The Intercultural Encounters programme covers a wide spectrum of research projects on the University of Helsinki’s City Centre Campus. In recent years, the focus has especially been in interdisciplinary cultural studies such as,
- interpersonal communication
- indigenous studies
- religious conflicts
- social media
- African-Chinese encounters
- environmental conflicts in Latin America
Below you can find examples of on-going research projects.
The research consortium Citizen Mindscapes – Detecting Social, Emotional and National Dynamics in Social Media (Mindscapes24), financed by Academy of Finland (2016-2019) builds a research frontier in digital humanities for social media analysis by focusing on Suomi24–Finland’s largest topic centric social media as well as one of the largest non-English online discussion forums in the world. The project opens the data set for research community through integration in the Language Bank, operated by the Fin-Clarin infrastructure and hosted by CSC Computing Centre. The consortium brings together researchers from social sciences, digital culture, welfare sociology, language technology, and statistical data analysis and build long-term collaboration that leads to new ways of exploring social and political interaction with the aid of data analysis and data visualization. The research tackles the Suomi24 forum from three complementary perspectives: (1) by examining the digital culture of reading and writing that produces social media (2) by developing visual tools and statistical data analysis methods that are needed for analyzing and researching the digital content, and (3) by studying a small number of spearhead research questions from the data, such as what types of micro interaction are found in the forum, how heated debates might turn into political movements and how to detect emotional waves.
The Centre of Excellence in Reason and Religious Recognition aims to discover historical patterns and elaborate systematic models of rational recognition and mutual tolerance in religious world-views.
The key question is how religious groups have accepted or recognised other social actors, and how religions have been accepted in different societies. The CoE uses both historical and philosophical research methods.
The goal of the CoE is to write the first comprehensive historical report on the development of religious recognition. The researchers strive to map out the historical development of religious thinking and behaviour as well as to create the kinds of models of religious recognition for today which could help increase mutual respect in a multicultural society.
The research results will be of particular benefit in discussion processes and conflict resolution situations between religions, but also between religion and secular society. Thus one of the goals is to present the academic basis for the idea that despite their differences, all religions can share an understanding of the potential and limits of rational discussion. In addition, the project will seek to gain a better understanding of the treatment of different minorities (ethnic, sexual, religious).
This research project explores how indigenous research methodologies are applied in academic teaching and learning. Indigenous research methods emphasize qualitative, collaborative, participatory methods and empowerment frameworks (e.g. Tuhiwai Smith 1999; Wilson 2008; Denzin at al 2008; Chilisa 2012). Indigenous Research Methods in Academia gathers 20 Nordic researchers from Indigenous studies, Sami research, Educational sciences, Linguistics, Environment studies, Development studies, Religious studies, and Anthropology to address the use of indigenous epistemologies as well as indigenous research methodologies and their evaluation in academia. Aims of the network are: to compare previous and novel data on indigenous research methods globally, to explore the experiences of applying different indigenous research methods in university teaching and learning, to advance the use of indigenous research methods in academia, and to develop the evaluation of indigenous research methods used in academia. This project is funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation.