3.12.-4.12 2018 International PhD course “Queer/ing Kinship”

Visiting course lecturers:

Dr Elisabeth Lund Engebretsen (University of Stavanger, Norway)

Dr Thomas Strong (Maynooth University, Ireland)

Course organizer (PI):

Dr Antu Sorainen (University of Helsinki, Finland)


Course introduction:

This PhD course concentrates on the ongoing work of the participating PhD students on kinship, care and support networks located at sexual and gendered margins. The experienced lecturers have the aim of helping the PhD students to advance and complete their dissertation projects with the highest international quality.

The course literature comprises scholarship ranging from feminist and anthropological theory to queer studies on kinship and relatedness to the politics and legal constellations of family, kinship and care relations.

The course focuses on developing PhD student projects, where all of the projects cluster around a set of themes related to a contemporary discussion of kinship/relationality and various axes of inequality or marginalisation (in particular, sexuality and gender).

The expertise of the three lecturers is in a wide area of kinship, relatedness, gender studies, queer theory and ethnography. All three have conducted original empirical research on alternative kinship and care relations, published widely in this area, and contributed towards re-invigorating contemporary ethnographic and methodological approaches.

The lecturers are prepared to comment on empirical, methodological and/or theoretical aspects of PhD research papers and students’ original research or fieldwork. However, theoretical projects that comment on the existing work of various scholars that intersect with gender studies, queer theory and kinship politics are also very welcome.

The course includes the public lecture by Dr Thomas Strong:

“Errors in Kinship: Witches, Queers”.

(see more here)

The course is organized by the University of Helsinki Doctoral Programme for Gender, Culture, and Society (SKY)together with the two Academy of Finland projects CoreKin – Contrasting and Re-Imagining the Margins of Kinship and Wills and Inheritance in Sexually Marginalised Groups.

The course is open for all SKY students, other Helsinki University PhD students and for students of other Finnish universities and all universities abroad.


Course Teachers:

Elisabeth Lund Engebretsen is an Associate Professor of Gender Studies, University of Stavanger, Norway. Engebretsen holds a PhD in Anthropology from the London School of Economics (2008). Among her publications are Queer Women in Urban China: An Ethnography(2014), and the co-edited special issue of Sexualities on “Anthropology’s queer sensibilities” (2017). She has conducted extensive ethnographic fieldwork in China on queer kinship, family strategies, identity and activism, and has current research interests in Norwegian queer history, transnational Pride activism, feminist ethnography and methodology, and radical solidarity work. Engebretsen heads the 2-year workshop project Transforming Identities: Exploring changes, tensions, and visions in the Nordic region through the prism of identity politics(2018-2020).

Thomas Strong teaches in the Department of Anthropology at Maynooth University (Ireland).  He was educated at Reed College (BA) and Princeton University (PhD) and taught at the University of Helsinki in 2006-08.  He has published essays on the symbolism and sociality of blood supplies, queer theory and the anthropology of kinship, and problematics of modernity in Papua New Guinea, among other topics.  Currently, he is preparing a book manuscript provisionally entitled “Blood to Blood:  Witchcraft and the Violence of Kinship in Papua New Guinea,” based on long-term fieldwork in the Asaro Valley that he began in 1998.  He has been an AIDS activist since 1992.

Antu Sorainen is an Academy Fellow at the Academy of Finland and Docent in Gender Studies at the University of Helsinki. She has conducted empirical studies in the area of queer will-writing and relatedness and published work on law and queer sexualities. She is the co-author of Siveellisyydestä Seksuaalisuuteen with Tuija Pulkkinen and has published recently on inheritance arrangements in queer communities. She is Academy of Finland Research Fellow for a project entitled: “Wills and Inheritance in Sexually Marginalised Groups” (2014-2019), and the director of the research project “CoreKin – Contrasting and Re-Imagining the Margins of Kinship” (2016-2020).

Application procedure and deadlines (

Apply with a max 150-word abstract of the paper by

Friday 9th November 2018.

Applicants will be informed by the outcome by email no later than

Friday 16th November 2018.

Deadline for submitting papers is Friday 23th November 2018.

The maximum number of students accepted for the course is 10.


Check for more information the course event on Facebook

22.01. – 2.02 2018 Queering Kinship and Intimate Relations in Theory and Practice MA Course

Corekin is happy to introduce a new intensive course on “Queering Kinship and Intimate Relations in Theory and Practice” on January 22 – February 2, 2018.

Corekin Team members Anna Avdeeva, Anna Heinonen, Antu Sorainen and Alisa Zhabenko with our close collaborator Dr Anna-Maria Tapaninen will give research-based talks and workshops on the timely topics around the theory and methodology on Queering Kinship and Families at the University of Helsinki Gender Studies.

Enrolment period for the course started on Tuesday 12 December 2017, therefore those who are willing to participate have to hurry since we could accept only a limited number of Master Students!

Finnish Master and PhD students from other universities whose work is primarily dealing with topics discussed during the course could write to the course organisers to inquire about their eligibility to participate in the course.

The course description and reading materials you could find at this LINK



7-9.11.2016        PhD Course “Queer(y)ing Kinship, Family and Sexuality” and public lecture “Families of Choice in Poland” by Prof. Joanna Mizielinska

The very successful Doctoral course “Queer(y)ing Kinship, Family and Sexuality” took place in University of Helsinki 7-8 of November and was finished by open public lecture “Families of Choice in Poland” by Professor Joanna Mizielinska. The course for a couple of days united gender studies and queer researchers from Finland, Sweden, Poland, Russia, Portugal and Brasil. Bright presentations on the issue of queering kinship in different countries were commented by the strong group of advanced queer scholars, teachers of the course: Ulrika Dahl, Associate Professor of Gender Studies at Uppsala University; Joanna Mizielinska, Associate Professor at the Institute of Psychology of the Polish Academy of Sciences and Antu Sorainen, Academy Fellow at the Academy of Finland, Docent in Gender Studies at the University of Helsinki.