Members

For more detailed scholarly bios, see researchportal.helsinki.fi.
Samu Niskanen

I am Professor of Medieval History with a particular interest in intellectual life and literature in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. I earned my doctorate at the University of Helsinki in 2009, and before joining the faculty there, I had stints also at the Universities of Oxford and Jyväskylä. My more recent publications include Letters of Anselm, Archbishop of Canterbury: The Bec Correspondence (OUP, 2019), Publication and the Papacy in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages (CUP, 2021), and the edited volume The Art of Publication from the Ninth to the Sixteenth Century (Brepols, 2023). My current scholarly preoccupation is the question how the gradual demise of Roman apparatuses and the emergence of the medieval church reshaped concepts and practices related to authorship and publication.

Ilkka Lindstedt

Ilkka Lindstedt, Ph.D. (2014), is Lecturer in Islamic theology at the University of Helsinki. He has published academic studies on pre-Islamic Arabia, early Islam, Arabic epigraphy, and Arabic historiography. He is particularly interested in changes in religious groups and ideas in late antique Arabia. His monograph Muhammad and His Followers in Context: The Religious Map of Late Antique Arabia is published by Brill (2024).

Alexandra Bergholm

Alexandra Bergholm is University Lecturer in the Study of Religion at the Department of Cultures. She has a PhD from the University of Helsinki and has previously held postdoctoral visiting fellowships at University College Cork and the University of Edinburgh. Her background is in Celtic Studies and the study of early Irish vernacular literature in particular. Her research interests include early medieval religious cultures, ritual studies, history of emotions, and material religion.

Anu Lahtinen

Anu Lahtinen is Professor of Finnish and Nordic History at the University of Helsinki. Her fields of expertise include Finnish and Nordic history, especially long-term social history and gender history. She has studied extensively female agency in late medieval and early modern Finland and has led several research projects on family and gender history and the history of elites and nobility. She currently leads projects experimenting with computer-assisted handwritten text recognition (HTR) and historical GIS.

Tuuli Heinonen

Tuuli Heinonen is an archaeologist specialized in the medieval and early modern periods. She completed her PhD in archaeology at the University of Helsinki in 2021. In her research, she has focused on the Iron Age and medieval settlement history of southern Finland, the material and social aspects of rural life in the Middle Ages and trading networks in the northern Baltic area. Currently she is working as a post-doctoral researcher in the Europeanization of Finland and Karelian Isthmus AD 1200-1600, focusing on the material culture of medieval castles and the relationship between castles and their environment in southern Finland.

Marie-Elisabeth Hennings

I am a doctoral researcher in church history at the Faculty of Theology at the University of Helsinki. I graduated from the Georg-August-Universität in Göttingen, Germany, as Magistra Theologiae in 2022 and started my doctoral studies in 2023. My background lies in mediaeval church history in Scandinavia, but my current research is about the reception of mediaeval Finland, especially the Christianisation of Finland, in the long 19th century. The focus lies on how the prevalent nationalistic disposition of the time influenced how academics conducted and conveyed historical research. In addition to my research, I am also a member of the teaching staff at the department of church history, and I pursue both research and teaching with great passion.

Petter Larsson

Petter I. Larsson is an archaeobotanist who is specialized in palynology and landscape archaeology. As a palynologist he often works with long-term studies, but in his current research he is focusing on the Late Iron Age and medieval period on the Åland Islands (within the Academy of Finland project no. 332396). His main interest concerns socio-ecological systems and anthropogenic modifications of landscapes.

Stefan Schröder

Docent Stefan Schröder, PhD, PD, is a cultural historian specializing in the Middle Ages. His research interests encompass various aspects of cultural history, from identity and cultural encounter, life-writing, material culture, spatial turn, hybridity, production and transmission of knowledge to cultural memory. He earned his PhD and completed his Habilitation in Medieval History at the University of Kassel, Germany, and has worked as a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer at the Universities of Kassel (2007-2011), Erlangen-Nuremberg (2011-12), and Helsinki (2012-), he has published widely on topics such as medieval travel and travel writing, Latin-Christian and Arab-Islamic cartography as well as the historiography and cultural memory of the crusades.

