With an interdisciplinary background and PhD (1995) from the department of Technology and Social Change, Linköping University, Sweden, I have held positions as professor and associate professor at Linköping University (1995-2009), Luleå University of Technology (2005-2011), and Karlstad University (2011-present). I have conducted research within the areas of gender and technology, masculinity studies, engineering studies, globalisation and higher education. I situate my work within the three fields of social anthropology, gender studies, and STS (Science and Technology Studies, in particular FTS, Feminist Technology Studies).
Current, future, and previous projects include;
on Globalisation, higher education, instructional technologies
1. Me and my colleague Per-Anders Forstorp at Linköping University are currently working on the project “Globalized eduscapes: students, learning and mobility in knowledge society” funded by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet) 2010-2013. We are here investigating transnational scapes and flows of higher education in relation to a critical understanding of “knowledge society”. In this project, we introduce the notion of eduscapes as the major analytical concept. Eduscapes are flows but also the places constituting nodes of knowledge centres and peripheries that shift over time but are connected through modern ICTs and different epistemic-, ethnic-, and learning communities. We are giving this concept momentum in regard to three types of material; 1. The rhetoric of global trading in knowledge society by an example of a prospected branch campus establishment in Pakistan by the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology; and, 2. Global spatial practices and social imaginaries of a number of interviewed non-Swedish master- and PhD-students and lecturers within S & T at three Swedish universities (LiU, KTH, LTU); 3. International student fairs in the Middle East and South Asia.
2. We (Me and Forstorp) are just about to start a new project on "Incorporated Learning: Global Corporate universities in Dubai, India, and Brazil". This project will be conducted between 2014-2018 and is funded by the Swedish Research Council.
3. "Pedagogy and instructional technologies". In this project we investigated different forms of instructional technologies such as learning objects and distance learning both within contemporary forms as well as within a historical perspective. This project was funded by the Swedish Research Council (2004-2009).
4. "Transforming the Northern future through student exchange? Building of a research network on internationalization of education". In this project we are together with our Norwegian and Russian colleagues at the universities of Archangelsk and Bodø looking into questions around student mobility, globalisation and nationalism in the High North (Barents region). This project is funded by the Norwegian Research Council 2012-2016.
All these projects relate to a general research interest of mine, which is the political economy of the transforming global research landscape, characterized by increased competition for funding and research excellence as well as a shift in research priorities from research for peers to research for economic growth.
on gender, technology, masculinity, engineering studies
With a firm commitment to empirically and ethnographically grounded work I have worked and intend to continue to document and analyse ways of gendering professions and knowledge production in Science and Technology. In line with a long tradition in STS and FTS I have focussed on the cultural and social situatedness of knowledge production from a broad anthropological perspective. This means that I have and hope to continue to develop studies and comparative analyses of research communities, technical professions and other related knowledge production communities. With a point of departure in my own investigations, emphasising the cultural embeddedness of gender, science and technology relations, I have and would like to further develop a global comparative perspective on the cultural variations of Science and knowledge production in branches like computer science and mechanical engineering. As much of contemporary STS, including FTS, still operates with a solid Anglo-American oriented framework I believe that, for example, new and emerging academic hubs in the changing political economy of knowledge production, such as Singapore, Dubai, Bangalore, would prove to be interesting sites to investigate how knowledge production is stratified in new and possibly unexpected ways. My own research findings from computer science being a female dominated field in Malaysia indicate that there are new analytical openings to be explored in gender and technology studies by extending our research efforts to a global comparative perspective on local forms of knowledge production in Science and Engineering. This also goes hand in hand with an intersectional perspective opening up for diversity and differentiation in STS/FTS by also showing that the doing of gender can be structured by many seemingly non-gendered structures.
Previous projects here include:
1. "Men and their machines, technology and masculinity, crosscultural comparisons between Sweden and Malaysia" (1999-2003) Funded by the Swedish Research Council (FRN).
2. The intersection of gender, race, and cultural boundaries or why is computer science in Malaysia dominated by women?” (Funded by Learn-IT 2003-2005).
3, and my PhD-work "Engineering lives: Technology, time,a and space in a male-centred world." (1995)
on Gender, risk, and security
A slightly different but yet related area of research that I have been part of developing is gender equality and mainstreaming processes within the Swedish rescue services. In the beginning of 2010 the two gender departments of gender and technology studies at LTU and tema G at LiU together with SCORE (Stockholm Center of Organisational Research) at Stockholm University were granted a major research grant by the Swedish Contingency Civil Services (MSB, Myndigheten för Samhällsskydd och Beredskap) for the period of 2010-2013 (now also including the Centre for Gender Studies at KaU). Our group (GRO, Gender, Rescue, Organisation), that were selected as one out of thirteen, consists of four post docs and one PhD-student, and conduct five different projects focusing education and socialization, gender and technology issues, and gender mainstreaming policies and actions within the Swedish rescue services. We are in this project performing interactive research with the explicit aim of creating change in a highly gender imbalanced organization. This project has opened up a window to new possibilities for interactive gender studies in the under-researched area of gender, technology, risk and security, as well as building a long-term relationship with a major organization and funding body such as MSB. There are good reasons to believe that this engagement with MSB also will be fruitful in terms of future funding. As I am also a member of MSBs scientific board, I do foresee that a lot of interesting gender research could be developed in the area of gender, technology, risk and security. This is a truly under developed research field and there are many possibilities to pioneer studies in gender, technology, risk, and security, which could be linked to ongoing research on risk, security, and crisis management.
In my present (and previous ones) I teach doctoral courses in gender studies, gender, science, and technology studies, masculinity studies, and ethnographic methodology. I have given the doctoral courses “Medicine, Science, and Technology” and “Gender and Technology as a research area” I-II on a regular basis. In addition I have also given the course “Metodkurs, kvalitativa metoder med inriktning mot etnografiska och interaktiva metoder” together with professor Ewa Gunnarsson, LTU. The division for gender and technology studies at LTU was also a member of the InterGender (IG) Research School of Interdisciplinary Gender Studies, headed by tema Genus, LiU. Within IG I have planned and given the doctoral course “Ethnographies of gendered mobility” together with professor Sharon Traweek (UCLA) and Dr. Ulrika Dahl, Södertörn University College. I have also given the course “Gender, Technology, and Organisation” within the national Research School for Human Work Sciences. At the moment I am planning the course “Globalisation and Higher Education” together with associate professor Per-Anders Forstorp. I would also wish to further develop methodological streams and fully integrated methodology curricula for the graduate students at Kau. I believe methodological questions should be an integrated part of the entire period of doctoral studies.
Until 2013 I have supervised four PhD-students to doctoral degrees; Francis Lee (091218) (LiU), Jennie Olofsson (101210) (LTU), Caroline Wamala (101209) (LTU), and Maria Toro-Troconis (111216) (Imperial College and LTU). I'm currently supervising Magdalena Raivio at Karlstad University (Expected to defend her thesis in Febr. 2014). In my role as supervisor I put much emphasis on a close and regular communication with the PhD-Students. We normally meet once or twice each month and plan the whole PhD-period by following the individual study plan, which we upgrade every six months. I do believe it is important to professionalise PhD-supervision in a similar manner that has been done within IG-courses for supervisors, i.e., to share experiences on the different processes involved in writing a PhD-thesis and be aware of and be prepared for the range of various psycho-social situations that can occur during a long process of knowledge production. I have in my role as a professor and scientific leader of the section of gender and technology studies at LTU gained an experience that to some degree only can be learned through facing a number of different situations in the everyday life of academia. As a supervisor I have for instance learned that there is a high certainty that at least one ‘break-down’ will happen in some part of the PhD supervising process. Among other things, a certain preparedness for ‘crisis management’ helps very much in supervision and generally in the role as scientific leader and head of department.
I have since the late 1980's taught undergraduate and master courses in gender studies, anthropology, STS, and technology and gender courses at different engineering faculties.
