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Helle Rydström


Helle Rydström is Professor in Gender Studies at the Department of Gender Studies, Lund University. She has previously held positions, for instance, in Social Anthropology (‘lektorat’) at Linköping University; in East and Southeast Asian Studies (Research Fellow) at Lund University; and in Child Studies (‘lektorat’) at Linköping University, all in Sweden.

Rydström holds a Ph.D. (1999) from the Institute of Thematic Research (Social Anthropology/Child Studies), Linköping University; a MA (1991) in International Development Studies/Development Anthropology from Roskilde University, Denmark; and a BA (1987) in Political Science also from Roskilde University. In 2003, she was promoted to Associate Professor (‘Docent’) at the Institute of Thematic Research.

Her collaboration with institutes, colleagues, and organizations from various parts of the world is extensive. She has, for example, been a Visiting Scholar at the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality at the New York University, USA; the Institute for Asian Research at York University, Canada; and at the Department of Social Anthropology, the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany. She has been affiliated with various Vietnamese institutes (e.g. Family and Gender Studies, Hanoi; Sociology, Hanoi; and National Institute of Educational Sciences).

Together with Prof. A. Datta, Rydström is the coordinator of an exchange program between the Gender Studies Department and the Department of Geography at Delhi University, India: Linnaeus-Palme Exchange Program on Gender and Space. With colleagues, Rydström is one of the founders of the Nordic Southeast Asian Studies Network: Nordic Southeast Asia Network. She is also committed to the Swedish South Asian Studies Network (SASNET) of which she is a board member.

Global Gender Matters

Rydström is the organizer, together with Prof. D. Mulinari, of the Global Gender Matters Network, which provides a platform for frequent workshops, seminars, and conferences.

Current Research

Rydström is specialized in the anthropology of gender in Asia. Her research focuses on the configurations of masculinities and femininities and the ways in which these inform gendered and aged powers and violences in the domestic sphere and in sites of conflict, war, and catastrophe. By exploring the crafting of corporeality and experiences of gendered and sexualized bodies, Rydström’s research highlights the socialization of hierarchies, privileges, emotions, and moralities and their perpetuation and transformation in particular socio-political landscapes. Over the years, she has conducted long-term and short-term anthropological fieldwork in rural and urban Vietnam but even in Nepal and India. Rydström is engaged in questions concerning gendered and aged rights, in(securities), crisis, and precariousness in a postcolonial world. See e.g. (in Swedish)  Debattinlägg: "En uttalat feministisk utrikespolitik borde fokusera på kvinnor och flickor." 

Currently Rydström is the research leader of a 5-year Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet) funded project on ‘Climate Disasters and Gendered Violence in Asia: A Study on the Vulnerability and (In)Security of Women and Girls in the Aftermath of Recent Catastrophes in Pakistan, the Philippines, and Vietnam’. The project is carried out together with Prof. C. Kinnvall and post-doctoral research fellow Dr. H. Nguyen.

Together with colleagues, Rydström is engaged in the initiative ‘Critical Explorations of Crisis’ which is funded by the Grace and Philip Sandblom Fond.

Over the years, Rydström has been the research leader of externally funded projects including a recently concluded study funded by the Swedish Research Council on the mis(recognition) of same-sex in India and Vietnam (included post-doctoral research fellow Dr. P. Horton and doctoral student M. Tonini). Rydström has been in charge of a project on the gendering of civil society and male-to-female violence in Vietnam in a project which was part of a larger project (lead: Prof. D. Mulinari) under the Swedish Research Council’s Civil Society program. She was the research leader of a project funded by the Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences (Riksbankens Jubileumsfond) and by the Swedish International Development Coorporation Agency on ‘Constructing Identities: Young People, War, Violences, and Sexualities in Vietnam’ thanks to which she has collected a large amount of data on violence.

