Transnational Perspectives on Swedish Feminism: The European Roots of the Debate on the “Woman Question” in Swedish Periodicals

Begin - Einde 
2021 - 2024 (lopend)

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Abstract

According to the government website, “Sweden has the first feminist government in the world”. Compared to other European countries, the “woman question,” in Sweden, seems to have been treated in a model fashion. What happened, in the second half of the nineteenth century, to propel a geographically remote, sparsely populated and relatively poor country to this position? This question has not been answered in international scholarship, which tends to focus on thematic aspects of Swedish feminist culture, with little space for analysis. Nor has it been attended to in Swedish scholarship in the history of feminism, gender studies and periodical studies, which tends to overlook the transnational facet of early Swedish feminism. This project traces the origins of Sweden’s position as a feminist trailblazer back to the early Swedish feminist press. Drawing on insights and methods from periodical studies and cultural transfer studies, it examines how, by regularly including foreign examples and ideas from abroad, Swedish feminist periodicals functioned as points of intersection between nascent Swedish feminism and the dominant feminist movements abroad, notably in France and Britain. In doing so, this project hypothesizes, these periodicals generated a rich and productive debate around the “woman question” which paradoxically made the feminist agenda move faster in Sweden than its leading European neighbours.

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