Frida Ehrnsten

Frida Ehrnsten is an archaeologist specialized in coins. She obtained her PhD in archaeology at the University of Helsinki in 2019. Her thesis concerned medieval coin use in Finland and her research interest lies in the Viking-age, medieval and early modern numismatics. She is the keeper of the Numismatic collections in the National Museum of Finland. Currently she is working as a post-doctoral researcher in the Europeanization of Finland and Karelian Isthmus AD 1200-1600, focusing on coins as indicators of power and change in the eastern territories of medieval Sweden.

Timo Korkiakangas, PhD, Docent

I am a Latinist specialized in various aspects of medieval documentary Latin and computer-assisted historical linguistics. My main mission has been to develop and test methods for integrating diplomatic and textual-philological information in treebank-based corpus linguistics of historical language data. After my PhD project on the change and variation of the Latin case system, I have carried out two post-doctoral projects, the first one consisting of a treebank-based study of the language competence of early medieval Latin charter scribes (University of Oslo) and the second one focusing on the multimodal aspects of the same charters (Academy of Finland). Currently, I hold an Academy Researcher project titled "The learning of Latin in the 8th to 12th century: a linguistic approach to medieval Latin literacies", funded by the Academy of Finland (grant no. 348564).

Tuomas Heikkilä

Dr. Tuomas Heikkilä, MAE, is Professor of Church History at the University of Helsinki. His research focuses on medieval written culture, computer-assisted stemmatology, manuscript studies, and medieval hagiography, with extensive publications in multiple languages. With a background in history, Heikkilä has advocated for interdisciplinary collaboration, engaging with scholars in fields such as computer science, evolutionary biology, electron microscopy, and bio-codicology. Heikkilä received his education at the University of Helsinki, Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen, and the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana. Previously, he has worked, e.g., as the Director of the Finnish research institute in Rome, Italy, and as a Visiting Research Fellow at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in Uppsala, Sweden.

Leena Enqvist

I am a doctoral researcher in the Department of Church History. My dissertation analyses the reading culture in Birgittine monasteries of Syon Abbey and Vadstena in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. My scholarly interests include female monasticism, medieval religious culture, and women writers and readers in the medieval and early modern periods.

Kirsi Vikman

Kirsi Vikman is currently a grant-funded researcher in the Faculty of Theology, where she pursues her doctoral studies in the Doctoral Programme in Theology and Religious Studies. Her research focuses on late medieval confessional manuals. These manuscripts and incunabula are analyzed using a new multidisciplinary research approach to determine the central topics of discussion in ecclesiastical morals during the late medieval period. In addition to her master’s degree in theology, she holds a Master of Philosophy and a Doctorate in Education.

Liisa Seppänen

Liisa Seppänen holds a PhD in archaeology and an MA in cultural history from Turku University. She is also recognized as a docent of urban archaeology at Turku University and of archaeology at Helsinki University. Liisa has led various research projects and excavations where evidence from the Middle Ages has been surveyed and studied. Her previous research primarily delved into medieval buildings, architecture, urban planning, and city development. Currently, her focus is on studying medieval churches, graveyards, and artefacts discovered from burials and church excavations. Since 2020, she has served as a board member of the Medieval Europe Research Community.

Sanna Supponen

I am a post-doctoral researcher and specialize in the literary culture of late medieval Sweden, especially among and around the Brigittines. I am particularly interested in preaching aids, such as distinction collections and concordances, and the use of the texts, for example how paratextual elements guide the reader to navigate and interpret the text in a certain way. I am also fascinated by manuscripts that survive in fragments. My thesis (2023) discussed various aspects of Master Mathias of Linköping’s Alphabetum distincciones, a large-scale reference work for sermon-making purposes. My current project studies the Victorine influences in the late medieval manuscripts in Sweden.

Mira Harjunpää

Mira Harjunpää is a doctoral researcher of Latin language and Roman literature in the Doctoral Programme in Language Studies. She is currently writing her PhD dissertation on the theory, description, and classification of noun phrases in Priscian’s Ars and in Latin grammatical treatises of the High and Late Middle Ages.

Saara Honkanen

I am a doctoral researcher in the Doctoral Programme in Language Studies (HELSLANG) at the University of Helsinki. My background is in Latin and French philology. In my doctoral research I investigate the syntactical developments in Medieval Latin historical prose. The project is funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation.