Since 2001, I have been most active in the national and Nordic research politics of gender studies. Currently, I am on the scientific board of MSB and on the board of the gender studies program of the Norwegian Research Council. I have recently also been a member of the government delegation for gender equality in higher education as well as on the scientific board of the WHIST-project. Previously I have been chair (2006-2009) and member of the board (2003-2006) of the National secretariat for gender research at Göteborg University as well as having served on the committee for gender studies at the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet). It is by drawing from these experiences that I regard the topics of interdisciplinarity, transfaculty, transuniversity, national, Nordic and international cooperation as the key to institutional stability and successful research milieus.
Mellström, Ulf (2002) ”Patriarchal machines and masculine embodiment”, Science, Technology & Human Values, Vol. 27 No. 4, autumn 2002, 460-478.
Mellström, Ulf (2004) ”Machines and masculine subjectivity, technology as an integral part of men’s life experiences”, Men and Masculinities, (eds.) Faulkner, W & Lohan M, Special Issue: Masculinities and Technology, volume 6, Number 4, April 2004, 368-383.
Toro-Troconis, M., Mellström, U., Partridge, M., Meeran, K., Barrett, M., Higham, J. (2008). ”Designing game-based learning activities for virtual patients in Second Life”. Journal of Cyber Therapy & Rehabilitation. Volume 1 issue 3, 225-239.
Mellström, Ulf (2009) ”The intersection of gender, race, and cultural boundaries or why is computer science in Malaysia dominated by women?” Social Studies of Science 39/6, 885–907.
Toro-Troconis, Maria and Ulf Mellström, (2010) “Game-based learning in Second Life. Does Gender Make a Difference?” in Journal of Gaming and Virtual Worlds, Vol 1, nr 2:53-76.
Holth, Line and Ulf Mellström (2011) ”Revisiting Engineering, Masculinity and Technology Studies: Old Structures with New Openings” International Journal of Gender, Science, and Technology, Vol 3, Nr 2, 313-329.
Mellström, Ulf (2012). “Changing affective economies of masculine machineries and military masculinities? From Ernst Jünger to Shannen Rossmiller.” Masculinties and Social Change, 2(1), 422. doi: 10.4471/MCS.2013.01
Forstorp, Per-Anders & Ulf Mellström (2013) ”Eduscapes: Interpreting Transnational Flows of Higher Education” Globalisation, Societies, and Education, vol 11, nr 2, 1-24, DOI: 10.1080/14767724.2013.807039
Nordic and Swedish journals
Mellström, Ulf (2006) ”Gränsöverskridandets praktik och ömsesidighetens mandat i etnografiska fältarbeten”, Utbildning och Demokrati, nr 2:129-147.
Mellström, Ulf (2006) ”Nytt faderskap i skärningspunkten mellan produktion och reproduktion? Män och fäder i högteknologiska yrken”, i Socialvetenskaplig tidskrift årg. 13 nr 2 114-129.
Mellström, Ulf (2006) ”Time for reconsideration: An interview with Raewyn Connell” i Nordic Journal for Masculinity Studies, Nr 2, volym 1:109-121.
Mellström, Ulf (2009) ”Patriarchy, violence and African male powerlessness: An interview with Robert Morrell on gender relations in South Africa” i Nordic Journal for Masculinity Studies, Nr 2, volym 4:119-131.
Mellström, Ulf (2012) ”Kunskapssamhällets gästarbetare – Internationella studenter i interferenser mellan kön, sexualitet, nationalitet och klass i globaliserade utbildningslandsskap”, Tidskrift för genusvetenskap, nr 1-2, 49-68.
Mellström, Ulf (1995): ”Engineering Lives, Technology, Time and Space in a Male-Centred World”, Linköping Studies in Art and Science, nr 128, 1995.
Mellström, Ulf (1999) ”Män och deras maskiner” i FRNs bokserie ”Forskningens frontlinjer”, Nya Doxa, September 1999.
Mellström, Ulf (2003) ”Masculinity, Power and Technology: A Malaysian Ethnography”, Aldershot UK: Ashgate.”