Stockholm university

Kristina Fjelkestam

About me

I am a professor of gender studies, and as I see it, gender studies builds on three pillars that are grounded in theory, politics, and history. Theory is the binding element in this interdisciplinary field of study; political is the idea that gender studies not only want to describe oppressive mechanisms but also change them, something which is based on emancipatory endeavors with historical roots.

I am particularly interested in research on language and sexuality, as these are such central aspects of people’s lives, while also being complex and paradoxical. They represent both the best and the worst since language can be artistically enjoyable but exert violence too, and sexuality implies wondrous as well as horrific experiences.


Latest publications:

(2020) "Som om det var 1789: Då som nu i kulturprofilskandalen", Tidskrift för litteraturvetenskap nr 2-3.

(2018) ”Does Time Have a Gender? Queer Temporality, Anachronism, and the Desire for the Past”, The Ethos of History. Time, Location and Responsibility, ed. Stefan Helgesson & Jayne Svenungsson, Oxford:Berghahn.

(2018) ”Retrofili och begäret efter det förflutna”, Tidskrift för genusvetenskap nr 2-3.



My research profile is generally based in feminist cultural theory with a historical focus. I am currently interested in the research field of queer temporality, which involves studies of alternative notions of time. I have for instance conducted research on this subject within the research programme Time, Memory, Representation: On Transformations in Historical Consciousness, funded by the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation, and have previously pursued studies of cultural memory (i.e. what and how a society chooses to remember) as well as applied various research perspectives on the theory and practice of historiography.

As of 2015 I am back at Stockholm University, where I once completed my PhD in comparative literature with the thesis “Ungkarlsflickor, kamrathustrur och manhaftiga lesbianer: modernitetens litterära gestalter i mellankrigstidens Sverige” [Bachelor Girls, Companionate Wives and Mannish Lesbians: Representations of Modernity in Interwar Sweden] (Symposion 2002). By studying now-forgotten literature, I wanted to problematise literary historiography’s consecration of a literary canon. In my second book, “Det sublimas politik: emancipatorisk estetik i 1800-talets konstnärsromaner” [The Politics of the Sublime: Emancipatory Aesthetics in 19th Century Artist Novels] (Makadam 2010), I wanted to continue to problematise historiography in practice, this time by analysing the political consequences of the history of aesthetics. In “Ta tanke: feminism, materialism och historiseringens praktik” [Taking Thought: Feminism, Materialism and the Practice of Historicizing] (Sekel 2012), I continue to reflect on issues relating to the philosophy of history. The book title alludes both to taking the right to think and to the concrete materialisation of insights in a more theoretical sense. In line with this, I choose to consider literary works as responses to contemporary aesthetic and political issues, and as social practices rather than static objects. Thus, in my readings, a novel such as Djuna Barnes’ “Nightwood” becomes an allegorical representation of the Other in traditional historiography.

In addition, I have published articles in national and international journals, edited the anthologies “Reflektionens gestalt” [The form of reflection] (2009) and “Kvinnorna gör mannen: maskulinitetskonstruktioner i kvinnors text och bild 1500-2000” [The women make the man: constructions of masculinity in women’s texts and images] (2013, with Helena Hill and David Tjeder), and participated in various research projects as part of my previous employment at Södertörn University, Umeå University and Linköping University. For a more complete list of my publications, see the SwePub link to the right.

Research projects