Organising committee

Meet the organising committee of EXALT Initiative 2021 Conference.
Özlem Celik

Özlem Celik is a University Researcher at HELSUS and Development Studies at the University of Helsinki. Özlem's research concerns the political economy of urban development and change, including financialisation of housing, the role of the state in urban development, urban commoning practices and urban social movements. She is also one of the coordinators of Dislocating Urban Studies Initiative and co-founder and coordinator of IIPPE Urban and Regional Political Economy Working Group. Her latest publications are ‘Urban Neighbourhood Forums in Ankara as a Commoning Practice’ in Antipode (2021) and ‘AKP’s income-differentiated housing strategies under the pressure of resistance and debt’, in Turkey’s New State in the Making: Transformations in Legality, Economy, Ideology and Coercion (2020)

Christopher Chagnon

Christopher Chagnon is a Doctoral Candidate in Global Development Studies in the Doctoral Program in Political, Societal, and Regional Changes at the University of Helsinki. His research focuses on big data extractive systems in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as Africa-China engagement. Beyond his studies, he is on the board of the Finnish Society for Development Research, and is co-host of the EXALT Podcast.

Barry Gills

Barry Gills is Professor of Global Development Studies at the University of Helsinki, Editor in Chief of the journal Globalizations (Routledge), and Editor of the book series Rethinking Globalizations. He has written widely on international political economy, globalization, world system theory, South-South relations, the politics of resistance, transformative praxes, and most recently on economics and the climate change emergency. He is a founding member of EXALT, and of the Peoples Sovereignty Network, and a Fellow of the World Academy of Art and Science.

Sophia Hagolani-Al­bov

Sophia Hagolani-Albov is a PhD candidate in the Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies Doctoral Programme (DENVI) in affiliation with the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry and Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS) at the University of Helsinki. In addition to her doctoral work Sophia is the project coordinator for the Global Extractivisms and Alternatives Initiative (EXALT) at the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Helsinki. Sophia also co-hosts the EXALT Podcast, a monthly conversation with academics, artists, and activists.

Markus Kröger

Markus Kröger is an Associate Professor in Development Studies at the University of Helsinki and an Academy of Finland research fellow. He has written extensively on global natural resource politics, conflicts, and social resistance movements and the economic outcomes, especially in relation to iron ore mining and forestry. He is also an expert in political economy, development, and globalization in Latin America, India, and the Arctic. His most recent books are Iron Will – Global Extractivism and Mining Resistance in Brazil and India (2020, Open Access) and Studying Complex Interactions and Outcomes Through Qualitative Comparative Analysis: A Practical Guide to Comparative Case Studies and Ethnographic Data Analysis (2021). 

Maija Lassila

Maija Lassila is Phd candidate in the doctoral program of Political, societal and regional change, University of Helsinki. In her dissertation she focuses on alternative knowledge worlds and ontologies beyond extractivism, in relation to early stage mining projects in Finland's Lapland. In addition to Lapland she has conducted field work in French Polynesia and New Caledonia. Her latest work is an article called 'The Arctic mineral resource rush and the ontological struggle for the Viiankiaapa peatland in Sodankyla, Finland' in Globalizations (2020). 

Paola Minoia

Paola Minoia is a Senior Lecturer in Global Development Studies at the University of Helsinki, and an Associate Professor in Political and Economic Geography at the University of Turin. Her interests intersect the fields of political ecology, geography and development studies with a focus on territoriality, state- and minoritized groups relations, socio-environmental justice, eco-cultural knowledges, sustainability and decoloniality. She is the Principal Investigator in the project Ecocultural pluralism in the Ecuadorian Amazonia (funded by the Academy of Finland 2018-2022) and a WG leader in the EU/COST Network Decolonising Development: Research, Teaching and Practice (2020-2024). Her latest publications are 'Platform-mediated tourism: social justice and urban governance before and during Covid-19' in Journal of Sustainable Tourism (2021) and 'Corporate land grabs: colonial continuity and space of exception in Kenya' in Land Use Policy (2020).


Anja Nygren

Anja Nygren is Professor of Global Development Studies and Director of ‘Political, Societal and Regional Change’ (PSRC) Doctoral Programme at the University of Helsinki, Finland. She is a Steering Group Member of the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science (HELSUS) and Academic Affiliate of Helsinki Inequality Initiative (INEQ). Her research areas include hydrocarbon extraction, hydropower, green grabbing, resource frontiers, disasters and displacements, and political ecology and environmental justice. She has carried out long-term research on extractivisims, resource politics, environmental conflicts, environmental justice, and transformative movements in both in rural and urban areas in Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Costa Rica.

Franklin Obeng-Odoom

Franklin Obeng-Odoom is the Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science Associate Professor with Global Development Studies at the University of Helsinki in Finland and a Fellow of the Teachers' Academy. Obeng-Odoom's research and teaching interests are centred on the political economy of development, urban and regional economics, natural resources and the environment. He  is the Global South Editor of Housing Studies, has published six sole-authored books including Property, Institutions, and Social Stratification in Africa (Cambridge University Press, 2020), The Commons in an Age of Uncertainty: Decolonizing Nature, Economy, and Society (University of Toronto Press, 2021), and Global Migration Beyond Limits: Ecology, Economics, and Political Economy (Oxford University Press, 2022).

Eija Ranta

Eija Ranta is a university researcher of Global Development Studies at the University of Helsinki, where she leads an Academy of Finland funded research project Citizenship Utopias in the Global South (2019-2023). Her research interests include transformative alternatives to mainstream development, such as Buen Vivir, state formation, Indigenous activism, social movements, and civil society in Latin America and Africa. Her latest publications are 'Development: A Multidimensional Concept', in Research Handbook on Development and Democracy (2021) and '¿Es posible la democracia plurinacional en tiempos de desilusión?', in Ciencias sociales, imaginarios políticos y Estado Plurinacional (2020).

Janne Salovaara

Janne J. Salovaara is a Doctoral student of Sustainability Science at the University of Helsinki, Finland. His research tackles the disciplinary development and education and impact of sustainability science. He critically examines the transformation potential, aims and impacts of the global sustainability endeavours.

Teivo Teivainen

Teivo Teivainen is a Professor of World Politics at the University of Helsinki. His research ranges from global political economy to transnational social movements. Teivainen's areas of expertise include global political economy, human rights, transnational civic movements, global democracy and the contradiction of capitalism. He seeks to make his research available also for audiences beyond strictly academic circles. He gives frequent media interviews and public talks. Teivainen has been active in many professional associations, perhaps most intensely in International Studies Association where he formed part of its Governing Council and chaired its International Political Economy Section. 


Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen

Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen (PhD in Latin American Studies) is A​ssociate Professor of Indigenous Studies at the University of Helsinki. Virtanen is the co-editor of Indigenous Research Methodologies in Sámi and Global contexts (Brill, 2021, Open Access) and Creating Dialogues: Indigenous Perceptions and Changing Forms of Leadership in Amazonia (Colorado University Press, 2017). Virtanen is also board member of the Society for the Anthropology of Lowland South America. Her current research interests include long-term ​human-environment relationality in the Amazon, decolonization of the Anthropocene, and future imaginations. Her publications include numerous articles and edited volumes on Amazonian biocultural landscapes, Indigenous politics and leadership, mobility, and youthhood.