For 8 years, Rydström was the Swedish coordinator of a cross-disciplinary research project on ‘Rural Families in Transitional Vietnam’. The project was part of a research capacity building program in Vietnam funded by the Swedish International Development Coorporation Agency and about 25 scholars from the Institutes of Sociology; Family and Gender Studies; and Anthropology (all in Hanoi, Vietnam) were involved in the project. Data were collected in 1200 households in the north, center, and south of Vietnam to study gender, kin, ethnicity, violence, sexuality, economic conditions, education, and migration.

Selected Publications

‘Masculinity, Femininity, and Violence between Partners in Vietnam: Gendered Assymetries and Privileges’ (2016). In Handbook of Vietnamese Studies. (Editor-in-chief J. London). London and New York: Routledge.

Vietnam Women’s Union and the Politics of Representation: A Narrative of Hegemonic Solidarity’, 209-235 (2016). In H. Danielsen (eds.). Gendered Citizenship and the Politics of Representation. ). Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave McMillan.  

‘Politics of Colonial Violence: Gendered Atrocities in French Occupied Vietnam’, European Journal of Women’s Studies. vol. 22(2):191-207 (2015).

‘Nordic Gender Studies Conferences: Windows to a Global and Postcolonial World?’ NORA, vol. 22(2):147-154 (2014).

‘Gendered Corporeality and Bare Lives: Sacrifices and Sufferings during the Vietnam War’. Signs, vol. 37(2): 275-301 (2012).

Gendered Inequalities in Asia: Configuring, Contesting, and Recognizing Women and Men (2010). Copenhagen: Nordic Institute of Asian Studies Press/NIAS Press.

Embodying Morality: Growing Up in Northern Rural Vietnam (2003). Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press.

Administrative Tasks

Chair of Tenure and Promotion Committee (‘Ordförande i Docenturnämnden’), Faculty of Social Sciences, Lund University.

Member of the Faculty of Social Sciences Research Board (‘Forskningskommitén’), Lund University.

Research Responsible at the Department of Gender Studies, Lund University.

Member of the Ethical Review Committee in Lund (‘Regionala Etikprövningsnämnden i Lund’; Vetenskapsrådet).

Other services include referee for Swedish and international research councils; job search committees; Tenure and Promotion committees; educational programs; and international journals and presses as well as supervision and examination of M.A. and Ph.D. theses in Sweden and abroad (e.g. Ph.D. thesis examinations in Australia, Denmark, Finland, The Netherlands, and India).


International Ph.D. course: ‘Philosophy of the Social Sciences’.

International MA course: ‘Gender, Development, and Postcolonialism’.

International MA course: ‘Fieldwork’.

International MA course: ‘Introduction to Global Studies’.

Recent Activities

Portray of Gender Scholars; Nationella Genussekretariatet.

Talk at workshop on ‘A North South Dialogue on Differentiated Citizenship’, organized by the Center for Women and Gender Research (SKOK) and held at the Center for Migration and Society, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Keynote Address at conference on ‘Re-Orienting Gender: Geographies of Resistance, Agency, Violence and Desire in Asia’, Delhi University, India

Lecture at the ‘Differentiated Citizenship: Governing Populations beyond Territorial State Borders’, Bergen Ph.D. Summer Research School, organized by the Center for Women and Gender Research (SKOK) and Bergen University, Norway.

Talk at the symposium on ‘Colonial and Postcolonial Terror in Vietnam’, organized by the Asian American Studies Center at the UCLA, USA.

Panel discussion on the film ‘It’s a Girl’, at Doc’ Lounge, Mejeriet, Lund

Talk on ‘Violence against Women and Children in South Asia’, SASNET, Lunds Konsthall.


Retrieved from Lund University's publications database



Retrieved from Lund University's publications database


Retrieved from Lund University's publications database

E-mail: helle [dot] rydstrom [at] genus [dot] lu [dot] se


Department of Gender Studies

+46 46 222 09 52


Department of Gender Studies
Visiting address: Allhelgona Kyrkogata 14, House M, Lund
Postal address: Box 117, 221 00 Lund, Sweden
Phone +46 46-222 00 00 (operator)
Fax: 046-222 40 04

Faculty of Social Sciences