Mikela Lundahl Hero

Senior Lecturer

School of Global
+46 31-786 58 00
Visiting address
Konstepidemins väg 2
41314 Göteborg
Room number
Postal address
Box 700
40530 Göteborg

About Mikela Lundahl Hero

Areas of interest Although my research has covered a broad range of topics, I return to a number of central concepts which represent my primary intellectual interests, the most important being power and how it operates through categorisations such as race, gender, sexuality, class, identity and culture. Naturally, queer, gender, whiteness and postcolonial theory have been critical to my intellectual development and subsequent teaching methodologies. Since my scholarly training is in intellectual history, texts tend to play an important part in my projects. As well as history and historiography.

Current research

Since 2015 I am engaged in a civil society project: The futures of genders and sexualities. Cultural products, transnational spaces and emerging communities. We are studying emerging belonings in the intersections of gender, sexuality, religion and space, from a queer, postcolonial and transnational point of view. Between 2010-2015 much of my work focused on Critical Heritage Studies with a focus on heritagization of culture, and the consequences thereof. I led a project, Frictions, fractures and cultural resilience of Swahili coastal towns, funded by SIDA about how the UNESCO institution of World Heritage works performatively on urban development – on both a material, cultural and social level. The project aimed to study the recent history of nominations and inscription to the UNESCO World heritage that the Stone Town of Zanzibar and Bagamoyo has/are undergoing and its consequences. I have done research on how ethnographical museums across Europe have tackled (or not) the postcolonial challenge of the ethnographical/colonial paradigms on which they were founded. They hold collections formed within what are now considered to be redundant 19th century intellectual frameworks. No successful single policy solution has thus far been proposed. This reflects not only the failure of museums to adequately address their own often difficult histories but a wider contemporary uncertainty about how to deal with categories such as nation, race and people.

The research project that followed my PhD was Images and Imaginations: The History of Arabic, African and Latin American Literatures in Translation into Swedish (financed by the Swedish Research Council/Vetenskapsrådet), was devoted to Translation Studies, with a focus on how African literature was translated and received in Swedish language and culture. My focus was on the nexus between culture, literature, politics and benevolence, and how the literary system, when it concerns literature from “far away”, works differently in comparison to how it works when it comes to white/western literature.

My PhD thesis in History of Ideas (2005) was an investigation into how the attempted resistance of white supremacy (the French negritude movement from the 1930s onwards) was partly disempowered. In particular I reflected on the way in which this resistance was defined as local/particular, or even essentialist, in contrast to an imagined universal logic, by scholars such as Jean-Paul Sartre and James Clifford. To rethink the negritude movement, I used both queer and postcolonial theory. My thesis was published under the title: Vad är en neger? Negritude, strategi, essentialism, with some of the main arguments later published in an anthology devoted to studies of negritude: Negritude: Legacy and Present Relevance. My main teaching currently, apart from supervising, is in the undergraduate course Global Gender Studies.