gender equality governmental institutions and NGOs.

Post-conference publication

Agreements to publish papers from the conference in special issues have been made with the Nordic journals NORA and NORMA, and the Chinese journal Women’s Studies Forum. In addition, further contact between researchers will be enabled by developing the newly launched website for the Sino-Nordic Gender Network.

General information

  • Preliminary registration is now open – please follow this link:
  • Final registration with fee paid May 1st,  2017
  • Registration fee is 1000 NOK
  • The conference is open to gender scholars both with and without knowledge about China or the Nordic region, and China scholars, both with and without knowledge of gender).
  • The conference is primarily a research conference, but policy makers and activists from China and the Nordic countries are also invited to apply
  • The conference is open to non-Nordic and non-Chinese participants
  • Participants are generally expected to cover their own travel and accommodation cost, but some subsidies may become available for PhD students. Priority will be given to PhD students from China. (More information about this will appear here later.)
  • The organizers will negotiate prices with hotels in Oslo of different categories (more information later).
  • Dependent on funding, we hope to be able to cover most meals during the conference (lunch, coffee/tea, welcome reception and a conference dinner)
  • The conference will start August 27th at 16.00 and close August 30th at 12.00
  • Deadline for Abstracts: 15th December 2016
  • Accept of Abstracts: 15th February 2017
  • The language of the conference will be English


The conference is organized by a Sino-Nordic planning group from eight Nordic and three Chinese universities:

From Norway: Professor Harriet Bjerrum Nielsen (main responsible) and Senior Lecturer Elisabeth Lund Engebretsen, both Centre for Gender Research, University of Oslo, Professor Liu Fengshu, Department of Education, University of Oslo, Professor Merete Lie, NTNU, Trondheim, Assoc. Professor Yan Zhao, Nord University, Bodø.From Denmark: Senior Researcher Cecilia Milwertz, NIAS (Nordic Institute of Asian Studies), University of Copenhagen, Assoc. Professor Pauline Stoltz, Aalborg University, Assoc. Professor Hilda Rømer Christensen, U of Copenhagen, Assoc. Professor Qi Wang, University of Southern Denmark.

From Sweden: Assoc. Professor Kristina Göransson, School of Social Work, Lund University.

From Finland: Postdoctor Dr. Xin Liu, School of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Tampere.

From China: Professor Li Chunling, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), Beijing, Professor Min Dongchao, Shanghai University, Professor Wang Jufen, Fudan University, Assoc. Professor Shen Yifei, Fudan University.

The conference is the 6th conference organized by the Sino-Nordic Women and Gender Studies Conference Series.

Main organizer in 2017Centre for Gender Research, University of Oslo


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