You may find here the list of our Current HCAS Fellows A-N and short descriptions of their research projects. On the page Current HCAS Fellows O-Z you can find information about the rest of the fellows.
Current HCAS Fellows, A-N
- Structuralism and narratology
- World-systems theory
- 'World literature'
- Utopian imaginary
Alternative Communities: Irrealist Tropes and the Collective Imaginary on the Literary Semi-Periphery of Europe
My research focuses on the emerging field of world-literature (understood in world-systemic terms) and explores imaginaries of social organisation and collective action in literatures on the European peripheries. This and other (semi-)peripheral regions of the world-system formerly part of the so-called Second Worldare usually glossed over in the popular analytical oppositions of Western/postcolonial or North/South. However, their comparative examination in world-literary terms and outside the usual confines of area studies can nuance the existing theories of literary history and cultural analysis and perhaps even show how these literatures productively intervene into the current crisis of political imagination. Two guiding aims of my research are, first, to give an analysis of the semi-peripheral collective imaginary, as it is captured, for example, in post-1990 Ukrainian, Belarusian, Hungarian and Estonian literary production; second, with this analysis to contribute to the on-going search for new Utopias and, more prosaically, to a rethinking of the scope and direction of literary and cultural theories.
I work in the field of language, literature and culture. Since my Ph.D. (Justus Liebig University Giessen, Germany) I have been interested in the possibilities of narrative expression of an enunciatively plural collective voice. My monograph on we-narratives is forthcoming with the Ohio State University Press. More recently, my research focus has shifted from narratology and Anglophone fiction to world-literature, comparative morphology, alternative futures and modes of social existence which fascinate the (semi-)peripheral literary imagination. Prior to HCAS I worked on these topics with support from the German Research Foundation (DFG), Kone Foundation and Alfred Kordelin Foundation.
- Medieval magic, religion, and science
- Renaissance humanism
- Medieval and early modern history of Christianity
Disenchanting Albert: Magic in the Service of Disenchantment
Disenchanting Albert is a research project whose aim is to ascertain, first, the teaching on magic of the leading high medieval philosopher Albertus Magnus, and then, the complex path his reputation as a sorcerer took from his own day to the Enlightenment. This particular history, in turn, serves as a lens through which to address the larger challenge of western thoughts on disenchantment, especially as it bears on the two fields in which Albert’s study of magic proved most controversial, science and theology. This study will show how such processes of disenchantment can be understood not simply as working against the pre-modern interest in magic, but more so how disenchantment emerged out of these very arguments over magic.
David Collins is an associate professor of medieval intellectual and cultural history at Georgetown University (Washington, DC). He has higher degrees in history, philosophy, and theology from universities in the USA and Germany and earned his Ph.D. in History at Northwestern University in Illinois (2004). He has published extensively on Renaissance humanism and the cult of the saints, especially in Germany, as well as on medieval magic, religion, and science. He recently completed The Sacred and the Sinister: Studies in Medieval Religion and Magic, a volume of collected scholarship that appeared in press last spring (Penn State Press, 2019).
- Material feminism
- Environmental Posthumanities
Rethinking the Human: Posthuman Vulnerability and its Ethical Potential
My project will advance the paradigm shift initiated by posthumanist material feminism that rejects the conception of the human as exceptional and the dualisms at the foundation of humanist thinking. I will contribute to new theorizations that put the human back in its world and in relation with others, human and nonhuman, in order to better conceptualize those relations. Ultimately, my aim is to demonstrate that our ontological vulnerability ought to be embraced rather than rejected since it is the only way in which we can fully flourish. I will investigate how vulnerability can: (a) undo the self through negative interconnections, such as trauma, but also, and most importantly, (b) promote ethical growth by enhancing the self through positive interconnections, such as better mutual and respectful ecological relations.
Christine Daigle is professor of philosophy and Director of the Posthumanism Research Institute at Brock University. Her current research explores the concept of posthuman vulnerability and its ethical potential from a posthumanist material feminist point of view. She also works on environmental posthumanities and issues related to the Anthropocene. She has also published extensively on the works of Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Simone de Beauvoir.
