Anna Derksen currently works on her PhD thesis "Disabled Utopias. Nordic Imaginations of a 'Society for All' in Transnational Perspective, 1960s-1990s". As part of the ERC project "Rethinking Disability: The Global Impact of the International Year of Disabled Persons (1981) in Historical Perspective", her thesis examines conceptions, discourses and practices of disability and disability rights activism in the Nordic welfare states. A key question is furthermore how Nordic disability perceptions have been utilized in the context of international organizations like the United Nations, transnational disability networks, and development assistance projects carried out by Nordic disability organizations in the Global South.
Fields of interest
My research interests include modern Nordic history, welfare states and social policies, the history of national minorities, gender and disability history, transnational relations and development as well as the sociopolitical role of non-governmental organizations.
I am a PhD candidate in the ERC-project "Rethinking Disability: the Global Impact of the International Year of Disabled Persons (1981) in Historical Perspective". In my thesis entitled "Disabled Utopias. Nordic Imaginations of a 'Society for All' in Transnational Perspective, 1960s to 1990s", I examine the changing sociopolitical conceptions and practices of disability in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, and to a lesser extent Finland. How have disability organizations and activists, the main actors of my study, as well as governmental institutions and the public discussed questions of equality and participation of persons with disabilities in the postwar Nordic welfare societies?
Taking the United Nations International Year of Disabled Persons (IYDP) in 1981 as a turning point for an increased globalization of disability discourses, a key question of my research is furthermore how Nordic disability perceptions have been disseminated and utilized in the context of international organizations such as the United Nations, the World Health Organization or the International Labour Organization, as well as in transnational disability networks and development assistance projects in the Global South. What was the impact of Nordic disability rights activists and organizations, who took a particular interest in these inter- and transnational exchanges, on international legal frameworks and the formation of a global disability community?
I have been teaching two History BA courses on charity, health and welfare in Europe and America since the late 19th century as part of the module Global Connections (in English).
I completed an BA in European Ethnology/Cultural History at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena, Germany, in 2012 with a thesis on song festivals and national movements in 19th century Estonia. During my BA I spent two semesters at Gothenburg University, Sweden, and did an internship at the Estonian National Museum in Tartu with a DAAD scholarship. In 2014 I finished my MA in Modern History on gender perceptions in Swedish Romanticism. Following a traineeship in cultural administration and public relations in Münster, I began working as a PhD candidate at the Institute for History in Leiden in 2016.
No relevant ancillary activities