As we move towards the second International Girls Studies Association Conference, to be held at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana, in February 2019, we reflect on the work of the scholars and practitioners who presented at our first conference
Reflections on the Inaugural International Girls Studies Association Conference
Victoria Cann, Sarah Godfrey, and Helen Warner
Current Themes and Theoretical Approaches
Claudia Mitchell and Jacqueline Reid-Walsh
This special issue of Girlhood Studies is the first one to have been devoted to the study of girls living in a specific geographical region. Here we focus on girls in the Nordic countries. What makes this set of essays particularly fascinating is that they address issues concerning girls who are located in countries whose advanced social services and democratic beliefs and practices are admired around the world. The rest of the world believes that the Nordic countries, Sweden, Iceland, Norway, Finland and Denmark, have achieved much of what girls in other countries in both the Global North and Global South are still working and fighting for. Interestingly, in their call for papers the guest editors Bodil Formark and Annelie Bränström Öhman, both located at Umeå University in Sweden, cite Finish sociologist Elina Oinas (2011) who queries whether Nordic girls do in fact belong to that exclusive group of “girls who won the lottery.” In the articles in this issue, the contributors interrogate some of the assumptions the rest of the world makes about the lives of girls living in Nordic countries, and the different notions of freedom that have an impact on them.
Bodil Formark and Annelie Bränström Öhman
While we have been working on this themed issue the political talk about The Girl has entered a new phase in a global shift manifested both by the establishment of the International Day of the Girl and through the launching of various campaigns on themes such as: Give Girls an Education and Eradicate World Poverty. The necessity for such initiatives was cruelly illustrated by the violent attack on Pakistani girls’ rights activist Malala Yousafzai on her way home from school on 9 October 2012. Such blatant discrimination makes it difficult for us not to feel that we live in a privileged part of the world. The five Nordic nation states—Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden—are indeed often perceived by outsiders, too, as progressive countries that have come very far in achieving gender equality. However, although Nordic girlhood may appear in stark contrast to that of the millions of disadvantaged girls in the world, there are complexities and ambivalences beneath the surface of Nordic progressiveness that a reductive, comparative, and linear, framework fails to take into account.
This first issue of Girlhood Studies in 2015 heralds the beginning of our move from two to three issues a year. This change acknowledges the burgeoning interest in Girlhood Studies as an academic area, and the increase in submissions from contributors. It also acknowledges the global context for work on girlhood. Indeed, as part of this exciting time, we bring to the Girlhood Studies community the second in a series of themed issues focusing on girlhood in different geographic and political contexts. Thus, following “Nordic Girls’ Studies: Current Themes and Theoretical Approaches” (Girlhood Studies 6:1), and in collaboration with the guest editors of that issue, we present this special issue on “Girlhood Studies in Post-Socialist Times.” The mock-up in Figure 1 offers a transliteration of the logo on the cover of Girlhood Studies into Russian; it was created for the first Russian Girlhood Studies conference, “Girlhood Studies: Prospects and Setting an Agenda” held in Moscow on 7 December 2012 at the Gorbachev-Foundation. This conference was a momentous event, attended by Mr. Gorbachev himself, that brought together scholars from various Russian universities and institutions to consider what Girlhood Studies as an interdisciplinary area of feminist scholarship could look like. Many of the presentations at that conference are now articles in this themed issue.
This Special Issue of Girlhood Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal highlights a unique moment in history in two ways. First, it offers a collection of articles based on presentations made at the inaugural International Girls Studies Association
Creativity and Black Girlhood
Crystal Leigh Endsley
to action is urgent. The call situates Black Girls’ studies as actionable space and emphasizes working from a place of love. In order to insist on this ethic of love, Brown also insists that we read her work in a way that “invite[s] a Black
Melanie Kennedy and Natalie Coulter
contemporary social anxieties and debates about vulnerable group members’ uses and navigations of new media (newer at least than the platforms and technologies girls studies scholars such as Harris were writing about over a decade ago) get projected. It seems
based on connections. The links currently being forged between the International Girls Studies Association (IGSA) and Girlhood Studies is part of this. And our managing editor, Ann Smith, so exemplifies this in encouraging new academics to review
Intergenerational Activism and the Ethics of Empowering Girls
( Downes et al. 2013 ; Huisman 2008 ; Mitchell and Reid-Walsh 2013 ). Whereas we, as girls’ studies scholars seek to actively disrupt and blur relational patterns of power in order to improve the lives of the girls we study ( Ackerly and True 2008
Susanne Gannon, is an exciting contribution to conversations in girl studies, memory studies, and feminist methodologies. Drawing on post structuralist theories of Deleuze (1998) and Butler (1990 , 2009 ), the chapters of this book explore the production