As Professor in Educational Work my focus is on issues of values, gender and diversity. At present my research is focused on a) Ethics education in the compulsory Swedish school; b) Gender constructions in research on religious education; and c) Children sustainability and hope. Recently my book In search of human dignity. Essays in theology, ethics and education was published, with the main theme of human dignity when threatened by power relations. The book is published both by a European and a South Africanpublisher. What May be Learnt in Ethics? Varieties of Conceptions of Ethical Competence to be Taught in Compulsory School is a three-year research project funded by the Swedish Research Council, Educational committee. In this project I cooperate with colleagues at Gothenburg University. Project leader is Associate Professor Christina Osbeck and to the project group belong also Olof Franck, Annika Lilja, Annika Lindskog and Johan Tykesson. In another research project I study of the use of Gender theory in research on religious education 2000 – 2013, a project funded by Umeå School of Education. Thirdly, I have just begun exploring issues of Children, Sustainability and Hope wherein existential aspects of children's thinking are in focus. This study I undertake partly within the framework of the Environment for preschool research at Umeå University to which I give leadership.
In 2007 I concluded my part of the larger study Shared Values?, a project with support from the Swedish Research Council, the Educational Committee. In Att se med andra ögon. Feministiska perspektiv på kunskap i ett mångkulturellt samhälle (2007) [To see with different eyes/to see differently. Feminist perspectives on knowledge in a multicultural society] my work is summarised.
2009 I was the convener of the conference Changing Societies: Values, Religions and Education. Results from that conference are published in the book Values, Religions and Education in Changing Societies (2010) which I co-edited with my colleague Jan Mannberg. As ethics education, existential issues and discussion of values form part of the content of the Swedish school subject religionskunskap [knowledge of religions] I have connected to research networks of religious education, RE. I am a board member of Nationellt forum för religionsdidaktisk/pedagogisk forskning (NFR) a Swedish forum for RE research, as well as the international network ISREV, International Seminar of Religious Education and Values. Within ISREV I am chair of the Programme Committee with a particular responsibility for the academic programme of the bi-annual conferences. I am a board member also of the Postgraduate research school Religion, Values and Society (RVS).
Since 2000 I have been involved in student-, teacher- and research exchange between South Africa and Sweden within the areas of democracy, human rights and education. From 2000 until 2005 I was the project leader of two exchange projects funded by the Swedish Linnaeus Palme program. 2002 I organized a conference in South Africa, Humanity in a Global Era, supported by Sida, Sweden. In 2003 we published the report Building a Human Rights Culture. South African and Swedish Perspectives, which I co-edited together with the now late Professor H Russel Botman, University of Stellenbosch.
This particular exchange between researchers led me to a new one South-Africa – Sweden Systems to Systems Research Cooperation (2004-2007). In this research dialogue with a focus on the educational systems of our countries against the background of our respective societies and changes within them we produced two volumes, both published in 2007. My contributions within them respectively are: Human Dignity and Gender Equality. Reflections on Concepts and Ideals of Human Rights and Democracy in Sweden and South Africa (2007) and Values in Swedish Education – Struggles and Tensions over Directions concerning Democracy, Gender and Diversity. 2002 and 2004 I was a Visiting Professor at Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa. Since then I have returned regularly and given guest lectures both at Stellenbosch University and University of the Western Cape. In Sweden I was Visiting Professor in Religious Studies 2009-2011 at Karlstad University.
My supervision of PhD students have mainly been in the areas of values in education and other pedagogical issues. But, as my own PhD was in the field of Ethics, with a particular focus on feminist ethics I have also supervised PhD students with issues in that area. For one semester I also supervised two visiting South African PhD students with work within the field of Human Rights, and another PhD student I supervised wrote her PhD concerning Palestinian and Israeli women involved in work for peace and justice. My present PhD-students are found at Umeå and Gothenburg universities. Their projects are in the fields of Religious Education, Samí confirmation and Rooms and Pedagogy.
2009-2015 I have supervised a PhD student affiliated with GRESD, the Swedish Graduate School on Education and Sustainable Development, where I have also been a board member. The GRESD programme existed as a cooperation between eight Swedish universities. In 2012 the Umeå University group assumed responsibility for an international conference Transboundary learning beyond disciplines. Sustainable Development opening up research dialogues.
Speaking of cooperation with other universities I have been the opponent or member of evaluating committees of PhD work at the Swedish universities of Lund, Uppsala, Stockholm, Örebro and Karlstad. In Norway this is the case for Menighedsfakulteten, Oslo and Stavanger University. I have also evaluated theses at Antioch University, USA and University of Cape Town, South Africa. In courses for PhD students I have over the last few years worked with the research process and different stages of it. These courses have been in cooperation with the Post-graduate school for Educational sciences, Umeå University, as well as with the PhD programme of several Norwegian universities and university colleges, Religion, Values and Society, RVS. Research ethics are also among the themes I teach in PhD training. In post-graduate education I often lecture on professional ethics and teachers' responsibilities over against the existential issues of children.
Within the area of feminist ethics and feminist theology I have had research funding for different activities starting with my PhD-work (1995-1999). My PhD-thesis bore the title: Först när vi får ansikten – ett flerkulturellt samtal om feminism, etik och teologi (1999) [First when we have faces: A cross-cultural conversation on feminism, ethics and theology]. In August 2000 I arranged the conference Gender and Diversity – complexities and theoretical problems, with Professor Iris Marion Young, University of Chicago as key-note speaker. In relation to her visit to Sweden the book Att kasta tjejkast [Throwing like a girl] was launched.
One of my tasks is to lead research-seminars. Since 2007 I lead a seminar on gender and education with participants from three faculties of the university. With a start in autumn 2015 I also lead seminars at Umeå University with a focus on introducing senior researchers to educational research. This is an initiative by Umeå School of Education. In addition to research being done in our department in the Environment for Preschool Research we are a venue for preschool research at Umeå University – also by arranging research seminars for researchers and teaching staff. Among other tasks of mine is to serve as deputy member of a regional board for research ethics. A professorship in Educational Work with a focus on values, gender and diversity is possible to develop in different directions. My cooperation with South African colleagues since 1999 – 2000 has considerably influenced my work. Issues of education and democracy, human rights and gender but also post-colonial theory have brought impulses to my work. In my recent book In search of human dignity. Essays in theology, ethics and education this is manifested with a focus on human dignity – a matter to contemporary claim in education. Through PhD supervision and PhD courses my interest in and knowledge about the research process and its phases have been deepened.
The involvement in the PhD programme on education and sustainable development, GRESD, has together with my background in theology and religious studies, led to my interest in existential issues as expressed in the present study of Children, sustainability and hope.
Ongoing research projects
2015-2017 What May be Learnt in Ethics? Varieties of Conceptions of Ethical Competence to be Taught in Compulsory School. Cooperation with Gothenburg University. Project-leader: Associate Professor Christina Osbeck. Funder: Swedish Research Council, Educational Committee.
2014-2016 Gender theory in research on religious education 2000–2013.
Project-leader: Karin Sporre. Funder: Umeå School of Education, Umeå University.
2015 – 2018 Children, sustainability and hope.
Project-leader: Karin Sporre. Funded by Umeå universitet.
Board memberships (most recent and ongoing)
Un-published conference papers
Manuscripts under review
Listed above, beneath heading "Anställningar" (Swedish text)Close