Alumni of the Month, March 2024

This month we feature Suvi Salmenniemi and Margrit Shildrick as the HCAS Alumni of the Month!
Suvi Salmenniemi

I am Professor of Sociology at the University of Turku. I had a pleasure to work as a post-doctoral fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies during 2009-2012. I remember the Collegium as an intellectually stimulating and friendly environment that had a decisive impact on my intellectual development and career. During my term in the Collegium, I organized, together with Dr Donna McCormack, an international symposium “Rethinking the Self” in 2012, which resulted in a special issue “The biopolitics of precarity and the self” published in European Journal of Cultural Studies in 2016.

My areas of interest include political sociology, feminist research, therapeutic culture, utopian thought, critical social theory and ethnographic research methods. My current work deals with everyday utopias and political imagination, and the changing conceptions and practices of work in sustainability transformation. I currently run two research projects as PI: Political imagination and Alternative Futures, funded by the Research Council of Finland (2020-2024), and Towards Post-Fossil Working Life: Ecologically and Socially Sustainable Work in the Age of Sustainability Transformation, funded by the Finnish Work Environment Fund (2023-2024). My recent publications include Affect, Alienation and Politics in Therapeutic Culture: Capitalism on the Skin and Assembling Therapeutics. Cultures, Politics and Materiality.

Margrit Shildrick

I am currently Guest Professor in Gender Studies at Stockholm University, although as a (bio)philosopher that’s perhaps a little misleading. My research work has usually centred on embodiment and has become increasingly posthumanist in its major concerns with a strong emphasis on exploring things at a molecular and/or technological level.

Let me sing the praises of HCAS where I held an Erik Allardt fellowship in 2019. It was a great delight to work alongside so many other scholars pursuing very different disciplinary interests and yet to find that the constant flow of ideas stimulated my own research and opened up new directions. With everyone freed from the usual academic burdens, it was truly a campus of blue-skies thinking. During that period I further developed and integrated some strands of research that I had been working on, and the following year wrote everything up as a monograph. That book, Visceral Prostheses: Somatechnics and Posthuman Embodiment (Bloomsbury 2022) is now available Open Access.

For the last 3 years I have also held a KONE grant together with Alexandra Urakova (whom I met at HCAS). We are rethinking the notion of the gift – she from a literary background, while I am exploring gift-giving within the body, not least the roles of viruses and bacteria.