Feminism in Norway
The Baltic-Nordic Conference on Women's Studies and Gender Research
[Copyright 1998 Irina Novikova.]
The Baltic-Nordic Conference on Women's Studies and Gender Research: Mapping the Situation took place on October 16-17,1998, in Riga (Latvia). Women's/gender studies as a theoretical standpoint and methodology is a new perspective in knowledge-production process in the Baltic countries -- on the national as well as regional levels. Although the first women's studies centers were established in the Baltic countries already in 1992, we can state that only a couple years ago women's/gender studies became an engaging research perspective for many scholars and NGO activists across the Baltic region. The Conference was organised by the Center for Gender Studies at University of Latvia, Lithuanian Women's Informational Center, Women's Studies center at Tallinn Pedagogical Institute, Femina Baltica Network, NIKK. The Conference was sponsored by Soros Foundation-Latvija, The Gender Equality Council of The Nordic Council of Ministers, NIKK and Mama Cash Fund. We are particularly grateful to Aino Saarinen, Marianne Laxen and Carita Peltonen for facilitating the process of obtaining funding for the conference. The coordination and organization of the conference were conducted by Irina Novikova, Giedre Purvaneckiene, Barbi Pilvre. The secretary of the conference was Elizabete Pichukane.
The Conference hosted more than 90 officially registered participants and attendants from the Baltic and Nordic countries. We were delighted to see our colleagues and friends from NIKK, The Gender Equality Council, women's studies centers in Finland and Sweden.
The objectives and goals of the Conference were:
This conference aimed at developing the discussions of the categories and methodological tools of feminist theory and gender theory. The conference plenary sessions and workshop topics center around such issues as gender, identity and ethnicity; sex and gender in cultural locations; gender relations in social and political discourses; gender and health; gender relations and politics.
Theoretical and methodological issues were presented in the papers of Katrin Kivimaa (Estonia), Rima Pociute (Lithuania), Lea Rojola (Finland) at the first day plenary session. They lay the grounds for raising the issues of women, difference and solidarity; postfeminist discourses and women's studies in the Baltic countries; gender theory and knowledge production and many other related questions of theory and practice. The second plenary session on Feminism, Gender and Culture included the papers of Dagmara Beitnere (Latvia), Ulla Holm (Sweden), Barbi Pilvre (Estonia) and addressed the issues of gender and anthropology;feminist ethics -- contextualization vs universalism; gender and mass media. The panel discussion Violence and security conducted by Giedre Purvaneckiene (Lithuania), Sandra Sebre (Latvia), Hilkka Pietila (Finland) addressed the topical issue of violence as a gendered complex process -- in everyday life, education, language, economy, and "high" politics. Workshop topics included:
Representatives from Baltic women's NGOs worked together with academic women for two days, and, in our view, this was the first attempt to build up mutually enriching connections between women in theory and women in practice, to challenge the politically convenient "ebony towers of women's research on women" by bringing women's voices from NGOs into gender theorizing and debating.
A very important result is the presentation and installation of EMILJA DATABASE on Women's Studies and Gender Research in the Nordic and Baltic countries. This project has been succefully headed by Jill Lewis (NIKK) and presented at the Conference by Diana Anders (NIKK). EMILIJA is very important for everybody who already works in WS and GR as well as for those who make their first steps and are highly motivated to step into women's/gender studies in the Baltic countries. The contact person in charge if EMILJA DATABASE is Liene Chaplinska (office 133, Raina Blvd.19, Center for Gender Studies, University of Latvia, LV-1586, Riga, Latvia).
This conference is seen by us as a politically important event for bringing new perspectives and discourses into intellectual, public and political life of our countries. Thus, this conference contributed significantly to developing terminological apparatus of women's/gender studies, literary/nationalism/cultural studies in our languages. We consider the language aspect to be very significant in terms of the public impact of the conference. The conference was a publicly open event, and the closing session is intended as an open discussion of pro and contra views.The conference gave an opportunity for Baltic scholars in women's/gender studies to develop platforms for their further integrative research plans. We hope that the conference became an event to build up cooperation between gender research and women's NGOs acitivities on the national and regional levels. The conference work will result in publishing the proceedings of selected conference papers.
The conference was viewed by us as part of preparation process for the Baltic workshop at the 7th Women's Studies International Congress in June, 1999, in Norway. As to the follow-up and/or long-term benefits of project we look forward to:
The hosting organization of the Conference was the center for Gender Studies at the university of Latvia. The Center was founded in January, 1998. Director -- Irina Novikova, coordinator -- Elizabete Picukane. The Center's office address: Room 133 Raina Blvd-19 University of Latvia, LV-1586 Riga, Latvia Fax 371 7 820113. You can reach Irina Novikova by email here and Elizabete Pichukane here.
Bystydzienski, Jill M. Women in Electoral Politics. Praeger Pub., 1995.
Holter, Harriet. Patriarchy in a Welfare Society. Universitetsforlaget, 1984.
Jochens, Jenny. Women in Old Norse Society. Cornell University Press, 1998.
Lynggard, Trine. "Is the Women's Movement Obsolete? An Interview with Gro Hageman," Translated by Edwina Reiler, WIN: Women's International Net Issue 11. [You can read this article here.]
COPYRIGHT 1999 KRISTIN SWITALA. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.