Researchers

Petra Autio, Ph.D.

E-mail: petra.autio@helsinki.fi

Petra Autio is currently working on a postdoctoral research project The I-Kiribati in New Zealand: Migrants and Language Ideology in the Context of Climate Change which is funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation. She is working on Kiribati migration from two perspectives: a contemporary one, involving a Kiribati community in New Zealand, and a historical one, concerning migration – and lack thereof – in the Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony, today known as Republic of Kiribati.

The former is based on interviews during a short fieldwork period in in a Kiribati community in New Zealand in 2018. The focus of research here are the practices and ideologies of maintaining Kiribati language and customs in New Zealand. The latter is based on material from the Kiribati National Archives, supplemented with other Gilbert and Ellice Islands Colony archival documents available online. Her interest lies in the colonial history of the resettlement and labour migration schemes, which underlies present-day discussions about climate change related relocation.

Besides the current keywords of migration, language and custom, Petra Autio’s research has concerned social organisation and differentiation, dance and oral traditions. Her PhD (2010) was an ethnography of a southern Kiribati community.

In addition, Petra Autio has occasionally done consulting work with the Finnish Romani Association, and has also worked in research and science administration.

Phaedra Douzina-Bakalaki, Ph.D.

E-mail: phaedra.douzina-bakalaki(a)helsinki.fi

Unioninkatu 40; Room A 138
P.O. Box 24
FI-00014  University of Helsinki

Phaedra Douzina-Bakalaki is a social anthropologist currently working on the Greek economic crisis. She has conducted long term ethnographic fieldwork in a soup kitchen, a clothing bank and a social clinic in the Northern Greek town of Xanthi. Her PhD thesis (University of Manchester) looks at emergent forms of collective and egalitarian sociality, engendered by the economic crisis, and their links with the state, the market and the domestic sphere.

In the past, Phaedra pursued a research interest on Islamic charity, and its significance within Turkey’s shifting sociopolitical landscape. Phaedra holds an MA and MRes in Social Anthropology (University of Manchester) and a BSc in Psychology (Goldsmiths, University of London). She is also a member of the Early Career Researchers’ Editorial Board of the Sociological Review.

Laia Soto Bermant, Ph.D.

E-mail: laia.sotobermant(a)helsinki.fi

Unioninkatu 40; Room A 138
P.O. Box 24
FI-00014  University of Helsinki

Laia Soto Bermant is a Post Doctoral researcher  working for Transit, Trade, and Travel project. She earned her doctorate from the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Oxford. After graduating, she held a postdoctoral scholarship at the School of Transborder Studies in Arizona State University, and a lectureship at Bournemouth University.

She has conducted fieldwork in Spain and Morocco since 2008, and she has a long-standing interest in the relationship between the northern and southern shores of the Mediterranean – particularly, in the connections and disconnections generated between the Iberian Peninsula and Morocco since the time of Al-Andalus (711-1492 AD). In Trade, Transit and Travel, she explores the relative location of a Spanish exclave located in north eastern Morocco: the city of Melilla, under Spanish sovereignty since the late 15th century and part of the Schengen space since the early 1990s. This research is linked to the ERC project on Cross-locations, but it is an independent project funded by the Academy of Finland.

Perpetual Crentsil, Ph.D.

Email: perpetual.crentsil(a)helsinki.fi, perpetual.crentsil(a)yahoo.com

tel +358 (0)40 575 4770

Perpetual Crentsil received her PhD at the Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Helsinki in Finland in 2007. Her research interests include HIV/AIDS in Ghana (Africa), kinship, reproductive health, gender and sexuality, medical and belief systems in Africa. Her postdoctoral research has engaged her in topics such as mobile technology and health development in Africa, African migrants in Finland/Europe, migration and transnationalism, gambling, remittances and diaspora engagements. In 2014, she worked as a postdoctoral researcher (Senior Researcher) at the Nordic Africa Institute in Uppsala (Sweden) in her project: HIV and religion in Akan society (Ghana).

Matti Eräsaari, Ph.D.

Email: matti.erasaari(a)helsinki.fi

tel +358 (0)50 301 4095

Unioninkatu 35; Room 215
P.O. Box 18
FI-00014  University of Helsinki

Matti Eräsaari is an Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Researcher. His research project, “The Value of Time: A Comparative Study”, combines work carried out previously in Fiji with case studies on Finnish time banking and time allocation systems. The research pays particular attention to the role of time as an expression of value ranging from monetary value to leisure, dignity, or boredom.

