Ebba Witt-Brattström
Humanist of the day

Ebba Witt-Brattström

Ebba Witt-Brattström’s scholarly passion is literary history. For her it is encapsulated by the library, which contains all kinds of human experiences in millions of different forms. According to Professor Witt-Brattström, the problem is that women have often been deprecated in the literary world. In her research she strives to redress the balance, to present literary gender dialogues throughout the ages. There is never a dull moment.

Ebba Witt-Brattström

Ebba Marcelle Witt-Brattström
Born June 1, 1953, Stockholm

PhD 1988 (literature), Stockholm University
Docent in literature 1995, Stockholm University

Professor of Scandinavian Literature 2012–, University of Helsinki
Dag Hammarskjöld Professor, Department of Northern European Studies, Humboldt University of Berlin
Visiting Professor 2002, Dep. of Scandinavian Studies, University College London
Professor of literature (specialised in gender studies) 2000–12, Södertörn University
Lecturer and head of literature 1998, Södertörn University
Erasmus-Dozent, Deutsches Seminar 1995, University of Zurich
Erasmus Docent, Oud-Germanistik 1993, University of Groningen
Research associate in literature 1992–98, Stockholm University
Project researcher 1989–92, Stockholm University

Member of the executive committee of the internet version of the Nordic Women's Literary History project 2013–14
Member of the Swedish government committee for the promotion of school equality 2010–11

Director of the research project Den Nya kvinnan mellan två sekelskiften (‘The new woman at the turn of two centuries’) 2002–05, Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, Södertörn University

Member of the Board of the Royal Institute of Technology 1998–03, Stockholm
Member of the Nordic Council Literature Prize committee 1991–99
Member of the editorial board of the journal Kvinnovetenskaplig tidskrift
Member of the editorial board of The History of Nordic Women's Literature I–V 1982–2000, editor-in-chief of the Swedish language editions of parts II–III

Research themes
The canon and gender, literary historiography, the breakthrough of modernism, decadence, 1930s Swedish proletarian modernism, modernist lyrical poetry, 1970s as a literary era, literary gender dialogues. Moa Martinson, Edith Södergran, Victoria Benedictsson, Pyhä Birgitta, Ola Hansson, Laura Marholm and August Strindberg. Psychoanalytic literary research, gender studies.

Publications, research projects and other academic activity

Awards and honours
Björn Nilsson Prize 2016, Expressen
Elin Wägner Prize 2015
Ivar Lo-Johansson Prize 2014
Lars Salvius Prize 2010, Swedish Writers’ Union
Örjan Lindberger Prize 2006
Helge Ax:son stiftelse Foundation Prize 2005
Samfundet De Nio essay prize 2004
Moa Prize 2001, Swedish Workers' Educational Association
Nominee of Stockholm University’s Faculty of History and Philosophy for the Swedish Government’s young researcher scholarship award. 1993

Photo: Marie Klingspor Rotstein
Written by Ebba Witt-Brattström (Tomas Sjöblom ed.)
Translated by Matthew Billington

Ebba Witt-Brattström was the first female professor at Södertörn University in Sweden. It was therefore fitting that the professorship was in literature with a focus on gender issues. Since 2012, Witt-Brattström has been Professor of Scandinavian Literature at the University of Helsinki.

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I have never forgotten my inauguration as Professor of Scandinavian Literature. It took place on January 30, 2012, during a blizzard. My family was stuck at Stockholm Arlanda Airport dressed in their finest (I have four sons), and they did not make it to the ceremony, as all the flights were cancelled.

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I dream of an end to a world that is only semi-civilised, semi-cultured. As a professor of literature, I am talking about the way the cultural achievements of men are systematically magnified at the expense of equally interesting work done by women. I want to work to remedy this situation, that is, to take both sides of our cultural heritage into account.

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