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Helle Rydstrom is Professor at the Department of Gender Studies at Lund University, Sweden. She has a background in Social Anthropology and International Development Studies. Rydstrom is specialized in the anthropology of gender in Asia with a focus on Vietnam. 

Her research covers various topics to explore the entanglements of crisis, precariousness, and harm, and the ways in which resilience is mustered and coping strategies invented. Thus, she has published on gendered hierarchies, powers, (in)securities, and violences as informed by ideas about masculinities, feminities, and sexualities to unfold how these shape lifeworlds and livelihoods including in the aftermath of climate disasters, colonialism, conflicts, and wars.

Rydstrom has carried out fieldwork in countries such as India and Nepal but foremost in Vietnam, where she has conducted anthropological fieldwork for longer periods in a rural northern commune (i.e., 1994-1995 and 2000-2001) and over the years for shorter periods (i.e., 1-4 months) in urban and semi-urban Vietnam, central coastal Vietnam, and the Industrial Zones of northern Vietnam. 

As author of Embodying Morality (University of Hawai'i Press), Rydstrom was nominated for the Harry J. Benda Prize and won the research prize in memoriam of Professor Tamara K. Hareven. She was granted Riksbankens Jubileumsfonds research award for promising younger scholars.

She has been the PL/PI of various funded research projects in which colleagues at various career levels have participated. Amongst others, these research projects include a Pufendord Institute for Advanced Studies Research Theme on CRISIS; a project on Nordic companies outsourced to China, India, and Vietnam as related to gendered precariousness, harms, and violences (w. L. Eklund, C. Kinnvall, and M. Tonini) funded by the Swedish Research Council; a project on climate disasters and gendered ramifications in Pakistan, the Philippines, and Vietnam (w. C. Kinnvall and H. Nguyen) funded by the Swedish Research Council; a study on recognition and homosexuality in India and Vietnam (w. P. Horton and M. Tonini) funded by the Swedish Research Council; as well as a project on challenged feminism in Vietnam under a civil society program on imaginging change coordinated by D. Mulinari and funded by the Swedish Research Council. 

Further examples of projects refer to a Linneaus-Palme funded exchange program with India on gender and space (w. A. Datta); a project on the protection of women, children, and marginalized groups in Cambodia and Vietnam (w. M. H. Nguyen) funded by the Embassy of Sweden in Vietnam; and an 8-year project on rural families in transitional Vietnam with five institutes carried out under a large-scale Swedish research capacity building program to Vietnam funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida) and coordinated by the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs with Vietnam Ministry of Science and Technology.

Rydstrom has been a visiting scholar, for instance, at The Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality, New York University (NYU), USA; The Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle, Germany; Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore (NUS); Center for Family and Gender Studies, Vietnamese Academy of Social Sciences; Institute for Asian Research, York University, Canada; Department of Anthropology, Hanoi University, Vietnam; Asian American Studies, UCLA, USA; and Department of Geography, Delhi University, India. 

Networks, for example, include the Nordic Southeast Asian Studies Network; South Asian Studies Network (SASNET); and Global Gender Matters. As part of an engagment in critically exploring crisis as a phenomenon, experience, and ethnographic reality, Rydstrom has with colleagues launched the Society for Critical Studies of Crisis (SCSC) of which she is the president. In addition, she coordinates (w. S. Banerjee, A. Hill, and S. Turner), the Crisis Inequalities and Social Resilience (CISR) group. Rydstrom is also part of the Interresilience collaboration between Lund University and Hamburg University.

Academic commitments include, for instance, being the vice-chair of the tenure and promotion committee ('lärarförslagnämnden'), Faculty of Social Sciences, Lund University; research resposible, Department of Gender Studies, Lund University; referee for international journals and presses (e.g., American Ethnologist; Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute; Asian Studies; Gender, Place, and Culture; Men and Masculinities); Ph.D. supervisor; examiner and referee of doctoral dissertations and tenure and promotion applications (e.g., Australia, Denmark, Finland, India, The Netherlands, UK, USA, and Sweden); and referee for research councils (e.g., Austrian Academy of Sciences; National Science Foundation, USA; NOKUT, Norway; and the Swedish Research Council (HS-C)). More than 100 international and national invitations have allowed Rydstrom to share her reserach with institutes, departments, agenices, and organizations.  

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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