Eljas Oksanen

Eljas Oksanen was awarded a PhD in History by the University of Cambridge in 2007 for his dissertation on international exchanges in north-western Europe during the Middle Ages, and the title of Docent in Archaeology by the University of Helsinki in 2024. Over the course of his academic career, he has worked with universities, national museums and academic institutions in England and in Finland on research projects related to history, archaeology, Digital Humanities and Citizen Science. Oksanen’s recent projects have combined intersectoral and data-driven scientific research of historical and archaeological materials with the study of their dissemination, use and consumption in contemporary society as digitized cultural heritage. This includes the 2024 launch of the CoinSampo (rahasampo.ldf.fi/en) cultural heritage Linked Open Data demonstrator in semantic computing solutions for numismatic and archaeological data. Oksanen is currently working at the University of Reading, UK, as a researcher with the Medieval Ritual Landscape: Archaeology, Material Culture and Lived Religion project in collaboration with the British Museum, and maintains close research connections with the University of Helsinki. 

Anna Tiittanen

Anna Tiittanen, Master of Theology, is a doctoral student affiliated to the Doctoral Programme of History and Cultural Heritage in the Faculty of Arts. Her scholarly focus is Roman late antique religion, in particular the earliest stages of Christian pilgrimage to and in Rome and its therapeutic aspects. The working title of her dissertation is Seeking Healing in Roman Pilgrimage Sites c. 300–600. She works under the financial auspices of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters (2023) and the Finnish Cultural Foundation (2024-).

Lotta Näri

Lotta Näri, MeMI’s student assistant, is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in theology. Her developing interests encompass medieval intellectual history, liturgical chant, and manuscript studies. She also works as a research assistant in the AoF project Tradition and Variation: Medieval Chant in the Diocese of Turku, based at the National Library of Finland. The project traces the development and nature of the normative diocesan chant tradition, its local variation, and their influence on the liturgical life of the reformation era.

Jesse Keskiaho

I am currently Research Council of Finland Research Fellow, studying early medieval thought about the nature and origin of the human soul. Generally, I research and teach early medieval intellectual history, manuscript studies and the reception of patristic texts. I have previously studied annotations made before the tenth century in the manuscripts of some of the major works of Augustine of Hippo, and my monograph, Dreams and Visions in the Early Middle Ages. The Reception and Use of Patristic Ideas, 400–900 (Cambridge, 2015) explored early medieval thought on dreams.

Kristel Markus-Venäläinen

Kristel Markus-Venäläinen is a doctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki (supervisors Docent Elina Räsänen and Professor Filipe Pereira da Silva). Her research focuses on the depiction of plants, especially the artistic change towards a more naturalistic manner of depiction during the 12th and 13th centuries and the possible reasons behind that change. The main research materials are stone sculptures in the churches of the Baltic Sea region. Her doctoral studies are funded by the Education and Youth Board of Estonia (Kristjan Jaak Peterson Scholarship). 

Jaakko Tahkokallio

Jaakko Tahkokallio is a Senior Researcher at the National Library of Finland where he leads the ERC StG project Books of the Medieval Parish Church (2021–2025) and Finnish Research Council Project Tradition and Variation. Medieval Chant in the Diocese of Turku (2022–2026). He also teaches history of the book and palaeography at the University of Helsinki and supervises graduate and postgraduate work on medieval manuscripts. Tahkokallio’s research concentrates on the high- and late-medieval manuscript culture of Western Europe and Scandinavia.

Antti Ijäs

Antti Ijäs earned his PhD in Latin Language and Roman Literature at the University of Helsinki. He specializes in Medieval Latin, manuscript studies, and book history. His research interests revolve around pragmatic and technical literature and language, particularly questions related to the history and semantics of technical terminology and the transmission of knowledge and technique through text and image.

Elina Räsänen

Elina Räsänen is an art historian, specializing in the later medieval art of northern Europe particularly in the Baltic Sea region. Her studies are related in the main to object biography, fragmentation, iconoclasm, and breakage. Theoretical discussions concerning iconology are likewise her scholarly interest. She has published on topics ranging from the 14th to the 17th centuries, often with a focus on wooden polychrome sculptures and altarpieces. Räsänen is Senior University Lecturer in the Department of Art History at Helsinki and holds the title of Docent of Medieval Art at the Åbo Akademi.