- Special expertise in Russian litigation
- History of human rights
- Academic freedom
HISTORY ON TRIAL: Russian memorial laws and counter-extremism litigation
The atrocities of the 20th century were the reason for establishing the regime of memorial laws in the world. The need to protect the memory of victims of genocide created the memorial legislation in Europe, while in the US and in the UK a special attitude to the freedom of speech prevented this development from occuring. Historians are playing a crucial role in establishing such a regime. A good example is the contribution to the current politics of memory by the famous "Dispute of Historians" in Germany, which concerned the question of the uniqueness of the Nazi genocide. This dispute has had a significant impact on the special memorial legislation practically everywhere in Europe. In a nutshell, the proposed project intends to survey the approach to memorial laws in Russia, focusing on the litigation in memorial laws and the role of historians in the legal process. The main idea is to compare the principles and standards of European Law (including ECHR) (Fronza, 2018) with the Russian approach to "Glorification of Nazism". Thus, the project aims to explore the current implementation of this law and other legal tools that restrict freedom of history in Russia, as well as the legitimization of the "official history" in the court.
Dmitry Dubrovskiy PhD (History) - currently Associate Professor, Department of Social Science, Higher School of Economics (Moscow) and Associate Research Fellow, Center for Independent Social Research (St. Petersburg). Alumni of St Petersburg State University (BA in History, 1996) and MA, European University at St. Petersburg (Department of Ethnology, 1997). PhD - Museum of Anthropology and Ethnology named Peter the Great (2007). Worked as Research Fellow in the Russian Museum of Ethnography and European University at St. Petersburg, Ethnic Studies Program. One of the authors of a special city program "Tolerance" in St. Petersburg. Member, Human Rights Council of St. Petersburg. Founder and Lecturer, Human Rights Program, Smolny Department of Liberal Arts and Science. 2015-2017 - Lecturer, Harriman Institute, Columbia University, courses on Human Rights on Post-Soviet Space. Worked in Kennan Institute of Advanced Russian Studies, Helsinki Collegium of Advanced Studies, Columbia University, Bard College of NY, National Endowment for Democracy. Galina Starovoitova Fellow 2007-2008, Kone Fellow 2010, Reagan - Fascell Fellow 2015, Scholars Rescue Fund Fellow 2015-2017. Research interest - special expertise in Russian litigation, freedom of speech, history of human rights, academic rights and freedoms.
- Ethics of Belief
- Philosophy of Religion
- Moral Philosophy
Manufacturing Belief in Latin Medieval Philosophy
The aim of the project is to initiate a comprehensive study of the philosophical underpinnings of the medieval conceptions of religious persuasion through the rhetorical production of emotions in the Catholic tradition. The project will study heretofore under-examined texts from the early 13th century to the middle of the 14th century that deal with the production of beliefs through emotion inducing persuasion, taking as a point of departure medieval theories of emotions, rhetoric, preaching and religious faith.
I am a specialist of the medieval theories of faith, on the history of which my PhD dissertation is one of the first contemporary comprehensive studies (to be published in 2019). My focus has been on the psychological mechanisms and epistemic and moral justifications of voluntary belief in the Middle Ages. I have also studied the notion of habitus or disposition in medieval psychology, on which I have coedited a book. This notion is at the heart of the study of the psychological foundations of stable belief and free action that play a crucial part in the present project.
- descriptive linguistics, ethnolinguistics, sociolinguistics
- linguistic typology
- language contacts
- language obsolescence
- language revitalization
- urban multilingualism
A grammar of Nivkh, an isolate Paleosiberian language
The main goal of my Collegium project is to produce a large academic grammar of the little-documented and seriously endangered Nivkh language spoken on Sakhalin and in the Amur region of Russia. The language is of considerable universal interest for general linguistics, since it is an isolate (Paleosiberian) language, which differs in fundamental ways from the neigbouring languages and has features rare or unique among the languages of the world. Nivkh represents a remnant of the original linguistic diversity of the North Pacific Rim, which is why the study of its evolution and structure is essential for understanding the human past of eastern Eurasia. The grammar will be written within the interdisciplinary framework of language ecology, implying that the grammatical information, analysed in terms of modern theoretical linguistics, will be placed in a large extra-linguistic context. This context will consider also the speakers of the language at different time levels and in their ethnic, social, cultural, and physical environment, which inevitably have influenced the development of the language. The grammar will be based upon linguistic data collected during my fieldwork in the Russian Far East since 1989, as well as on other extant sources of Nivkh.
