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Women’s University 1928-2018

CHEF Talk (webinar) – free and open to all

2021.01.04 | CHEF

Date Tue 30 Mar
Time 14:00 15:00
Location Zoom

Speakers: Professor Ning de Coninck-Smith & Dr Astrid Elkjær Sørensen, both Danish Schhool of Education, Aarhus University, Denmark

Chair: Dr Søren S.E. Bengtsen, Co-Director of CHEF, Aarhus University, Denmark 

Time: March 30th, 2021, at 14.00-15.00 Central European Time (CET) 

Place: A Zoom-link will be shared with registered participants before the event


Register for the event




First speaker: Professor Ning de Coninck-Smith

Title: Making the un-visible matter. Theoretical and methodological reflections on the writing of university jubilee history.


University jubilees generate books – boring books, but frequently very informative about quantitative expansions, important scientific breakthrough, renowned (male) professors and impressive campus.

What is missing from these accounts are the men and women on all levels, who on a daily basis make higher learning/universities. What is also missing are theoretical and methodological reflections about, what is told and what is not and what makes university change and where to detect the micro and affective processes, where the shifting logics of academic life become visible?

The outset of my talk will be a chapter written for an upcoming volume, edited by Gisela Hürliman and Anton Guhl entitled Staging History. Actors, Media, and Politics of Anniversaries in European Institutions of Higher Learning from 1850 to the Present.

My contribution to the volume has three parts. 1) Staging a narrative about the origins of Aarhus University 2) An untold story and 3) Theoretical and methodological challenges and reflections. In my talk, I will present a short version, focusing on the third section. In this, I draw on gender studies, and post-structural and new materialist theory in highlighting the role of the anecdote, when making the un-visible visible.


Second speaker: Dr Astrid Elkjær Sørensen

Title: Gender & Academization


“There is no reason to act like the 'nice girls' who make everything works, no matter how crazy it all looks. The nice girls are qualified girls, and qualifications are paid for!”

  • Kirsten Stallknecht, President for the Danish Nurses’ Union (DSR) in the members’ magazine, 1993


In the quotation above the former president of the Danish Nurses’ union Kirsten Stallknecht worded how she and the unions wanted the nurses’ profession to be seen as qualified work deserving of a wage level matching the length of the profession’s education level rather than a feminine calling. In her argument, Stallknecht operates with a new type of female subject, namely “the qualified girl” and hereby she reimagines femininity as something linked to professionalism. Or in other words Stallknecht is still operating with the nurse as a distinct female figure but tries to change the meaning ascribed to it.

In my presentation, I discuss through a series of empirical examples how notions and negotiation of the feminine and masculine played into the academization of the teachers’, nurses’ and pre-school teachers’ profession in the period 1990-2020, and how it has shaped our understanding of these professions.