Hospitality and Solidarity:
Feminist Philosophy in Thought, History and Action

This circle is born out of the success and the strengths of the previous study circle Feminist Philosophy; Time, history and the Transformation of Thought (2017-2019) and is taking up a new interdisciplinary topic that is present in contemporary philosophy, politics, and theology as well as feminist theory: the topic of hospitality and solidarity. Exploring the different themes of our symposia, feminism will allow us to create unexpected connections, experimental interventions and rethink these themes anew.

Read more about the study circle here.

Upcoming symposium:

Feminism and Hospitality: 

Religious and Critical Perspectives in dialogue with a Secular Age

Åbo Akademi University, Turku, Finland.

5-8 March 2020.

Call for participation
in experiments, workshops and exchange of thought

Scholars, students, artists and activists are invited to participate in the first conference of the Nordic Summer University study circle Hospitality and Solidarity: Feminist Philosophy in Thought, History and Action (2020-2022) on the themes of Hospitality and Solidarity.

For our first winter symposium we want to engage in a discussion on Hospitality. Many religions and philosophical worldviews seem to uphold the concept of hospitality as a core value. We want to ask, are there differences in what is meant with hospitality in different traditions and how does solidarity with the ‘other’ take concrete form? Historically, hospitality has often been associated with the practices of family life where women are expected to serve and be at the “giving” end of care and comfort. What kind of demands does hospitality place on people as an emotional labour? What happens to the practices of hospitality when society becomes secularised? Recent studies (e.g.
Scott 2017) show that there is a much closer relationship between increased gender inequality and the rise of secularism, than earlier presumed. Especially religious women have fallen under the double burden of being seen as a-rational due to both their gender and their religious views. However, one may also ask: does a religious worldview have a unique contribution to offer in an increasingly secular society where the values of market economy and new public management are spreading across institutions and political structures? Are there forms of resistance to be found in the values of religions and faiths, which can offer tools to combat the increased marginalisation of people in our secular society? Recent studies in Finland, where churches offer refuge for immigrants seems to point in this direction (Ahonen 2019) Hence, the symposium strives to explore what can be discovered at the intersection of:

  • feminist thinking,
  • hospitality,
  • solidarity with the other,
  • religious and philosophical worldviews,
  • practices in a secular age.

We invite papers that approach any combination of these themes from different theoretical and methodological perspectives and in relation to various religious and philosophical traditions.

Confirmed keynotes:

Terhi Utriainen – Professor of Study of Religion at the University of Turku. She is a scholar and ethnographer of the dynamics of present-day vernacular religion, spirituality and secular culture. She specialises also in the study of gender, embodiment and ritual theory. Her recent works include for example the co-edited books "Finnish Women Making Religion: Between Ancestors and Angels" (2014)  and "The Relational Dynamics of Enchantment and Sacralization: Changing the Terms of the Religion Versus Secularity Debate" (2016). She is heading the new project “Learning from New Religion and Spirituality” funded by the Academy of Finland. She is also series editor of the Brill Handbook of Contemporary Religion. Her talk will be about “What can the notion of ‘spirituality’ do to the categories of ‘religion’ and ‘secularity’?

DSocSci Talvikki Ahonen is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Eastern Finland’s School of Theology. Her doctoral dissertation focused on the Finnish church asylum movement, and her current research interests lie or: deals with the intersections of religion and politics. In particular she has focused on religious conversion and its impact on asylum procedures. Her talk will be built on the following topic: “Encountering and recognizing the other within the Finnish church asylum movement”.

[other contacted keynotes to be confirmed]

The conference is organised by the network Hospitality and Solidarity: Feminist Philosophy in Thought, History and Action of the Nordic Summer University in collaboration with Åbo Akademi and the Donner Institute for Research in Religion and Culture.


A special issue of the journal Approaching Religion will be published based on the symposium. AR is open access and has a wide readership among academia. It is indexed in some of the largest scientific databases in the world (DOAJ, EBSCO, ATLA, ERIH Plus, Web of Science), as well as Google Scholar. Thus, the journal articles are searchable at more than 90 % of the world’s universities. AR is primarily a channel for publishing presentations given at conferences that DI has been involved in, and scholars from a wide range of fields have published with us – not just scholars of religion as the title might suggest.