I am a University Lecturer and a Docent in General Linguistics at the Department of Languages, University of Helsinki. I was born and educated in St. Petersburg, where I received my PhD at the Institute for Linguistic Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences. Since 1989, I have been conducting fieldwork in the Russian Far East, with the main focus on the Nivkh language. My publications deal with various aspects of Nivkh grammar, areal typology, sociolinguistics, language contacts, language obsolescense, revitalization, etc. I have been leading a project on revitalization of Nivkh, which has been recently extended to the neighboring Tungusic languages.
- Social Psychology
- Behavior change
- Health technology
Disseminating heritable cancer risk information to relatives. Knowledge, duty, fear, guilt, and support in social networks
The amount of genomic information that people receive will increase in the future. It is an important challenge to understand how people perceive the complexity and uncertainty of this information, and how they may use it in a way that contributes positively to their health. Furthermore, when genetic tests reveal increased risks of treatable or preventable heritable diseases, people may also need to inform their relatives who have a 50% risk of having the same mutation. This can be an emotionally and socially challenging task, as individuals must simultaneously deal with decisions related to their own health and that of their relatives. These examples include ethical dilemmas of how to deal with family members’ rights to know/not know genetic information, as well as social emotions like guilt, and moral obligations to inform relatives to avoid anticipated regret. Communicating genetic risk information does not happen straightforwardly from individual to individual, but rather within social networks that include families’ unique health and social histories, extended family members and relations between network members that could either foster or thwart the decision to undergo genetic testing. For these reasons, uptake of genetic testing, understanding and processing genetic information, and sharing one’s own genetic information is examined at the level of social networks.
Ari Haukkala is University Researcher at Helsinki Collegium of Advanced Studies and co-director of Behaviour Change and well-being research group at University of Helsinki. He is involved with personalized medicine projects where the aim is examine how health related genetic information is understood among lay people, how heritable risk information is communicated within families and what kind behavioural outcomes that information have (P5.fi study). Main interest in all works is how we can use theory-based behavior change techniques to improve peoples well-being and health in different environments.
- Memory studies
- Museum studies
- Oral history and biographical method
- Everyday life in socialism and post-socialism
Remembering and staging communism at (East) European museums: the case of Estonian history and cultural museums in comparative approach
My current project deals with the question of remembering the Soviet/socialist past in Estonian/Baltic museums. It also asks how during post-socialist times the representation of that period has changed in Estonian and East-European museums in general. Here, museums are understood as memory institutions, which are important agents in interpreting past issues, and asking relevant questions for a sustainable future. The representation of the past and heritagization of the Soviet past should be followed in the context of memory-heritage-identity. My aim is to look at Estonian memory culture from a comparative perspective, to examine what influence EU enlargement may have had on the memory policy and cultural memory at museums, while also exploring museological practices that are used throughout Europe to represent this socialist past. Additionally, I also examine common representations and narratives of the everyday. Methodologically, I will focus on the methods of museum anthropology, participatory observation of the visitor experience, visual and textual documentation of the display, narrative and discourse analyses, and interviews with curators.
Kirsti Jõesalu is an ethnologist working as a researcher and lecturer at the Department of Ethnology at University of Tartu. Since 2005, she has worked with the topics of post-Soviet memory culture. In her previous studies she has looked at the intersections of public and private remembering. Her interest towards memory studies began by studying life stories and other biographical accounts, with a particular interest in remembering the late soviet period (1960s-1980s). In her research, she investigated how the late Soviet period is remembered on an institutional level (memory policy), as well as on a cultural and individual level (Jõesalu 2017). She has published in international journals such as Europe-Asia Studies, Journal of Baltic Studies, Oral History among others.
