Call for papers: Nordic histories and contemporary formations of HIV/AIDS


AIDS was culturally, politically, and morally charged from its inception. First labeled as a ‘gay cancer’, the cultural understanding of, AIDS emerged both as a serious medical condition and ‘an epidemic of meanings and signification’ (Treichler, 1999). Since 1981, the AIDS-epidemic has radically changed cultures of sex, intimacy, identity, and community.

Documentation of and research in the histories and contemporary formations of AIDS in the Nordic region remains scarce as most studies have focused on the US. The Nordic histories of the epidemic, however, differ greatly from the ones of the US-American contexts: In the early stages of the AIDS epidemic, the Nordic welfare states intervened in the epidemic with active support and regulation of the gay male population. Though these regulations were deployed differently in the region, the crisis enabled the active collaboration between grassroots organizations and state authorities in all Nordic countries and, thus, formed the contours of LGBT+ politics in the years to come.

Today in the Western world, medical treatments make HIV untraceable and almost unnoticeable, though the stigma surrounding HIV still has a large effect on people living with HIV. In other parts of the world, because of unequal distribution of medical care continues, the crisis continues with tremendous effects.

How has the epidemic played out and how did and do it influence today’s cultures, intimacies, and sexual politics? Which methodologies enable us to collect ephemeral sources to tell (affective and aesthetic) stories of the epidemic? How was and is HIV/AIDS racialized and scripted within colonial and racist legacies? How are the disease and its impacts related to local and global inequalities? How did and do gender structure the epidemic? How is AIDS remembered and represented in literature, art, and popular culture? What are the similarities and differences between AIDS and other viral epidemics and with different forms of (dis)ability? How is crisis locally and globally distributed? What are the current understandings and cultures of HIV/AIDS? And how do affective histories of the virus still haunt in its undetectable emergences in a (bio)technical age of PrEP and antiretroviral therapies?

Women, Gender & Research invites articles that explore the histories of AIDS as well as contemporary cultures, formations, and discourses of HIV/AIDS in the Nordic region. We invite all articles that investigate HIV/AIDS across disciplines, methods, and theories. Articles may engage with some of the questions raised above or discuss HIV/AIDS in other thematic and analytical angles.


Contributions in both English and Scandinavian languages are accepted.

Deadline for abstracts (max 500 words + author bio of ca 100 words): 15th of February 2022

Notifications by:  1st of March 2022

Deadline for articles: 15 of August 2022

Envisaged publication date: 1st of March 2023

Abstracts should be submitted via our webpage. You can submit both your author bio and your abstract here – and later (if necessary), the entire article.   

The journal welcomes contributions in the form of research articles, essays, artwork, opinion pieces, book reviews, and further comments thereon in keeping with editorial policy (see Submission).

Special issue editors: Michael Nebeling Petersen (University of Copenhagen), Mons Bissenbakker (University of Copenhagen), Bolette Frydendahl Larsen (Lund University), Kristian Møller (Roskilde University) and Tony Sandset (University of Oslo)