University lecturer Saila Poutiainen is the director of the Master's programme in Intercultural Encounters. She is also the head of Speech Communication (until 2020). Her research and teaching interests are:

  • Cultural and intercultural communication
  • Interpersonal communication (e.g. relational dialectics, advising, dating) 
  • Ethnography of communication and Cultural discourse analysis
  • Pragmatic theories in the field of language and social interaction
  • Finnish communication culture

Saila Poutiainen online

Research profile

Dr. Tiina H. Airaksinen is a Senior Lecturer in Asian Studies. Her research and teaching interests are:

  • National and religious identities, imperialism
  • East-west intercultural encounters
  • Asia-EU relations
  • Women's agency
  • Asian Studies, Chinese Studies

Tiina Airaksinen online

Research profile

Professor Julie Yu-Wen Chen is Professor of Chinese Studies and Director of Confucius Institute. Her research and teaching interests are:

  • Ethnic politics
  • Chinese diplomacy and foreign relations
  • Comparative politics, with a focus on comparing China with other regimes.
  • Different Chinese societies and their cultures

Julie Yu-Wen Chen online

Website for Chinese Studies at the University of Helsinki 

Research profile

Obert Hodzi is a Post-Doctoral Researcher. His research and teaching interests are:

  • State, Society and Politics in Africa
  • Foreign policies of China and South Africa
  • Global Governance and International Organisations
  • Social Movements in authoritarian societies
  • Comparative economic development
  • Civil wars, conflict and security
  • International Relations Theory

Obert Hodzi online

Research profile

Professor Jussi Pakkasvirta is Professor of Area and Cultural Studies. His research and teaching interests are:

  • Theories of nationalism and history of ideas
  • Interdisciplinary methodologies &  studies of cultural interaction
  • Politics of corporate social responsibility and sustainable development (pulp and paper industry, tourism industry)
  • Culture of social media (new applications of “social media big data”)
  • Latin American history, politics, economy and culture

Jussi Pakkasvirta online


Research profile

Teemu Taira is Professor in the Study of Religions. His research and teaching interests are:

  • Religion, media and society
  • Theories of religion
  • Discourse analysis
  • Nonreligiosity and atheism
  • Category of “religion”

Teemu Taira online


Research profile 

Assistant Professor Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen is the head of Indigenous studies. In the ICE program, she is engaged in the thematic module Tradition, Knowledge and Change. Her research and teaching interests are:

  • Diversity of epistemologies and learning processes
  • Decolonizing research methods and research ethics
  • Indigenous socio-philosophies
  • Amazonian indigenous people
  • Sustainability
  • Ethno-history and historicity
  • Landscape

Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen online

Research profile profile

Website for Indigenous Studies

Professor Elina Vuola is Professor of Global Christianity and Dialogue of Religions at the Faculty of Theology. Her research and teaching interests are:

  • Gender and religion
  • Global Christianity
  • Religion in Latin America
  • Gender in Latin America
  • Religion, Conflict and Gender
  • Lived Religion

Elina Vuola online

Research profile

Xenia Zeiler is head of the discipline and tenure track professor of South Asian Studies. Her research interests are

  • (Digital) Media, Communication Cultures and Society, Focus Video Games/Gaming
  • (Digital) Religion
  • Global Digital Humanities
  • Culture and Society India
  • Indian Diaspora

Xenia Zeiler online