On January 11 at AkademiHotellet, Uppsala, Gender and Work's project leaders and members attended the first annual meeting of GaW 2 with the scientific advisory board of GaW project including special guests. The meeting was divided into two sessions. The morning session was dedicated to historians; Lars Edgren (Lund University), Ulrika Holgersson (Lund University), and Kirsti Niskanen (Stockholm University) who kindly came to Uppsala to give feedback on the book Making a Living, Making a Difference and implications for post-1800 history. The afternoon session was dedicated to GaW members who presented their work-in-progress.
At the very start of this spring semester, we talked to Maria Ågren, Professor of History and one of the three Gender and Work project leaders, about GaW’s activities last semester and her ambition to go on creating a pleasant atmosphere in academia by organizing as well as participating in several conferences throughout this spring semester. Also, she just had her new book published! Let us hear some words from her.
“The life we live today is not the has-to-be life,” said Jonas Lindström, one of the research leaders of the Gender and Work project. After the talk with Jonas, this sentence kind of made me sit still and think through the hopeful sentiments of historical studies. I often think about why I’m drawn to history, but I’ve never come across this down-to-earth aspect, that history can assist us in coping with our daily life. During our conversation, he also talks about the past, the present, and the future of Gender and Work, the project he has been participating for almost ten years. See how he looks at it in this interview.
Most people understand that literacy can be a major source of socio-political power in the present time, and it is noticeable that literacy is often studied by social scientists. But what about historians? Which aspects do they look at when they study literacy? Christoffer Åhlman, a Ph.D. student working in the Gender and Work project at the Department of History, Uppsala University, looks at the interconnection of literacy, women, education, and marriage in the early modern social context. Read on to dive with Christoffer.
How do historians and economic historians define words like, for instance, work, household, marriage, mistresses, and professionalism? What are the connections between work, social status, and social power? How do we distinguish between inner and outer management? What was the importance of networks and social connections? Why did people stay together in the household? What brought them together in the first place? These are only some of the fundamental yet perplexing questions that are often discussed by academics and historians. In the workshop organized by the Gender and Work project on November 2, 2017, the researchers from Sweden and Finland enthusiastically approached these questions through their current research projects, tackled many grand narratives about early modern people’s working life, and shed light on the concept of ‘work’ and the concept of ‘gender’.