Alumni of the Month, February 2023

The February 2023 edition of the HCAS Alumni Gallery features Minna Huotilainen and Christine Daigle
Minna Huotilainen

Currently, I am professor of education at Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, working on my research at the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Music, Mind, Body and Brain, where we study music as a multimodal human experience and as a versatile engine of change, throughout the life span and in different contexts of learning. 

I was at HCAS in 2003-2006 and my project The learning child, the plastic brain was an important turning point in my career. For the first time, I attempted to combine neuroscience – the method and research field that I had used since the early 1990’s – to critical qualitative research in the field of social sciences, and to find application areas to my research in education. The collaborative and friendly atmosphere at HCAS made these efforts very successful and I was able to work with people who taught me a lot.  

After my time in HCAS, I have worked in several Finnish and foreign universities, at Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, and at Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study at Uppsala. Now back at University of Helsinki, I still remember with great warmth the community at HCAS – and nothing could keep me away from the HCAS book launch and Little Christmas events. 

Christine Daigle

I am a Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Posthumanism Research Institute at Brock University (St. Catharines, Canada). My area of expertise is in Continental philosophy (existentialism, phenomenology, and feminism) as well as environmental philosophy.

In the last few years, and as a continuation of my interest in questions about embodiment and ethical relations, my work has focused on critical posthumanism and material feminism. I have examined the notion of vulnerability, how to construe it from a posthumanist perspective that emphasizes material entanglements and articulated an affirmative ethics that fosters empathy and the embrace of our shared vulnerabilities between humans and nonhumans. This was the project for which I had applied to the Collegium and the fellowship allowed me to accomplish my goal of submitting a book proposal and drafting a first draft of the manuscript. My monograph, Posthumanist Vulnerability: An Affirmative Ethics, is in press at Bloomsbury with a spring 2023 release date.

In addition to developing this project, my tenure at HCAS allowed me to advance my research in the environmental posthumanities, resulting in publications and conference presentations, as well as designing my current research project which investigates cultural and philosophical representations of the Anthropocene and extinction. The time provided by the fellowship and the excellent support provided to researchers was instrumental in allowing me to not only accomplish my initial goals but to surpass them.