Current Fellows
Read more about the current fellows and their research topics
Anton Kotenko, Kone Foundation Fellow

Research interests:

  • Historical geography
  • History of animals
  • Empires, nationalism and science in the long nineteenth century

Current research

National territorialisation of Ukraine, 1860–1921

 

Although at the beginning of the 21st century one finds numerous maps of Ukraine clearly showing its borders, a century ago the situation was quite the reverse: instead of a resolute certainty about its location one would experience doubt, hesitation, confrontation and scepticism. Ukraine? What is it? Where is it?
Which territories belong to it? Do the same people live there? Do they speak the same language, profess the same faith and live according to the same customs? Finally, are they the same nation? In 1913 there was no consensus as to how to answer these doubts.
Keeping in mind an importance of space for nationalism, in this project I approach the history Ukrainian national movement of the second half of the 19th – beginning of the 20th centuries. By scrutinising the process of Ukrainian nationalisation of space under the Romanov and Habsburg empires, in this book I argue that Ukraine, as any other nation, was imagined and constructed even in its seemingly most solid and down-to-earth dimension, which is territorial. Treating this construction process as a research problem, this project investigates how at the end of the 19th – beginning of the 20th centuries vast, disjoined and divergent territories of the Romanov and Habsburg empires were turned into one coherent Ukrainian national space and the territorial concept of modern Ukraine appeared.

Short bio

Anton Kotenko is research fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced studies. He defended his thesis under the title of “The Ukrainian project in search of national space, 1861–1914” at Central European University in Budapest in 2014, and studies history of East European modernity in the second half of the nineteenth century. His current research project deals with the history of zoological gardens in the Russian empire.

Mark Aitken, Kone Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in the Arts

Research Interests

  • Empathy and trauma 
  • Climate change, indigenous peoples 
  • The ineffable in nature and our relations with it 

Current research

The Presence of Absence: Trauma, empathy and Sámi knowledge in the age of Arctic exploitation

The context of research is the warming Arctic vulnerable to neo-colonial exploitation and the relevance of Sámi knowledge of landscape and the ineffable in nature. ‘The Presence of Absence’ will research empathetic responses to trauma in the context of climate change. As new migrants arrive to exploit resources, an alternative migration informed by collaboration with Sámi is proposed for artistic research and art production. The aim is to empathetically feel - rather than merely gain knowledge about – the trauma of the climate crisis. Arts outputs will include film, photography, texts and audio and establishing an AI knowledge base from research outcomes.

Short bio

Following a decade of documentary film and photographic practice, I consolidated my work and methodologies in a PhD by Publication, 'Emotional Truths in Documentary Making'. Themes of trauma relating to loss of home, family and community are common to all my works. A developed practice of empathy to foster trust and collaboration with subjects is central to my work ethic. I'm currently engaged in arts practice and research associated with trauma and the climate crisis and relationships with the ineffable in nature. I'm accessing new technologies that include AI, virtual and augmented realities to enable my practice.

Adrian Blau, Core Fel­low

Research in­terests

  • Democratic theory and practice
  • Rationality and irrationality
  • Post-truth politics
  • Corruption
  • History of political thought
  • Methodology of political theory
  • Philosophy of social science

Current research

Thought Experiments in Political Theory and Philosophy: A New Methodology

Thought experiments have a long history, e.g. Plato’s cave, More’s utopia, or Hobbes’s state of nature. Thought experiments are now extremely widespread in political theory and philosophy. Imagine a sports star who people pay to watch. Is it unjust if the sports star ends up richer than everyone else in the society? Or consider J.S. Mill’s example of someone crossing a bridge that might collapse. Does stopping this person restrict their liberty? Thought experiments are powerful tools which can help us analyse important moral and political problems, and can even help us test and refine our definitions. However, we still lack a full methodology of thought experiments. I propose to offer such a methodology, partly by looking to the natural sciences and especially the social sciences, where people have developed very useful tools for controlling and comparing variables – the essence of a good thought experiment. My project thus tries to bring the sciences and humanities closer together – a controversial goal, and an important one!

Short bio

Adrian is Professor of Politics in the Department of Political Economy at King's College London. He did his PhD in Oxford on normative aspects of electoral systems, and still works on democratic theory and practice. He has published several pieces on Hobbes’s political theory, and is writing a book called 'Hobbes’s Failed Science of Politics and Ethics'. Cross-cutting much of the above is a focus on rationality and irrationality, including the work of Jürgen Habermas. He has also published 10 articles and chapters on the methodology of history of political thought, and edited the first ever textbook on political theory methods: Methods in Analytical Political Theory (CUP, 2017).

Thomas Cardwell, Kone Found­a­tion Postdoc­toral Fel­low in the Arts

Research in­terests

  • Contemporary and historic painting 
  • Clothing in subcultures
  • Visual aspects of heavy metal culture

Current research

On Patches and Paintings: The Heavy Metal Battle Jacket as Mnemosyne Atlas

‘Battle jackets’ are customized garments worn in heavy metal subcultures that feature decorative patches, studs and other embellishments, and are a key mode of expression for metal fans. Helsinki is significant in the heritage and evolution of global heavy metal and also in the development of battle jacket traditions. 

This project combines methodologies of painting practice, ethnographic research and academic writing to investigate parallels between battle jackets and Aby Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas, using each as a lens or method through which to reinterpret the other. The Mnemosyne Atlas (1927-1929) was an unfinished series of interconnected image maps that attempted to show how symbols and images from antiquity re-emerge in later contexts.