After the workshop, we cordially invite you to submit manuscripts for this special issue (Vol. 10/2), to be published in the autumn issue of 2020. The submissions will undergo peer review. You find editorial policies, guidelines for authors as well as information on the review and publication processes at the journal website. If you do not wish to submit a full-length research article, we also welcome shorter reflections from the workshops during the conference, review articles and book reviews.

Submission of articles for peer-review: 10.4 2020
Response from reviewers: 10.6 2020
Final submission: 10.8 2020
Publication: 10.10 2020

Interested in participation in this conference?

Anyone interested in presenting a paper at the symposium is invited to submit an abstract of 300 words to no later than November 15th 2019. Presentations can be given in English or a Scandinavian language. If you want to participate without a presentation, please submit a short bio by the same date. Decisions regarding acceptance will be communicated no later than December 15th.

Format of the presentation

We strongly encourage you to craft a format that suits your presentation, such as a workshop, experiment, exercise, or interactive dialogue. Include at least 10 minutes for discussion, out of the 40 minutes allotted to each presentation. It will also be possible to have a few participants attend the sessions through an internet connection – particularly if you are wishing to save time and the environment by lessening travelling costs. If this is of interest, tell us which times and dates work for you and we will do our best to accommodate the program for this.
If you wish to contribute to the journal with an article and want to have it read by peers for comments during the week, please indicate this and we will arrange a workshop slot in the program for such peer support.

Practical information

Registration fee: 80 Euros (participants with institutional support), 60 Euros (discounted for participants without institutional support)
NSU membership fee: 25 Euros (10 Euros discounted rate)
The registration fee includes accommodation in shared rooms, lunch meals (Thursday, Friday and Saturday), dinners and a reception (Thursday, Friday and Saturday), as well as coffee breaks. Further information concerning all practical matters and a preliminary schedule will be posted on this website (

The annual membership fee payed to the Nordic Summer University (NSU) facilitates the existence of NSU, which is a volunteer-based organisation. As a member you can sign up for all events organised by NSU, take part in the democratic decision-making process on which NSU is based, and become part of the extensive network of NSU. There are two rates: a standard fee of 25 Euros and a discounted membership fee of 10 Euros for self-financed/freelance/independent students, scholars and artists.
Further instructions concerning registration and payment will follow in an e-mail to all accepted participants. NSU will also be able to fund the travel expenses for a number of Nordic and Baltic participants. Please indicate whether you are interested in receiving travel support when you submit your application.

About the network

Hospitality and Solidarity: Feminist Philosophy in Thought, History and Action is a three-year study circle for critical interdisciplinary inquiries based in the Nordic and Baltic countries. The symposium at Åbo Akademi Univeristy is the first of a total of six conferences from 2020 to 2022. The network builds on the project Feminist philosophy: Time, history and the transformation of thought (2017-2019), which attracted more than 200 participants from five continents. The network aims to transcend the hierarchies of academia and the limits of thought. For more information about the network, visit our website:
feminist-philosophy-thought-history-action/ and FB-group Feminist Philosophy (NSU).

Reading group

In preparation for the conference we will read the following book together: Etty Hillesum (1996) An interrupted life: the diaries, 1941–1943; and, Letters from Westerbork. Starting on Wednesday 30th of October all whom wish to join are welcome to participate in a discussion around what we have read. Participation can take place through a joint call or be in person. The time slot will be 16:00 Finnish time and the physical place of meeting in Åbo. Please email laura.hellsten [at] for more information.


Nicole des Bouvrie (International)
Board member International 2019- , Coordinator Study Circle 3
nicole.nobyeni [at]
NSU Treasurer. Contact for: Föreningen Norden Forbund (FNF) Board member 2019, 2020, Coordinator Circle 3: Hospitality and Solidarity: Feminist Philosophy in Thought, History and Action

Laura Hellsten (Finland)
Board member 2020-, Coordinator Study Circle 3
laura.hellsten [at]
Board member 2020- , Coordinator Circle 3: Hospitality and Solidarity: Feminist Philosophy in Thought, History and Action

Johanna Sjöstedt (Sweden)
Board member Sweden 2015-2018
Coordinator Study Circle 3 (2017-2019) and (2020-2022)

johanna.sjostedt [at]
Study Circle 3.