During the first three years of its activity, the PPhiG team focused on four research themes, around which various events from small-scale workshops to symposia and large-scale conferences were organized. The small-scale workshops serve the purpose of promoting work-in-progress through intensive discussion on papers. In addition to providing the members of the PPhiG research team with an opportunity to share their work and thoughts between themselves and the guests, the symposia, with invited speakers, also provide the members with a way of proceeding with their work while strengthening international collaboration, and working closely with members of the PPhiGNet, an activity which later on becomes materialized in the form of publications, i.e. collections of articles focusing on carefully selected topics. The conferences, with invited key note speakers and guests, open to public, also serve the purpose of intensifying international research collaboration, particularly with members of the PPhiGNet, and function as a site of working on joint publications. From the point of view of doctoral students, all the organized events function as part of their doctoral training.
The four research themes the PPhiG team focused on during 2006-2009 include:
Politics of Philosophy in Feminist Theory
PPhiG’s work on the theme Politics of Philosophy in Feminist Theory focuses on philosophical traditions in contemporary feminist thought from the point of view of conceptual conflicts. Tuija Pulkkinen’s project on this topic focuses on the differences between those feminist theorist, who take their inspiration from the phenomenological-existential tradition and those who take their inspiration from Deleuze, Foucault or Derrida, respectively. Eeva Urrio’s doctoral dissertation work on Elizabeth Grozs is related to this project. Laura Werner’s postdoctoral project on the concept of virility expands the theme further, as does that of doctoral student Jacek Kornak, whose work focuses on the concept “Queer”.
The team has also worked intensively with projects on Hegelian tradition in connection to feminist thought. Laura Werner completed her doctoral dissertation on the concept of love in Hegel’s work in 2007. The same year PPhiG organized an international symposium in Berlin, at the Finnish Institute in Germany, with top international experts on the theme. As a result of all this work, Hegel’s Philosophy and Feminist Thought. Beyond Antigone?, edited by Kimberly Hutchings and Tuija Pulkkinen, will be published in August 2010. There is also work done on Michel Foucault within PPhiG; senior member Johanna Oksala has published a monograph on his thought in 2007.
Various events organized around the theme Politics of Philosophy and Feminist Theory include workshops on “Judith Butler”, “Precariousness” and “Power Body Desire” in Jyväskylä and Helsinki in 2006, a workshop “Politics of Theory” with Greek colleagues in Mytilene 2007, as well as two workshops in Manchester in 2007. For information on publications related to this theme, please check the list of publications by Tuija Pulkkinen, Johanna Oksala and Laura Werner.
Feminist Political Theory
PPhiG’s work on Feminist Political theory seeks to combine historical and conceptual approaches, when considering women as targets of politics and as political agents. To a degree, this work has in the past been intertwined with the ESF network on Politics and History of European Democratization, with an outcome of The Ashgate Research Companion to The Politics of Democratization in Europe. Concepts and Histories (edited by Palonen, Pulkkinen & Rosales, 2008). Two doctoral projects are under work: Anna Elomäki’s on the thinking of collective agency in feminist political theory, and Mervi Patosalmi’s on the politics and policies targeting reproductive agency. Julia Honkasalo’s project on Hannah Arendt’s thought is related to the theme as well. A partly separate, but intertwined project is led by a senior member of PPhiG, academy professor Kevät Nousiainen, on gender and political participation. The PPhiG team organized a workshop titled “Feminist Political Theory – Political Feminist Theory” in Institute Finlandais in Paris 2007 with Lisa Disch, and more work on the theme has been carried out in Manchester workshops in 2007 and 2008, with PPhiG’s visiting post doctoral scholar, Marta Postigo (University of Malaga), who also works on this theme.
Queer and Politics
The PPhiG´s work on the theme The Queer and Politics takes a closer look at sexuality as an organizer in representative politics. Tuula Juvonen’s postdoctoral project looks at gay and lesbian politicians, and the PPhiG team has organized a number of international events towards comparative international approach in this area. The series of events was launched in 2006 with a two-day-symposium titled “Challenging the Heteronormativity of Representational Politics” in Jyväskylä, and it has been followed by other international gatherings: “Queer and Politics II – Queer Questions to Representational Politics” in Berlin Finnland Institut, “Studying Queer(s) in Politics I and II”, and “Queer Politics in Finland and Greece” in Mytilene 2007. PPhiG members working on this theme include postdoctoral scholars Tuula Juvonen, Anu Koivunen and Antu Sorainen. In addition, visiting scholars Dr. Antke Engel and Professor Sarah Green (EastBordNet) have contributed to this theme as well. Several joint publication projects are in preparation.
Politics of Decency
The interesting conceptual history of a Hegelian concept ‘Sittlichket/’sedlighet’/’siveellisyys’ in Finland is a starting point for PPhiG’s fourth research theme. In its 19th century use sedlighet/siveellisyys still referred to civic attitude in politics and morality in a broad sense, while the contemporary meaning of the word is confined strictly to the regulation of sexuality. In November 2006 PPhiG organized a two-day-conference titled “Politics of Decency”, gathering together historians, philosophers, scholars of law, anthropologists and women’s studies scholars to discuss the concept ‘decency’. Antu Sorainen’s postdoctoral work centers on the theme, and an edited collection by Pulkkinen and Sorainen, with contributions by a multidisciplinary team of experts, is coming out soon (SKS, 2010), interpreting the history and politics of gender and sexuality from a new point of view.