Helena Wahlström Henriksson

Professor at Centre for Gender Research

+4618-471 7298+46-72 9999255
Mobile phone:
+46 72 9999255
Visiting address:
Villavägen 6
752 36 UPPSALA
Postal address:
Box 527
751 20 Uppsala

Short presentation

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Helena Wahlström Henriksson is Professor in Gender Studies and Docent in American literature. Her research interests are cultural studies, feminist theory, masculinity studies, family/kinship studies, childhood studies, women's literature, American literature, and postcolonial studies.

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Fil Kand English and Comparative Literature 1991

Fil Dr American Literature 1997

Docent American Literature 2010

Professor Gender Studies 2016

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My research combines literary and cultural studies methodologies with the critical perspectives of feminist theory and masculinity studies. My previous projects lie within the frameworks of American literary studies and gender studies, but ongoing projects focus on Swedish culture.

My doctoral thesis, Husbands, Lovers, and Dreamlovers: Masculinity and Female Desire in Women’s Novels of the 1970s (Uppsala: Acta 1997), is a feminist study of women’s liberation novels in the US. Masculinity and female heterosexual desire are contextualized historically and discursively, and hence fiction is read alongside non-fictional texts on sexuality, sexual liberation, and women’s liberation that were published in the 1960s and 70s.

Primarily, my research after the PhD has come to focus on understandings of family and kinship, especially fatherhood and gendered parenthood, as well as childhood and orphanhood. New Fathers?: Contemporary American Stories of Masculinity, Domesticity, and Kinship (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010) analyses fatherhood and fathering in non-nuclear families in US fiction and fictional film. Making Home: Orphanhood, Kinship, and Cultural Memory in Contemporary American Novels (Manchester UP, 2014) investigates the orphan figure in contemporary American novels, and the ways that this figure is linked to both literary and social histories of various groups of orphan children in the US. The book was collaboratively written with Prof. Maria Holmgren Troy (Karlstad University) and Dr. Liz Kella (Södertörn University), and financed by the Swedish Research Council 2009-2011.

A collaborative project, financed by the Swedish Research Council, is Mother Anyway (Anna Williams PI); this Project runs 2017-2020, and more information can be found here: http://www.littvet.uu.se/forskning/forskningsprojekt/mamma-hursomhelst/ Within the framework of the Project, I analyze mediatized narratives of breastfeeding and childbirth.

Another collaborative project is titled Close Relations: Representations of Family and Kinship in Swedish Twenty-First Century Culture (with Jenny Björklund). within the framework of the project, I investigate how gender operates in representations of parenthood and parent-Child relations in various genres (daddy handbooks, memoirs, novels), as well as single/solo parenthood.

I am also part of the steering committee of The Swedish Network for Family and Kinship Studies, the first meeting of which was held in Uppsala in 2014, and which is funded by FORTE 2016-18.

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