Dosentti, yliopisto-opettaja Ilmonen Kaisa and working group (INTERACT)

306700 €

Intersectional Reading, Social Justice, and Literary Activism


Reading has become a major focus on contemporary discussions on social justice. Activism related to reading has had many forms recently (the Reading Hour movement, Amanda Gorman’s case of translating her inaugural poem, the Lukemo project in Finland). However, there is no academic research on Activist reading. In five sub-projects our aim is to create solid research-based methods for activist reading. The five sub-projects consider 1. Intersectionality as critical reading practice 2. Intersectional pedagogy and literary education 3. Intersectionality with/in Illness and Death: From small stories to communities of care 4. Intersectionality as a tool against discrimination and finally 5. Vegan readership: Intersectional connections and literary activism in narrative fiction. Our understanding activism concerns the sensitivity towards gradual, small changes. We emphasize the meaning of microactivism, long-term analysis and concentration on structural inequalities in order to “show the bigger picture”. We highlight our mode of activism as intimate activism developing through reading. We envision intersectional reading as a mode of intimate activism that uses language to analyze power, in order to increase democracy. As several scholars have pinpointed, intersectionality is both a theory and a mode of activism committed to social justice. In this project, we direct intersectionality’s potential in increasing social justice and educational democracy to the use of literary educators. Our focus is to create a) a methodology, and b) a pedagogy for intersectional reading practices for the purposes of intimate/close activism. Our project imagines a form of literary activism and social justice-oriented pedagogy needed in times of complex global systems of inequalities. In this project we will develop modes of reading, and tools for literary educators that can target young people's needs for slow, intimate activism.