A series of paintings will creatively explore overlaps between battle jackets and the Mnemosyne Atlas. An accompanying text will examine these connections through academic writing, making reference to the fields of art history and theory, metal studies and ethnography.

This project emphasizes interdisciplinary art and academic practice to gain unique contemporary perspectives on the relationship between heavy metal subcultures in Helsinki, DIY making practices and art historical tradition. It questions hierarchies of culture and tests the boundaries of these disparate visual spheres.

Short bio

Tom Cardwell is an artist and researcher based in London, UK. His PhD thesis (2017) employed painting practice and ethnography to examine the customised jackets made by heavy metal fans. His research interests include contemporary and historic painting, subcultural symbolism and expressions of personal narrative and identity in popular image traditions. Tom’s book Heavy Metal Armour (Intellect, 2022) brings together his battle jacket paintings and academic research to offer an interdisciplinary study of jacket making in metal subcultures. He is Senior Lecturer in Painting at Camberwell, University of the Arts London.

Char­lotte Ep­stein, Core Fel­low

Research in­terests

  • IR and political theory
  • The role of language in politics
  • Critical security studies
  • Global environmental politics
  • Surveillance
  • Postcolonial studies

Current research

Decolonizing Political Action

My project explores the nature of postcolonial agency through a comparative analysis of the modes of doing political action of four exemplary figures who are positioned very differently within the space of postcoloniality: 

  • Ho Chi Minh, the anti-colonial revolutionary communist fighter turned statesman who founded modern Vietnam;
  • Aimé Césaire, the French parliamentarian, mayor of Fort-de-France and founder of the négritude movement, whose conception of decolonization was to remain within and transform the structures of the French Republic, rather than break with it.
  • Frantz Fanon, the French résistant who took the opposite position. Fanon diagnosed the pathologies of colonialism and joined the Algerian war of independence against France;
  • Dr Wangarī Maathai, the Kenyan women's rights and environmental activist and the Nobel peace prize recipient who stood up against the predatory practices of an authoritarian postcolonial state.

Short bio

French-Kenyan born and currently living in Australia and in Denmark, I read philosophy, English literature and history at l'université de Paris-Sorbonne. I also have a masters degree in philosophy from l'université de Paris-Sorbonne and another in international relations from Cambridge University, where I also wrote my PhD. I have published in a wide range of journals in International relations and in political theory, including: European Journal of International Relations, International Organization, Raisons Politiques, Global Environmental Politics, Body and Society, International Political Sociology, Security Dialogue and Political Theory. My latest book is entitled: 'Birth of the State: the Place of the Body in Crafting Modern Politics' (Oxford: Oxford University Press)

Kristin Ferebee, Core Fel­low

Research in­terests

  • Environmental Humanities
  • Postcolonial Studies
  • Human Rights
  • Arctic Studies
  • Posthumanism

Current research

Frontier of Unsettlement: New Organizations of Human-Nonhuman Nature in the Arctic Anthropocene

My project reads Western, Soviet, and indigenous media and literary narratives of the circumpolar Arctic in the Anthropocene (specifically post-1988, a date that corresponds to the start of the "climate change era"). Broadly situated within the practice of eco-deconstruction, but also drawing on the human geography work of Michael Curry, the project seeks to understand how the Arctic "becomes a place" in and through narrative. My conceptual lens views the Anthropocene and modern/contemporary human rights as closely-entwined byproducts of larger shifts in subjectivity and meaning, building on my concept of the "hypersubject" and the way that the hypersubject redistributes and obscures formations of subjectivity in the Anthropocene. I am particularly interested in the way that hydrocarbon resources and industries are comparatively narrativized in Western, Soviet, and indigenous texts. I suggest that these resources are one of several features that render the Arctic both highly attractive in terms of narrative and highly problematic in terms of its ability to appear as a legible place in the Anthropocene.

Short bio

I hold a PhD in English from The Ohio State University, where my dissertation examined Anthropocene narratives of contamination. I was previously a researcher with the Narrating the Mesh (NARMESH) Project in the Department of Literary Studies at Ghent University. From 2019-2020, I worked in Kabul at the American University of Afghanistan. My research broadly focuses on how narratives construct and police normative categories of human and nonhuman, and on liminal cases that challenge these categorizations. I also has a strong interest in questions of human and nonhuman migration— an interest that stems from my ongoing work with Afghan refugees.

Kateryna Golovina, Core Fel­low

Research in­terests

  • Fertility behaviour
  • Intergenerational transmission
  • Early family environment (parent-child relationship, socioeconomic status, and psychosocial environment)
  • Psychosocial determinants of physical and mental health
  • Heterogeneity of depression

Current research

Psychosocial Factors Driving Fertility Decline in Finland and Other Nordic Countries

In my project, I focus on the role of fertility intentions in the recent fertility decline in the Nordic countries and explore them from psychological and demographic perspectives. In the last ten years, there has been a steep decline in the total fertility rates in the Nordic countries, with Finland exhibiting a particularly pronounced decline. The explanations for this decline are hotly debated but poorly understood. By using survey data from the Nordic countries, I investigate whether the actual fertility trends in the Nordic countries are anticipated by changes in fertility intentions. I also study how different psychosocial factors (such as values and attitudes; subjective well-being; early family environment; social networks) influence fertility intentions, and especially why people hesitate about having a first child. To understand why Finland exhibits the strongest fertility fall among the Nordic countries, I will compare psychosocial factors and fertility intentions in these countries.