- Late Antiquity
- Late Roman history
- Christianisation of the Mediterranean world
Waiting for Barbarians, Recognizing Immigrants, Making Romans: Roman Ambiguities and the Uses of Barbarians in the Political, Social and Religious Struggles in Late Antiquity (300-600)
My project looks at the mechanisms by which the Romans dealt with immigrants and aliens, both at the conceptual and rhetorical levels of knowledge ordering, ethnicization and religious othering, as well as at the socio-political level. While previous research has mainly concentrated on finding out who the newcomers were and how their identities evolved, I turn the attention to the host societies receiving the immigrants. I concentrate on the uses of immigrant and alien groups in internal political, social and religious struggles. The project is about the attitudes and expectations in regard to immigrants, alien groups and religious others within the Roman and post-Roman societies. Since most extant sources were produced by elite writers in these societies, the perspective is inescapably theirs. Hence, the objective is to construct an alternative approach with a different set of questions that concentrate on the circumstances and identities evolving within the host society. How does the host society use immigrants? Who are treated as aliens and who are recognized as Romans and what criteria and mechanisms are used? Who are taken as religious others?
Maijastina Kahlos is an historian and a classicist (University of Helsinki, Finland). She is the author of Vettius Agorius Praetextatus: Senatorial Life in Between (2002), Debate and Dialogue: Christian and Pagan Cultures, c. 360-430 (2007), and Forbearance and Compulsion: Rhetoric of Tolerance and Intolerance in Late Antiquity (2009), and Religious Dissent in Late Antiquity, in 350450 (forthcoming 2019), and the editor of The Faces of the other: Religious Rivalry and Ethnic Encounters in the later Roman world (2012) and Emperors and the Divine Rome and its Influence (2016).
- Cognitive sociology
- Cognitive social science
- Philosophy of the social sciences
- Interdisciplinary integration
- Sociological theory
Cognitive Sociology What, Why and How?
In recent decades, many cognitive scientists have begun to pay increasing attention to the social and cultural aspects of human cognition. Simultaneously, a small but growing number of cognitive sociologists have sought to integrate findings, concepts and methods from the cognitive sciences with sociology. My study explores this intersection between sociology and the cognitive sciences with a specific aim to:
- Develop a theoretical framework for analyzing the interdisciplinary integration between the cognitive and social sciences.
- Map current approaches and developments in cognitive sociology.
- Evaluate the arguments for and against cognitive sociology.
- Identify conceptual and methodological problems that arise in cognitive sociological research with a special focus on three cases: (i) theoretical and empirical studies on commensuration of social phenomena; (ii) attempts to integrate the dual-process models of cognition with sociological action theories; and (iii) interdisciplinary memory studies.
In other words, my study answers three questions: What is cognitive sociology? Why is it important for sociological research? How should it proceed?
Tuukka Kaidesoja is a member of the TINT Centre for Philosophy of Social Science at the University of Helsinki. He also holds a title of docent (sociology) at the University of Turku and is principle investigator of a research project on the cognitive social sciences that is funded by Emil Aaltonen foundation. His main research areas have been in sociological theory, mechanism-based explanations in the social sciences, critical realism in the social sciences, science policy, and the integration of the cognitive and social sciences.
- International law (public and private)
- Gender analysis of international law
- Ideas of the state and belonging
What Should Foreign Relations Law Be?
With the rise of populism, many international lawyers are turning inward to national law to prevent their country’s exit from major multilateral treaties and international institutions. They are simultaneously looking to the national-law powers of provinces and cities to step up on climate change, human rights and other global issues to compensate for the inaction of the overarching state. In other words, foreign relations law is the spotlight. But international lawyers have long been suspicious of such a field as a nationalistic and parochial competitor of international law. The hypothesis of my research is that these anxieties about foreign relations law can instead be reinvented as a pluralistic and critical vantagepoint on the state, potentially illuminating important challenges to globalization, including populism. In this vein, my research at the Collegium will take apart the components - what is law, what are foreign relations to develop an alternative frame for norms, actors and spatiality. Areas will include Indigenous law and foreign relations, the conduct of foreign relations by cities and multinational corporations, and peace camps and foreign military bases.
