The department of Cultural Sciences hosts ph.d. programs in the following disciplines: Art History and Visual Studies, Cultural Studies, Ethnology, Film Studies, Gender Studies and Musicology. Each discipline has their own traditions and identities in terms of their doctoral education, but a common feature in all of them is that they have developed in tandem with national and international research fields.
Art History and Visual Studies
Art History and Visual Studies brings together researchers and teaching staff who combine critical thinking, education, expert historical knowledge and analytical competence across a broad artistic front.
The research environment comprises a dynamic group of academics with leading knowledge in the fields of art history, contemporary art, architecture, design, photography, fashion and scenography. By uniting classic art history education with interdisciplinary perspectives, our research complements and challenges previous historical and theoretical frameworks. Our inclusive research environment and pedagogical excellence pave the way for dialogue with the artistic field and wider society. We value the discipline’s historical position, diversity and interdisciplinary nature, which provides for a constructive partnership with other academic fields of research, both nationally and internationally. Based on collegiality, integrity and collaboration, the research environment is defined by opportunities to learn from each other and by the joint efforts that lead to new research.
Together, the research staff create a dynamic and inclusive research and study environment that links together research and education. All the staff regularly present their research at national and international conferences, organise workshops and seminars, and collaborate with museums, universities and other actors in the field of art.
Cultural Studies brings together researchers and teaching staff with a background in humanities and social science disciplines, who work within a critical cultural studies tradition.
Cultural Studies is an interdisciplinary tradition that uses culture as a lens through which to understand and analyse social change, with a focus on power, ideology and economics. Our research environment attracts researchers with an interest in urban change processes, precarious work, transparency and democracy. As an interdisciplinary environment, we have a great deal of contact with other disciplines, in addition to those at the Department, including sociology, cultural geography, linguistics and history of ideas. The different subject backgrounds create a dynamic environment in which researchers can converge around the critical intellectual tradition from which Cultural Studies has grown internationally – a tradition that ever since the Frankfurt School and the Birmingham School has united researchers via a collection of questions about contemporary life.
As a research environment, we also have an outward focus, working in collaboration with cultural institutions, organisations, associations and movements to create a dynamic conversation with wider society. We regularly invite international researchers to visit us for stays short and long. Everyone together creates an inclusive research and study environment that connects both research and education with the University’s outreach work.
Ethnology is the study of how people understand and organise their lives and the contexts of which they are part, based on their specific social, economic and cultural circumstances. The main focus within ethnology is on gaining a greater understanding of why people do what they do. The core questions within this discipline include: What experiences and values lie behind the concrete, observable behaviours of different individuals or groups? What role do differences in life conditions, gender, generation or other social categorisations play in this context? To what extent and in which ways is everyday life affected by prevailing power structures and social norms? Ethnology scrutinises and discusses cultural phenomena, often in the light of historical and social processes of change and development.
Ethnological research spans a broad spectrum of topics. Examples of the phenomena studied include life stories, cultural heritage, working life, gender constructs, generational differences, different lifestyles in urban and rural environments, recreational habits, popular culture, youth cultures, material phenomena and consumption.
The ethnological focus in Gothenburg sets itself apart with its interest in life stories, working life, consumption and youth culture.
The discipline of Film Studies at the University of Gothenburg is rooted in a pluralistic, international and interdisciplinary research and study environment.
The research environment is based on collegiality, integrity and collaboration, both within the discipline and Department, and in partnership with other initiatives at the University. The researchers themselves represent and combine a broad spectrum of perspectives, from critical studies of historical, technical, economic and/or organisational aspects of the production, distribution and reception of fictional and documentary film, TV and digital media, to feminist, queer, post-cinematic and decolonial perspectives on theories of audiovisual culture. Studies examine minority and activist film cultures as well as mainstream culture, independent films, horror films, youth cultures, advertising, propaganda and documentaries.
Doctoral students become part of the Film Studies team, contributing to the continuous development of the discipline. This collegial approach gives the doctoral students an opportunity to develop into independent, critical and reflective film scholars, with a capacity to drive forward the development of theoretical and methodological perspectives and participate in national and international networks (e.g. by regularly presenting their research at national and international conferences, organising workshops and seminars, and through other collaborations within and outside the academic world). All doctoral students are offered a chance to teach and perform administrative duties during their studies.
The discipline of Gender Studies at the University of Gothenburg is rooted in an expansive, international and interdisciplinary research and study environment. Doctoral students become part of the Gender Studies team, contributing to the continuous development of the discipline and the Unit for Gender Studies. All the research staff start from the same point, approaching the field of research with a critical eye, whether the questions relate to feminist theory, political subjectivity, organisation and resistance in a neoliberal, postcolonial and global age, to norms concerning age, gender, disability and sexuality, or to feminist knowledge production. The unit’s researchers explore issues at the absolute heart of the social debate and develop knowledge that provides insights into complex phenomena. We constantly take part in debates and knowledge development, for example on trans issues, gender equality policy, health and social care and reproductive rights, or on the importance of digital technologies for transnational social movements.
The unit’s researchers give the doctoral students an opportunity to develop into independent, critical and reflective gender researchers in their own right, with a capacity to drive forward the development of theoretical perspectives, methodologies and ethical approaches. The unit is a member of the international research school InterGender and the unit’s doctoral students naturally have access to both international and national networks.
Musicology at the University of Gothenburg provides a distinctly interdisciplinary forum where music history, aesthetics of music, ethnomusicology and culturally focused music research come together and enrich each other. The study environment for doctoral students is shaped to a large degree by the multidisciplinary structure of the Department, where Musicology constitutes one of six research disciplines (the others being Ethnology, Art History and Visual Studies, Film Studies, Gender Studies and Cultural Studies). This environment is further characterised by the supervisors’ varied research interests and orientations, as well as the various types of seminar that the Department offers. Added to this are also various national and international networks, centres of excellence and other forms of collaboration across disciplinary and institutional boundaries, with which the Department and its supervisors are involved.