Short bio

I am a research psychologist working in the fields of health psychology, family psychology, public health, mental health, and fertility. My PhD in Psychology (Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, 2017) was devoted to the transmission of  psychosocial factors such as parent-child relationship and socioeconomic position across generations and their relation to offspring health. As a postdoc, I investigated the role of psychosocial factors in pupils’ symptoms in Finnish schools with indoor air problems (2018-2019) and heterogeneity of depression (since 2020). Currently, I am interested in the role of psychosocial factors in fertility behaviour in Finland and Europe.

Sean Griffin, Core Fel­low

Research in­terests

  • Russia
  • Ukraine
  • Cultural Memory
  • Eastern Orthodox Christianity
  • Literature and Cinema
  • Medieval History
  • Byzantium
  • Textual Criticism

Current research

The Second Baptism of Rus: Cultural Memory After Communism

This project investigates the memory politics of the contemporary Russian Orthodox Church. It documents the complex relations between the Kremlin and the Moscow Patriarchate and uncovers their collaborative efforts to transform cultural memory in Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, in the three decades since the disintegration of the USSR. Mikhail Zadornov once described Russia as ‘a great country with an unpredictable past’. The study explores the development of these unpredictable pasts in the post-Soviet period and shows how they are being cultivated in an attempt to legitimize the contemporary Russian political order. "The Second Baptism of Rus" is currently under advanced contract with the "Religion and Conflict Series" at Cornell University Press.

Short bio

Sean Griffin is an interdisciplinary scholar of Russia and Ukraine. His research focuses primarily on the history of the Orthodox Church and its role in the making of cultural memory: from the liturgy and chronicles of medieval Kyiv, to the blockbuster films and digital propaganda of modern Moscow.  Before coming to Finland, Griffin was a postdoctoral fellow in the Society of Fellows at Dartmouth College, as well as a VolkswagenStiftung fellow in Münster, Germany. In 2021-2022, his research in Helsinki will be funded by grants from the Gerda Henkel Stiftung and the American Council of Learned Societies/Luce Foundation.

Maria Khachaturyan, Core Fel­low

Research in­terests

  • multilingualism
  • language change
  • language and culture contact
  • conversion to Christianity
  • language socialization
  • language description and documentation

Current research

Bilingualism at home and in church:  a holistic study of language contact in social contexts

Language contact and multilingualism have been driving language change throughout the human history. A common outcome of multilingualism is transfer of linguistic features from one language to another in the speech of multilingual individuals. Yet how exactly transferred features become, or don’t become, a monolingual language norm remains poorly understood. A study of a multilingual West-African ecology proposed in my project, with Mano and Kpelle languages at its core, aims at filling this gap by looking at language contact through a dual lens: a close ethnographic study of the social context of contact and an analysis of its various linguistic consequences. I develop a methodologically innovative holistic program combining an investigation of individual and language-level processes, synchrony and diachrony, ethnography, corpus study and experiment.

Short bio

I am an interdisciplinary researcher studying at the intersection of anthropology, sociolinguistics, and structural linguistics. My research is underpinned by extensive fieldwork and focuses on cross-linguistic and cross-cultural comparison; my current project explores language contact between the under-studied Mano and Kpelle languages in West Africa in their social context. I initially trained as a linguist, but quickly expanded my area of expertize into sociology and anthropology as well. I received my PhD at Inalco, Paris in 2015 and spent three following years as a postdoc in the Department of Anthropology, UC Berkeley. I came to Helsinki in 2017 and until 2020 was a member of the Helsinki University Humanities Program.

Katja Kujanpää, Core Fel­low

Research in­terests

  • Early Christian writers (1st-2nd c.)
  • Textual authority
  • Social identity in antiquity

Current research

Scriptural Authority and the Construction of Early Christian Identities

My project at the Collegium examines the use of authoritative texts in early Christian processes of identity construction. The objectives are 1) to produce new knowledge of the ways in which early Christian writers used authoritative texts when shaping the group identity of their audience, 2) to develop concepts and models for analysing the authority of texts, and 3) to demonstrate the connections between power, identity and scriptural argumentation. The results will provide significant new perspectives by combining the use of authoritative texts with identity construction and develop models for analysing textual authority. At the same time, they may also help to understand the identity building processes of our own time. To examine the interplay between using authoritative tradition, shaping the identity of one’s audience, and wielding power through texts, the project combines close textual study, study of rhetoric, and social psychological theories. The source texts are early Christian writings from the 1st and 2nd centuries CE and include Pauline letters, Hebrews, James and 1 Peter, 1 and 2 Clement, the Epistle of Barnabas, and Justin Martyr’s works.

Short bio

Dr Katja Kujanpää is a Finnish biblical scholar focusing on Early Christian authors of the first and second centuries. She is interested in applying interdisciplinary approaches (e.g. social psychological theories, quotation studies) to the study of ancient texts. Her doctoral dissertation The Rhetorical Functions of Scriptural Quotations in Romans was published in Brill’s Supplements to Novum Testamentum (2019), and her recent articles examine the relationship between using authoritative texts and forming a robust group identity. After her doctorate at the University of Helsinki (2018), she has made research visits to Oxford University and Australian Catholic University.

Charles Kurth, Core Fel­low

Research in­terests

  • Ethics
  • Emotion theory
  • Moral psychology
  • Philosophy of mind
  • Agency and moral development

Current research

Taming the Passions: Emotion Cultivation and the Development of Moral Agency

Emotions are central to how we understand ourselves and the world around us. But their mercurial nature also means that they can distort our thinking and frustrate our pursuit of our goals. So what can we do to shape our emotions for the better, and how might an answer to this question improve our understanding of moral agency and its development? My book project advances a broadly Kantian answer to these questions. Drawing on insights from Kant’s moral psychology, emotion science, and contemporary feminist scholars, I argue that moral development should aim to cultivate distinctive forms of emotional self-awareness and self-control. The resulting account not only challenges prominent contemporary proposals grounded in the work of Aristotle and the Stoics, but it also has revisionary implications for our understanding of emotions and their value. For instance, it suggests that seemingly morally dubious emotions like disgust, anxiety, and shame can actually be deeply morally valuable—they are responses that we want to encourage, not shun.