Karen Knop is Professor of Law at the University of Toronto, where she has served as Editor of the University of Toronto Law Journal and Associate Dean for Research. Her books include Diversity and Self-Determination in International Law (Cambridge University Press), which received a Certificate of Merit from the American Society of International Law, and, as editor, Gender and Human Rights (Oxford University Press). Her articles have appeared in the European Journal of International Law, Stanford Law Review and Transnational Legal Theory, among others. She serves on the Editorial Board of five journals which are published in three countries.
- Archaeology, Epigraphy, Papyrology
- Judaism, Christianity, Islam
- Bible, Quran
- Ancient Near East
The Alphabet: History and Development in the First Millennium BCE Levant
In the first millennium BCE, the alphabet evolves into distinctive scripts used to write Northwest-Semitic languages such as Aramaic, Phoenician and Hebrew. The alphabet spreads into the entire Mediterranean world and gives rise to such scripts as the Greek and Latin alphabets. Although the development of so-called national scripts can be observed, this distinction is not always obvious; recent discoveries show how scripts can be adapted and mixed in a single inscription, to the point that traditional classifications must be rethought. The present research project seeks to study, from the ground up, the history and evolution of these scripts in the light of new discoveries and with the help of new technologies.
My initial training is in formal sciences, especially mathematics, computer sciences, physics and chemistry, with a major in fundamental mathematics. I then turned to humanities with studies in theology, history and philology. The encounter between formal and social sciences was fruitful and never ceased to sustain my research. I received a PhD at the Sorbonne, in Paris, where I specialized in epigraphy. I worked as a researcher at the Collège de France until I was tenured Associate Professor at the University of Strasbourg. I also obtained an Habilitation, which enables me to supervise PhD students and researchers. I am sometimes asked to provide my main official titles. Here they are: Prof. Dr. habil. Michael Langlois holds a PhD and Habilitation in Historical and Philological Sciences from EPHESorbonne. He teaches as tenured Associate Professor at the University of Strasbourg and is a member of the University Institute of France. He is also an associate researcher with the CNRS / Collège de France, as well as an Auxiliary of the Academy of Inscriptions and Fine Letters.
- Science and technology studies
- Economic sociology
- Feminist theory
Ecological Assetization: New Configurations of Economy and Ecology
This project aims to bridge the gap between environmental economics and the environmental humanities (broadly defined), by examining the phenomenon of ecological assetization. Ecological assetization is central to the current turn to the debt-based finance of the green economy but has until now received scant attention in environmental humanities. This project does not simply extract knowledge from environmental economics to supplement the theorisations of the environmental humanities, nor only criticize the former from the standpoints of the latter. Rather, it aims to generate productive conversations and collaborations between environmental economics and environmental humanities. It investigates one of the most challenging issues facing humanity today: how to simultaneously cultivate ecological and economic sustainability.
Liu Xin is a postdoctoral researcher at the Swedish School of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki. Liu has published in Australian Feminist Studies, Parallax, MAI: Feminism & Visual Culture, Girlhood Studies, NORA, Nordic Journal of Migration Research, Sukupuolentutkimus-Genusforskning, Feminist Encounters: A journal of Critical Studies in Culture and Politics. Her recent projects examine the phenomenon of air pollution in the Chinese context as well as the reproduction of norms in digital games.
- Philosophy of time
- Philosophy of religion
From Divine Timemaker to Divine Watchmaker
I am examining the following four questions. What is time? In what sense is God responsible for the existence of time? What kind of structure might God give to a time series? What are the implications for religious doctrines of creation, providence, and life after death?
R.T. Mullins (PhD, University of St Andrews). Works on philosophical theology. Previous publications include "The End of the Timeless God," (Oxford University Press, 2016). "God and Emotion," (Cambridge University Press, 2020).