Call for papers: doctoral student workshop

The ”Great White North”? Critical Perspectives on Whiteness in the Nordics and its Neighbours

August 26, 2019, University of Helsinki, Finland

Race is a thorny issue in the global north. It cannot be addressed comfortably in environments that understand themselves to be ‘colourblind’ but are, in fact, overwhelmingly white. This seems to apply particularly to the Nordics, where notions of equality and fairness are so central to a collective understanding of self, and where the prohibition of racial discrimination dominates discourses about race. However, recent publications have tackled the issue of ‘Nordic whiteness’, taking up the perspectives and methodologies of post-colonial studies to critically engage with the seemingly non-colonial, colourblind (or even colourless?) societies of the North (e.g. Lundström & Teitelbaum, 2017; Loftsdottir & Jensen, 2012; Garner, 2014; Hübinette, 2017). These questions are of significance to both the Nordic and wider international research community: ‘whiteness’ is an increasingly important category of analysis in social and cultural research across Europe and the US, but most theoretical work leans heavily on ‘Anglo’ expressions and histories.

Organized in connection with the international conference “The ”Great White North”? Critical Perspectives on Whiteness” (University of Helsinki, August 27-28), this workshop invites graduate students from different fields in humanities and social sciences working with issues of whiteness, race, post-colonialism and belonging to discuss their on-going research projects and comparatively approach issues of ‘whiteness’ in the context of the North. The workshop will focus on theoretical approaches to whiteness, and asks how the concepts and methodologies developed in contexts outside the Nordic region can be applied to the particular histories, cultural documents, and languages of the North. We are especially interested in projects applying linguistic and cultural perspectives on the representations of ‘whiteness’, and examining the ‘language ideologies’ (Schieffelin e.a. 1998) that are at work in the construction and expression of Nordic Whiteness either in ‘national’ or different indigenous languages. In addition, we welcome papers examining questions of belonging and how the meanings of Whiteness and Otherness change over time.

The workshop is led by invited international speaker in collaboration with organizers Dr Laura Siragusa and Dr Josephine Hoegaerts. A special issue on the work of the emerging scholars based on the workshop is planned to be published afterwards.

Keynote speaker

Dr Kristín Loftsdóttir, Professor in Anthropology at the University of Iceland, will speak about her research and her experiences as a researcher in this field.

Participant profile

Doctoral students from different fields of humanities and social sciences (area and cultural studies, history, literature studies, linguistics, media and communication studies, gender studies, indigenous studies, sociology, anthropology etc.) whose research interests are related to issues of whiteness, race, post-colonialism and belonging in the Nordic region.

Organization of the workshop

The workshop consists of a keynote lecture and student presentations followed by group discussions. The workshop provides doctoral students an opportunity to discuss their research projects and get feedback from the keynote speaker, workshop organizers and fellow participants. Participants will be required to submit written papers (ca 10 pages) by 1 August 2019

The workshop is free of charge.

In order to apply, please send a 300 word abstract and cv (1 p max) by 14 May 2019. Selected participants will be notified by 24 May.

Upload a proposal

Graduate students will be able to apply for (limited) support to fund their travel to Helsinki. Please contact Josephine Hoegaerts ( with your cv and a brief note if you wish to apply for this funding. Preference will be given to researchers in precarious or unfunded positions.

Contact person:
Jana Lainto (