Short bio

I am a philosopher whose work focuses on issues in ethical theory, moral psychology, and the philosophy of emotion. I see research in these areas as being productively informed by empirical inquiry in the cognitive and social sciences. Recently, I’ve been thinking about the role that emotions play in shaping moral thought and agency. My work has appeared in academic journals including Ethics, Philosophy of Science, Emotion Review, and Mind & Language as well as non-academic venues like The Washington Post, Scientific American, and Aeon. I have also published two books: Emotion (Routledge 2022) and The Anxious Mind (MIT 2018).

Sergei Medvedev, Kone Found­a­tion Fel­low

Research in­terests

  • Political History
  • Memory Politics
  • Biopolitics
  • Russian State and Society

Current research

FROM MEMORY WAR TO HOT WAR. Geopolitics of Nostalgia in Russia’s War in Ukraine

The research seeks to understand the reasons behind Russia's war in Ukraine in 2022, which has reshaped the European and global security landscape, putting Russia in isolation, and nullifying thirty years of social and economic transformation. To understand this rupture, the research looks into the identity politics in Russia, including politics of history, memory and nostalgia. 

In the past ten years, aggressive memory politics has been a key component in building an authoritarian regime in Russia. The state propaganda has used Soviet nostalgia and post-imperial ressentiment to construct a history narrative stressing Russia’s greatness and military victories. At the center of this new mythology is the Victory Day. 9th of May has become a quasi-religion, a secular Easter, with a complete set of rituals – mass processions called “The Immortal Regiment”, a Victory Temple built in 2020 outside Moscow, and proliferation of WW2 symbols: millions of cars in Russia carry a sticker on the rear window which reads “1941-1945. We can repeat it”. In 2022, when Russia started war in Ukraine under the fictitious pretext of its “de-Nazification”– a memory war has turned into a classical war.

Short bio

Sergei MEDVEDEV is Professor at the Free University in Moscow and at Charles University in Prague. Born in Moscow, he studied at the Moscow University, Columbia University in New York City, and holds a Ph.D. in history. In the past 25 years, he has held research positions and professorships in Russia, Germany, Italy and Finland. He specializes in political history, memory politics and cultural studies. 

Among Dr. Medvedev’s books are: Mapping European Security After Kosovo (Manchester, 2002), Identity Politics in Wider Europe (Berlin, 2012) and prize-winning Return of the Russian Leviathan (Cambridge, Polity Press, 2020).

Lilian O'Brien, Core Fel­low

Research in­terests

  • Philosophy of action
  • Mental causation
  • Metaphysics of persons and personal identity
  • Theories of understanding

Current research

The Committed Mind

Recent social psychological research has led some psychologists and philosophers to conclude that the conscious mind is quite insignificant in shaping our behaviour. Beliefs, desires, or intentions that are consciously held by us are deemed largely irrelevant to generating even those behaviours of ours that we regard as intentional, deliberate. On this view, much or most of our behaviour results from unconscious processes.  And yet we seem to be able to consciously devise and execute intricate and well-thought-out plans. And our conscious thought seems to allow us to plan and engage in shared intentional behaviours together with others.  This research project – The Committed Mind – explores the hypothesis that scepticism about the role of the conscious mind does not take adequate account of the nature and causal role of commitment in the lives of neurotypical adult humans. The main aim is to develop a new philosophical theory of the nature of commitment. This theory will allow us to re-evaluate radical skepticism about the role of conscious thought in shaping our behaviour.

Short bio

Lilian O’Brien works in contemporary analytic philosophy of action. She received her PhD in philosophy from Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, and a B.A. and M.A. from University College Cork. She has taught at Vassar College, The College of William and Mary, University College Cork, and the University of Helsinki.

Danila Raskov, Kone Foundation Fellow

Research in­terests

  • Early Modern Political Economy
  • Cameralism
  • Police state and reform
  • Economics and Religion
  • Utopian economic thinking
  • Economic Culture

Current research

Cameralist Turn in the Northern Europe: the Birth of Police State and Political Economy

The project is aimed at studying cameralism as a system of thoughts and the practice of governance. For a long time Kameralwissenschaften were in the shadow of mercantilism although their importance for both understanding the formation of institutions of the modern state and the beginning of political economy was crucial. This is especially true for Northern Europe: not only for Germanies and Austria, but also for Sweden and Russia of the eighteenth century. The project will reassess the dissemination and emulation of modern practices of governance and the administrative thinking. The study will focus on the translations of cameralist texts, mostly of J.H.G. von Justi, and will show to what extent we could regard the most famous enlighteners of eighteenth-century Russia (for instance, Alexander Radishchev) as cameralists. The project is intended to help tracing the formation of a certain state despotism machine and to put the cameralist texts and thinking in a broader context of political economy, Enlightenment, absolutism. natural law, baroque and gouvernementalité.

