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Anna Backman Rogers - Professor specialising in Feminist Theory

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Her main interests lie in feminist philosophy, philosophy of film, and women’s cinema, and she has recently been promoted to Professor in Culture, Aesthetics and Media, specialising in Feminist Theory. At only 38 years of age and with a brilliant career already, Anna Backman Rogers now aims to open up MAI journal as a press.

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Anna Backman Rogers

Anna describes herself as an outspoken and engaged feminist, and this is clearly apparent in all her work. When asked what her research is about, the list just goes on. She is currently working on several books: one on Barbara Loden’s “Wanda” which will be published next year; and a book about the films of British filmmaker Lynne Ramsay, whose work she is reading from a psychoanalytic perspective.

“The latter is going to be an ambitious and big book so it’s likely this will be a project for a few years yet. The publisher, Berghahn, has already learned to be very patient with me, as my book on Sofia Coppola was turned in a couple of years later than the stipulated deadline,” Anna says.

A third book project about feminist visual cultures has unfortunately been halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic but she hopes to get back on track with it sometime in 2021 or 2022.

Anna Backman Rogers also was recently granted a Riksbanken Jubileumsfond (RJ) Sabbatical for the year 2021-22 and will be writing the British Film Institute Classics volume on Peter Weir’s ”Picnic at Hanging Rock” during this period.

“I will be doing a lot of research into the history and treatment of female hysteria because I think this is central to our understanding of the film,” Anna says.

I would be completely panic-stricken if I didn’t have a couple of projects always on the go

Anna has had a truly brilliant career to date. In 2011, she graduated with a PhD in Film Studies from the University of Edinburgh. She worked for a couple of years as Assistant Professor in Film at the University of Groningen, and from 2012 to 2014 she was a postdoctoral fellow in Film Studies at Stockholm University. Since 2014, she has held the position of Senior Lecturer in Feminism and Visual Culture at the University of Gothenburg and now, at the age of 38, she has been promoted to Professor.

What does this professorship mean to you?

“On the one hand, I feel as though I have been working towards this my entire adult life, but on the other hand it also feels like I am just getting started. Another scholar, Annie van den Oever, who is a professor and has been a great source of inspiration and support to me, once told me that she thought I could be a full professor by the time I reached 40. But at the time she said that, I thought it was a nonsense. But here I find myself, at age 38, wondering what I will do next with this new position.”

Anna emphasizes the importance to her in her career of the support given and the belief that other women in this profession have invested in her.

“I think it is so important to have more women working in academia and if I can in any way help to establish and promote the careers of other women, I will do so. I hope that early-career researchers can also see in my achievements what could be possible for them in this profession. I have been very fortunate to be sustained by a group of really close friends who also happen to be brilliant feminist scholars, and I honestly do not think I could have gotten through some of the decidedly bumpy territory, rife with precarity and personal difficulties, that has been my journey to this professorship without them,” Anna says.

Anna is looking forward to the coming years, planning to write more books and to further develop MAI - a journal she started in 2017. She also has plans to collaborate with a fantastic independent press so that she can start publishing full monographs on feminist visual cultures.

What are your plans for the future?

“I see myself carrying on as I have really: chipping away and working hard, so that many small, incremental acts may finally result in a shift in the way we see or read women’s works. I think that this is my main contribution to the field as a feminist scholar. To put it plainly, I write to shift intransigent paradigms and perspectives that are based on lazy patriarchal attitudes and sexist ways of thinking. I believe fundamentally that women’s perspectives and stories matter profoundly in this world.”

MAI journal

RJ Funding and Sabbatical to the Faculty of Humanities (news article in Swedish)

Text: Caroline Tengroth