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Jens Rydström


Professor at the Department of Gender Studies and senior lecturer (docent) in history. My main fields of interest are gender history, medical history, gay and lesbian studies, critical disability studies, crip theory, and queer theory.


At the undergraduate level I teach Swedish-language courses in Theory and Method in Gender Studies, as well as the Introductory Course and Bachelor Course at the Bachelor Programme Equality and Diversity Management, which is also in Swedish. Also, I teach on the English-language undergraduate courses ‘Gender, Social Change and Diversity’, and ‘Scandinavian Models of Equality’. At the Graduate School’s International Masters Programme I teach on the courses ’Critical Feminist Perspectives in Social Theory’ and ’Gender, Class, Ethnicity, and Sexuality’. At the PhD-level I supervise doctoral students and am a board member of ‘InterGender - Consortium and Research School in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies’. The purpose of InterGender is to create a network for all PhD students in gender studies in Sweden, and from a number of partners in other countries in Europe (Humboldt University in Berlin, University of Utrecht, Central European University in Budapest, Helsinki University and Norway’s National Research School in Gender Research). InterGender organises PhD courses and network meetings for doctoral candidates in Gender Studies.


Throughout my career I have studied sexuality, most often in a historical perspective. I have published several books on LGBTQ history, and I was one of those who introduced Queer Theory in Sweden in the 1990s. In recent years I have become interested in Critical Disability Research and Crip Theory. My interest for sexuality and society has led me to the study sex work in a historical perspective, and, most recently, the effects of the AIDS epidemic on Swedish civil society.

My latest book, Loneliness and its opposite: Sex, disability, and the ethics of engagement, is written together with the social anthropologist Don Kulick. The project, which is funded by the Swedish Research Council, investigates the possibilities for people with significant physical or intellectual disabilities to develop a positive sexuality. We show how in Denmark the sexuality of people with disabilities is acknowledged, discussed and facilitated, whereas in Sweden a large group of people is abandoned and refused the right to develop their sexuality. In consequence, Swedish authorities systematically neglect their ethical responsibility toward people with significant disability.

A new area of research is sex work. Since 2014 I am part of the European Cost Action network Prospol – Comparing European prostitution policies: Understanding scales and cultures of governance, with more than 40 participant researchers from 24 countries. The network will result in a number of books and articles on European prostitution policies. My contribution is a historical investigation, Scandinavian sex workers’ organisations: Social movements in changing landscapes, which will compare sex workers’ organisations in Sweden, Denmark and Norway from the 1970s until the present.

From the fall of 2017 I begin a new project together with Lena Lennerhed, historian at Södertörn University. The project, funded by the Swedish Research Council, is called When the state won’t do: AIDS and civil society 1984–2000, and it investigates how different voluntary organisations reacted on the AIDS epidemic in Sweden. In what way did existing associations, like the RFSU and the RFSL, adapt their activities, and how did new groups, such as Noak’s Ark, PositHiva gruppen, and Convictus, organise? What conflicts arose, both between the organisations and between them and the state? The project will result in a book in Swedish and a number of articles in English.

Selected publications

Don Kulick & Jens Rydström (2015). Loneliness and its opposite: Sex, disability, and the ethics of engagement. Durham: Duke University Press.

Jens Rydström (2012). "Introduction: Crip Theory in Scandinavia," lambda nordica, vol. 17, no. 1-2, pp. 9-20.  

Jens Rydström (2011). Odd couples: A History of Gay Marriage in Scandinavia. Amsterdam: Aksant / Amsterdam University Press.

Jens Rydström, Kati Mustola (eds. 2007). Criminally Queer: Homosexuality and Criminal Law in Scandinavia 1842–1999. Amsterdam: Aksant Academic Publishers (Available from Amsterdam University Press’ home page,


Retrieved from Lund University's publications database

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


Department of Gender Studies

+46 46 222 80 69


Allhelgona Kyrkogata 14M, Lund


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