Short bio

Danila Raskov holds a PhD in Economics, he published the book “The Economic Institutions of Old Believers” (St Petersburg University Press, 2012) based on his PhD topic. His main research interests are the development of early political economy, the history of economic institutions, religion and economic issues. In St. Petersburg University, he heads the Center for the Study of Economic Culture (2011-2022) and also serves as Acting Dean of the Faculty of Liberal Arts and Sciences (2020-2022). He was a researcher in Walras and Pareto Center, University of Lausanne (2012, 2017), Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, Helsinki University (2015) and in Lichtenberg-Kolleg, Göttingen University (2018). He has been serving on the Council of the European Society for the History of Economic Thought (since 2018).

Walter Rech, Core Fel­low

Research in­terests

  • International law
  • History of legal and political thought

Current research

Targeted Killing and International Law, 1600–1800

The state-sponsored targeted killing of terrorists and external or internal enemies is a key component of contemporary warfare and political strategy. While neutralizing enemies through individual targeting may appear to be a suitable tool for countering terrorist entities and avoiding large-scale military operations, there are concerns regarding the compliance of this practice with international human rights, the laws of war and domestic laws. This project contributes to a better understanding of the present situation by investigating the history of state-sponsored assassinations and targeted killing in early-modern times, in particular in the period 1600–1800, when lawyers and government officials developed a set of core arguments on the matter. The project addresses the legal, political and ethical issues at stake in targeted killing and why it is important to rethink this practice today.

Short bio

Walter works at the intersection of international law, history and philosophy, and his research focuses on issues of war and security. He is especially interested in the interaction between legal and political languages, structures and actors, for instance in how legal vocabularies restrain or allow specific forms of conflict and thereby legitimize or delegitimize certain political players. Among Walter’s publications is the monograph Enemies of Mankind: Vattel’s Theory of Collective Security, Brill 2013. Walter has previously worked as a project coordinator and postdoctoral researcher at the Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights after earning his PhD from the University of Melbourne. He has work experience in regulatory agencies and financial services.

Wasiq Silan, Core Fel­low

Research in­terests

  • Social policy and Indigenous Peoples
  • Health, wellbeing and care 
  • Decolonizing research methodologies

Current research

Care in Relationships: Re-centering Indigenous Older Women's Voices

My project is an interdisciplinary research proposition based on international collaboration that is acutely needed in the ageing world. It is a resistance against the ubiquity that ageing is a "silver tsunami" and a mere functional impairment. It invites us to envision aging as a progressive enrichment through engaging Indigenous Elders. This project aims to expand the conceptualization of what is commonly understood as aging and care for Indigenous Elders. It examines how Indigenous older women understand the meaning of care in the context of relationships in two Indigenous territories, namely Finland and Taiwan.  

This study has two objectives. First, it aims to cultivate a more robust recognition of Indigenous rights in Finland and Taiwan. The two cases provide a better understanding of the contemporary state-Indigenous relationship through care. The second objective is linked to theory-building at the intersection of indigeneity and gender. This planned research challenges the common conception of aging by focusing on Indigenous women's experience of care and enhances an alternative discourse that enables the Indigenous older women to be the subjects of the knowledge it creates rather than the objects.

Short bio

I am Wasiq Silan (I-An Gao, 高怡安), a Tayal woman from the Mstaranan known as Nanshi river valley in the northern region of Taiwan. I work as a postdoctoral researcher at the Swedish School of Social Sciences at the University of Helsinki (2019-2022). I am part of the formal delegation to the United Nations Permanent Forum. My research interests and experience are in developing sustainable quality-of-life care systems, decolonizing state-Indigenous relationships and collaborative and community-based approaches. I have published in ‘Facets’, ‘AlterNative’, ‘Dutkansearvvi dieđalaš áigečála’, ‘Gerontologia’, ‘Global Qualitative Nursing Research’ and ‘Journal of Gerontological Social Work’.

Cris Shore, Core Fellow

Research in­terests

  • political and legal anthropology
  • anthropology of policy and organisations
  • European integration
  • neoliberal governance
  • corruption
  • the modern State
  • Higher Education reform and university futures
  • market making and New Public Management
  • Audit culture and capitalism

Current research

Metricised Management, Market-Making and University Futures

This research combines research on performance measurement, ‘audit culture’ and higher education reform to develop a new framework for thinking about universities in the global knowledge economy. Faced with increasing risks, uncertainty and financial constraints, universities are under mounting pressure to meet government targets, satisfy student demands and reorganise themselves to deliver the graduates, skills and knowledge needed for the 21st Century. Yet with rising student debt and concerns about employability and ‘value for money’, the benefits of university expansion are being questioned. In response, many universities are introducing cost-saving measures, restructuring plans and income-generating initiatives to commercialize their assets. Others are turning to professional accountancy firms for solutions. This project examines these processes and their effects by studying public universities at the forefront of experiments to develop new management models, methods and metrics to solve these challenges. Closely connected to this is the growing influence of professional consultancy firms on university finances and governance. As architects and beneficiaries of these reforms, what role are these consultants playing in ‘unbundling’ and privatising public universities and promoting what I call ‘audit capitalism’? My project aims to provide insights into the effects of these processes on academic subjectivities and the new higher education landscapes they are creating.

Short bio

Cris Shore is Professor of Social Anthropology at Goldsmiths University of London. His research lies at the interface of anthropology, politics, law, higher education and organisational studies and uses ethnographic perspectives to examine questions of power, governance and social change. His current project explores the rise of audit culture, academic capitalism and university futures. His books include Building Europe: The Cultural Politics of European Integration, Corruption: Anthropological Perspective, Policy Worlds: Anthropology and the Analysis of Contemporary Power, and The Shapeshifting Crown. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and the British Academy of Social Sciences.

