Workshop 2 in the Transforming Identities project: Challenging Nordic exceptionalisms. May 8-10 2019, University of Gothenburg.

The EXCEPT workshop is the second in a series of three that examines central tensions and convergences in contemporary debates concerning democratic participation, minority rights and movement building through the prism of identity politics.

For this second meeting we are especially interested in exploring how notions of identity and debates around identity politics serve to reproduce, problematize or transform various forms of exceptionalisms situated within and moving between different sites in the Nordic region and beyond.

While the first workshop at the University of Stavanger in November 2018 examined the dilemmas and possibilities of identity politics as a strategy to foster democratic participation, EXCEPT engages the political entanglements between movements, spatialities, and nationalisms in the current historical moment.

The EXCEPT workshop will explore: how models and ideologies of exceptionalisms and their consequences manifest throughout the Nordic contexts as well as their global reach; how power, privilege and inequalities – old and new – are articulated and experienced, and how they are or might be challenged, and by who.

Is there really something particular about the Nordic location – geographically, politically, historically, economically, culturally? If so, how do we locate these particularities through key contemporary debates on e.g. minorities, human rights, democracy environmental degradations and freedoms of speech? Through an engagement with key thematic clusters (see below), we will debate these questions in current critical areas of knowledge production. These areas are for example biopolitics, sexism/anti-gender debates, anti-homosexualities, bigotisms, transnegativities, de/colonizations, patriotisms, nationalism, and racism, paternalizing forms of care.

The EXCEPT workshop welcomes analyses of activisms, art, critical pedagogies and theorizations on the making of liveable spaces in various contexts such as the politics of struggles, solidarities, riots, love, dying, unwellness, and maiming. Whereas EXCEPT is particularly engaged in a critical exploration of Nordic exceptionalisms, we also invite analyses from a variety of geopolitical perspectives, in order to foster a broader dialogue between different ways of seeing, locating and challenging “the Nordic”.

Confirmed keynote speaker

Paola Bacchetta, Professor of gender and women’s studies, University of California, Berkeley: Decolonial Feminist and Queer of Color Theorizations: Artivisms and Activisms in the US and France

Workshop format and papers

The workshop is structured around presentations and discussions within five thematic cluster groups:

  1. Race and racialization, politics of/on ethnicity and ‘origins’

  2. ​Exceptionalism/s

  3. Colonization and decolonization

  4. Politics of belonging

  5. Politics of difference

Participants are encouraged to prepare a 10-minute presentation within the scope of one cluster theme. Your paper can be work-in-progress, project presentations, reflections, artefacts/visuals with commentaries, or similar. On the second day of the workshop, we will discuss the papers together, share insights and ideas, and plan future collaborations. It is therefore important that participants commit to being present throughout the workshop.

The workshop language is English. Please let us know if you have access needs or needs related to interpreting or translation, and we will do our best to accommodate.

Submission guidelines

Please submit a short abstract, indicating what cluster theme you apply to be included in (max 150 words) and a short biography (max 100 words). Please include your affiliation and contact email.

Deadline for submission: March 10 2019 to

We aim to respond to all submissions by 1 April 2019.

Schedule and location

A public plenary followed by socials will take place in the afternoon of May 8 in central Gothenburg (venue and speakers TBA)

The workshop will take place at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, May 9-10, 2019. But note that we will start on the afternoon of May 8 with a public plenary debate and socials, continue through the whole day on May 9 and will finish on the afternoon of May 10.


Accepted participants are funded their accommodation, economy-class travel, and meals. This possibility is due to the project receiving a generous exploratory workshop grant from the Joint Committee for Nordic Research Councils in the Humanities and Social Sciences (NOS-HS) and a grant from the Nordic Council of Ministers.

Project website for Transforming Identities

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