Mona Siddiqui, Jane and Aatos Erkko Visiting Professor

Research in­terests

  • Classical Islamic law and ethics
  • Christian-Muslim relations

Current research

Faith and Fidelity in Islamic Thought

This book explores challenging and pertinent subjects in contemporary Islam, based on a close reading of select primary classical and secondary texts. Topics such as marasim al-dafn (burial/graves rituals), rukhsa (concession/alleviation) and ihdad (mourning period for a widow) show the creative sensibilities of the medieval jurists. Here, Mona Siddiqui examines the discussion of these topics in classical texts to determine to what extent they have retained conceptual and practical relevance as well as a legal problematic throughout history. Each chapter begins with a brief contemporary personal reflection, to show the topic’s current relevance. It then explores how jurists debated the topic, how they disagreed and where they reached some sort of consensus. There will follow two theological chapters which will be more reflective in style. The first will look at the concepts of sirr (secret/secrecy) and alkhafa’ (hiddenness) and the second will explore wafa/wala (fidelity) and loyalty in the Qur’an and wider Islamic thought.

Short bio

Mona Siddiqui, OBE, is Professor of Islamic and Interreligious Studies and Assistant Principal at the University of Edinburgh. Her research lies in the field of Islamic law and ethics and Christian-Muslim relations. Her monographs include Human Struggle: Christian and Muslim Perspectives, and The Good Muslim: Reflections on Classical Islamic Law and Theology. Her current international projects explore Gratitude and Loyalty in Christian and Islamic thought. She is well known internationally as a public intellectual and BBC broadcaster. She is a Fellow of the Royal society of Edinburgh, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and honorary member and first speaker of the Royal Scottish Academy.

Anna Sokolova, Kone Found­a­tion Fel­low

Research in­terests

  • Soviet history
  • Karelia
  • Environmental history
  • Materiality
  • Oral history
  • Memory
  • Death and funeral culture

Current research

On the Edge of Socialism: State Institutes and Everyday Life on the Late Soviet Periphery

In my research I reconstruct the detailed mechanics of how Soviet project and Soviet modernity were implemented during the afterwar period in the newly developed regions on the periphery of USSR. The aim of my research is to analyze how the resource dependent practices of the late Soviet modernity accompanied with the rise of new materiality led to the emergence of distinct lifestyle patterns as well as authority dis-courses, and to what extent they are reproduced in contemporary Russia. I address to the following questions: What actually were the practices of late Soviet modernity, understood through new material culture and State approaches to livable spaces? How did these practices and resource-based development affect day-to-day lifestyles and patterns of authority discourses in late USSR? Are there any causal ties between these structures of everyday life and state policies, and authority discourses and worldview of various communities in contemporary Russia?

Short bio

Anna Sokolova is a scholar of Soviet history, who works on the intersection of history and anthropology. Her previous research was related to Soviet death and funeral culture, including the monograph “A new death for a new man? Funeral culture in early Soviet Union” (2021, in Russian). Her current project tends to reveal everyday life in timber production worker’s settlement of late Soviet Karelia.

Merja Stenroos, Core Fel­low

Research in­terests

  • Historical dialectology, sociolinguistics and pragmatics 
  • Medieval and Early Modern English language 
  • Early English administrative texts and their historical context
  • Language contact and multilingualism 
  • Historical literacy and text production

Current research

Micro-patterns as a method for reconstructing linguistic pasts

The linguistic and cultural movements that lie behind known historical populations have been studied through place-names, archaeology and, more recently, genetics. This project explores another possible type of evidence: that of linguistic micro-patterns. When language changes, older forms remaining as minor dialectal variants may be remarkably long-lived. Such forms often show highly stable geographical patterns through time, providing linguistic ‘fingerprints’ that may allow the reconstruction of much earlier states of language.

This project seeks to identify micro-patterns in historical text materials from the North of England. This area was historically an extremely multilingual and multicultural one, with Celtic, Scandinavian and English speakers coexisting through centuries. As a starting point, the project makes use of a corpus of late medieval documents (MELD) from known locations, showing much dialectal variation and representing a point in time long before the mobility of the Industrial Age. Seeking to uncover patterns of contact and settlement, the project explores the general stability of dialect patterns, as well as the importance of low-frequency forms as carriers of cultural identity over centuries, even millennia.

Short bio

I studied English and Celtic at the University of Glasgow, and have since 1998 worked at the University of Stavanger, Norway, where I am Professor of English Linguistics. For most of this time I have led a research team studying variation in late medieval English. We have produced two major text corpora, most recently A Corpus of Middle English Local Documents (MELD); a book exploring the corpus, Records of Real People: Linguistic Variation in Middle English Local Documents was published in 2020.  I have also led interdisciplinary research groups in North Sea Language History and Linguistic Identities.

Tero Toivanen, Core Fel­low

Research in­terests

  • Political economy of climate change
  • Environmental history of capitalism
  • Political economy of sustainability transformations
  • Far-right environmentalism

Current research

The Climate of the Far Right – Ideological and Materialist Articulations of Environmentalism in the Finnish and European Far Right

In my project, I study the role of the far right in the current climate and environmental crisis. I research the way the far right shapes its political and ideological agenda in a rapidly warming world where societies need to make unprecedented socio-ecological changes to mitigate global heating. To understand the current and future development of the “far-right environmentalism” in more depth, I will examine the Finnish far-right's understanding of nature, ecology, energy, and industrial organisation of nature in a longer historical perspective. I pay particular attention to the national and international crisis periods in which economic and ideological as well as environmental perceptions of political movements often face rapid reassessment. Furthermore, I analyse the differences and similarities between the environmental conceptions of the Finnish far right and the wider European far-right movement. My project contributes to the understanding of a topical and controversial tradition of environmental thinking as well as its future direction.

Short bio

My initial training is in economic, social and environmental history. I am interested in the study of past and present socio-ecological transformations and environmental history of capitalism. I seek to understand social and economic conflicts and contradictions related to the environment at both the world-system and local levels. In recent years, I have turned more deeply to multidisciplinary environmental studies and researched such topics as political economy of sustainability transformations, low-carbon industrial transition, political ecology of Finnish forestry and political resistance to climate mitigation. I am an original member of the interdisciplinary BIOS Research Unit (established in 2015) and editor-in-chief of the critical and multidisciplinary journal Tiede & edistys (Science & Progress).

Svet­lana Vetch­in­nikova, Core Fel­low

Research in­terests

  • Second language use
  • English as a lingua franca
  • Chunking and multi-word units
  • Individual variation
  • Complex systems

Current research

Language at the individual level: a radical usage-based approach

The language of an individual has seldom, if ever, been the primary focus of research attention. Despite the advent of the usage-based paradigm, which sees language as emergent from usage, and variationist sociolinguistics, which pays heed to the diversity of human experience, we are still for the most part interested in the ‘average man’. Using corpus linguistic and behavioural speech processing data, this research project strives to find out to which extent different individuals infer different regularities from their language experience.

Short bio

Svetlana Vetchinnikova obtained her PhD in English Philology from the University of Helsinki in 2014. Since then, she worked in research projects on variation and change in English and on chunking in speech processing (PI: Prof. Anna Mauranen). More recently she was employed as a university lecturer in English Linguistics at the Department of Languages. She is author of Phraseology and the Advanced Language Learner (2019, Cambridge) and co-editor of Changing English (2017, De Gruyter) and Language Change: The Impact of English as a Lingua Franca (2020, Cambridge).

Liubov Vetoshkina, Core Fel­low

Research in­terests

  • Cultural-historical Activity Theory 
  • Transformation of Work 
  • Academic Work 
  • Learning and Work 
  • Ethnography

Current research

Capturing transformation of academic work with digital materiality

The project is a study of  the digitalization-related transformation of academic work. The COVID-19 pandemic indeed forced universities to take a digital leap, but it only accelerated the ongoing digital revolution in the Western academia. Ubiquity of digital technologies brings changes to how relatively traditional academic work activities are organized by introducing new types of digital materiality into academic practices. The project will draw on longitudinal ethnographic data from two contexts – research universities and universities of applied sciences. One of the project objectives is to develop and apply of the method of hybrid ethnography to follow transformations of digitalized academic work. The broader industrialization and managerialization of academia manifested in the emergence of academic work. Understanding the significance of digitalization in this transformation is crucial for the future of academic work in particular and knowledge-based society in general.

Short bio

I obtained a PhD in Adult Education in 2018 and since then I worked as a postdoctoral researcher and a university lecturer at the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki. My key research interest is the role of objects and technologies in work activities, communities, and networks. 
I am working within a framework of Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT). In my research I utilize qualitative research methods with a specific focus on ethnography for studying transformation of work. I have participated in projects on studying collaborative work and learning in various contexts, such as craft and artisan work, digital printing, design, and construction.

Mariëlle Wijermars, Core Fellow

 

Research in­terests

  • Platform governance
  • Internet Policy
  • Political Communication
  • Media and Internet Freedom
  • Digital Authoritarianism
  • Russian Politics

Current research

The Platformisation of Authoritarian Control in Russia

Authoritarian states, such as China, have used digital technologies to strengthen their regimes, for example through surveillance systems, online propaganda and censorship. There has been a surge in research demonstrating the variety of strategies autocracies use to increase their control over the digital sphere, and formulating reasons why autocrats choose to (not) restrict digital freedoms. Yet, scholarship on digital authoritarianism has largely overlooked one key element: the concentration of power in increasingly integrated digital infrastructures and the transnational dependencies this has given rise to. I argue that this vertical and horizontal integration of digital services and infrastructures, a process known as “platformisation”, has introduced novel challenges and constraints; especially for states who, unlike China, are not digitally autonomous. For example, why do some authoritarian and illiberal states succeed in pressuring foreign social media to censor online content, while others do not? Drawing upon recent scholarship in Media and Communication Studies, my project aims to reconceptualise how we understand the relationship between authoritarian regimes and digital technologies. It subsequently applies its theoretical framework to selected case studies from Russia.

Short bio

I am fascinated by how information circulates in societies and seek to understand how (authoritarian) governments try to shape and control the dissemination of information. My research agenda is interdisciplinary and draws upon, among others, Political Communication, Media Studies, International Relations and Critical Internet Studies. I received my PhD (2016) from the University of Groningen and have previously worked at Maastricht University, the University of Helsinki, and the University of Amsterdam. I am author of Memory Politics in Contemporary Russia (Routledge, 2019) and co-editor of The Palgrave Handbook of Digital Russia Studies (2021).

Nina Öhman, Core Fellow

Research interests:

  • Women’s roles in music cultures
  • Voice and vocal performance
  • African American gospel music
  • Economic ethnomusicology, music and capitalism
  • American popular music
  • Community engagement and collaborative research methods

Current research

Audible Subversion: African American women singers and gospel vocal expression

 

To stream chart-topping songs over the Internet or to listen soul classics played in coffee shops is to hear sonic imprints of many African American women singers who have fashioned gospel vocal idiom and fostered its cross-over to secular music since the mid-20th century. Yet at the same time, firmly rooted in the longstanding, and often subversive religious culture of the Black Church, gospel vocal expression has become a major element in the audible history of the African American quest for social justice.

It is against this background that my project focuses on gospel music as women-led music and explores the work of many African American women singers whose ideas and creative visions are set to music. Specifically, my project seeks to understand how gospel singers have forged vocal expression as a subversive medium of value. In practice, through ethnography and historical research on leading and local gospel singers in the United States, my project seeks to elucidate values, meanings, and practices surrounding gospel singing in the marketplace. Essentially, my work builds upon literature on music and capitalism, gospel music scholarship and popular music studies centering Black women’s experiences in music. I also draw upon anthropological theories of value and exchange. Altogether, by proceeding from the intersect of gender, race, and religion, my project seeks to direct serious attention to the power of singing voice within capitalism.

Short bio

I am a musicologist/ethnomusicologist studying women’s roles in music cultures, the singing voice, and American popular music. While situated broadly in musicology my work incorporates varied branches of knowledge including, inter alia, economic ethnomusicology, gender studies, postcolonial studies, religious studies, anthropology, and sociology. In parallel, I am interested in academically-based community engagement and collaborative research methods. Recently I have worked as a University Lecturer in Musicology at the Department of Philosophy, History and Arts, University of Helsinki. I completed my doctoral degree at the University of Pennsylvania. I also have a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Maryland, College Park. I am currently a board member of the Finnish American Studies Association (FASA) and the vice-chair of the Finnish Society for Ethnomusicology (SES).

Maria Konoshenko, Kone Foundation Fellow

Research interests:

  • Tone and intonation
  • Prosody-grammar interface
  • Language change
  • Multilingualism
  • Global languages
  • Language and singing
  • West African languages

Current research

Patterns of multilingualism in Guinean pop music

Popular songs are a multidimensional channel of communication allowing musicians to exploit their multiple identities. Apart from the musical tools, choosing a language of the song, or switching between the languages, is a statement on its own, and it is loaded with complex cultural and social signals. 

The central goal of the project is to explore how modern African singers, who tend to speak different languages, choose languages when composing and performing their songs. 

The focus of the project is on Guinea, a multilingual West African country, where around 40 local languages are spoken, but the only official language is French, and English is also gaining popularity among younger urban population.
The main questions of the study are: (a) How are individual languages represented on Guinean popular stage? (b) How do specific singers use their multilingual repertoires in their songs? 

Understanding the basic patterns of multilingualism employed in Guinean pop music will shed light on how musicians choose between the urges of expressing themselves and being understood by the listeners, i.e. local and more global audience.

Short bio

Coming soon

Vlada Baranova, Kone Foundation Fellow

Research interests:

  • Minority
  • Languages 
  • Revitalization
  • Kalmyk
  • Chuvash
  • Migration
  • Language activism

Current research

Language activism, education and revitalization of minority languages in Russia

The current project focuses on grassroots language revitalization initiatives in the Russian Federation and considers the collective and individual efforts of language activists in education. It aims at analyzing how networks of (semi)-formal institutions and efforts of individual actors can interact with policymakers and how activist projects supplement, or even substitute, official language planning in education in a minority language. Analyzing and comparing data on different grassroots linguistic projects, the study intends to show how the efforts of different actors can contribute to possible transformations in domineering language ideology.

Short bio

Vlada Baranova graduated from St. Petersburg State University, and European University at St. Petersburg (sociolinguistics), PhD in anthropology (2007). She worked as an Associate Professor at the High School of Economics Campus in St. Petersburg and resigned in 2022. Her research interests are in the fields of multilingualism, language revitalization, and language documentation.

Anu Realo, Kone Foundation Fellow

Research interests:

  • Personality
  • Subjective well-being
  • Trust and social capital
  • Cross-cultural differences

Current research

Personal Responsibility and Interpersonal Trust in Uncertain Times

The willingness to trust others, even total strangers, has been argued to be the glue that holds societies together and allows them to thrive and prosper. Higher levels of interpersonal trust have been associated with many desirable outcomes not only for societies and but also for individuals, including better health and wellbeing. The World is getting richer, and yet the levels of trust are now at their lowest since being recorded with less than 30 percent of people globally saying that “most people can be trusted.” The decline in interpersonal trust has been explained by increased feelings of insecurity and uncertainty evoked by the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent economic recession. Human insecurity, in its turn, is thought to lead to political polarization and extremism, and therefore, is a clear threat to the social cohesion of societies. However, interpersonal trust is also related to individualism, and most significantly to personal responsibility — the concept that prominently re-entered both scientific and public discourse during the pandemic. It’s been argued that personal responsibility, which embodies the sense of being a causally effective agent, is a prerequisite for being a good citizen and establishing trusting social relationships with others. My research at HCAS will examine the meaning and role of personal responsibility in relation to trust and insecurity both at the individual level and cross-nationally.

Short bio

Anu Realo (PhD in Psychology) is a personality and cross-cultural psychologist. She is Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Warwick, the United Kingdom, and a Visiting Professor at the University of Tartu, Estonia. She is Past President of the European Association for Personality Psychology and a member of the Estonian Academy of Sciences and the Academia Europaea. Her research focuses on cultural and individual variation in personality traits, subjective well-being, values, and social capital; she has collaborated widely with researchers from across a range of disciplines and cultures. She is the Principal Investigator for the World Values Survey (WVS) in Estonia and a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the WVS. She is active in public engagement work on topics relating to her research; her work has been extensively covered and cited by national and international news media. In 2016, she was awarded the Order of the White Star (IV Class) by the President of Estonia.