Eräsaari’s previous research has dealt broadly with the question of value, as exemplified in exchange media, leadership, food, drink, and ceremonial events. He has carried out field research in Fiji since 2003. He is the author of We Are the Originals: A Study of Value in Fiji and the co-editor of Ruoan kulttuuri, a Finnish-language volume on the anthropology of food.

Eräsaari got his PhD in social and cultural anthropology at the University of Helsinki in 2013 and subsequently worked as a Newton International Fellow in Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester in 2015–17. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society.

Jeremy Gould, Ph.D., Professor emeritus, Docent, Principal Investigator

Email: jeremy.gould@helsinki.fi

phone: +358 50 351 2525

While my training is in Social Anthropology (Ph.D. University of Helsinki 1997), I have spent my academic life teaching in interdisciplinary Development Studies environments at the Universities of Helsinki and Jyväskylä. At the moment, I see myself straddling the realms of political theory and socio-legal studies, laced with a forward-propelling dose of climate justice activism.

As an ethnographer, I’ve learned the most from Zambians. Since 1983, I have spent six-odd years doing fieldwork among them, largely in rural Luapula Province and urban Lusaka. A curiosity about how authority is constituted and deployed has been the red thread running through my work. This reflects an innate tendency to problematize the interactions of power associated with geography, class and race with knowledge production practices in postcolonial social science.

I am currently wrapping up a long-term project on postcolonial constitution-making in Zambia, with a focus on how lawyers and democracy activists negotiate the porous boundaries between legal and political strategies. As this project winds down (a book is near completion), I am turning toward the interaction of law and politics in struggles for environmental justice.

A new project focusses on the recent wave of climate litigation hearings brought by American municipalities against Big Oil, claiming damages for the rising costs of petroleum-fuelled climate change. My aim is to discover positive synergies between popular climate justice movements and adversarial courtroom litigation in efforts to curtail irresponsible energy extractivism. This inquiry interfaces with cases I have been following in the UK High Court that seek to hold extractivist corporations accountable for the environmental crimes of their subsidiaries and, in so doing, to firm up ‘soft’ duty-of-care norms in international law.

Miia Halme-Tuomisaari, Ph.D.

Email: miia.halme@helsinki.fi

tel +358 (0) 2941 23480

Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies
P.O. Box 4
FIN-00014 University of Helsinki

Miia Halme-Tuomisaari defines herself as a professional intellectual and a creative scholar, and further as an ethnographer of life. In more conventional academic terms she is a legal anthropologist specialized in the analysis of human rights, currently engaged by the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies as a Core Fellow. She is also an affiliated Senior Fellow at the Global Governance Centre of the Geneva Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies.  Miia Halme-Tuomisaari has a background in both Social Anthropology and Critical International Law. In addition to holding a PhD in Social Anthropology (University of Helsinki 2008), she has the title of Docent from the Universities of Helsinki (Social and Cultural Anthropology, 2019), Jyväskylä (Social and Cultural Anthropology, 2018) and Turku (International Law, 2016).  Her recent publications include ‘Methodologically blonde at the UN in a tactical quest for inclusion’ (Social Anthropology 2018), ‘Guarding Vision: law, vulnerability and frustration at the UN Human Rights Committee’ (forthcoming in Social Anthropology) and Revisiting the Origins of Human Rights (CUP 2015/PB 2018, co-ed with Pamela Slotte). She is currently working on a monograph around UN human rights monitoring.

In addition to conventional academic publications, she writes actively for diverse unconventional &/ non-academic contexts, including Allegralaboratory.net, which she co-created and edited in 2013-2018 (with Julie Billaud).  In 2015 she was involved in the launching of the Finnish-language AntroBlogi.fi, acting as the project director for funds allocated by Kone Foundation in 2017-2018. In 2016-2018 she directed a project for a new online portal Tutkitusti.fi. In 2016-2018 she was board member of the foundation for the Helinä Rautavaara Ethnographic Museum. She was a board member of the Finnish Anthropological Society in 2015-2018, and in 2019 was elected into the Executive Committee of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (2019-2020).

Miia documents her path as a scholar and joins ongoing societal debates via her numerous (public) social media accounts, including FacebookTwitter and in particular her instagram account @observari.

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Elina Hartikainen, Ph.D.

Email: elina.hartikainen(a)helsinki.fi

Unioninkatu 35; Room 214
P.O. Box 18
FI-00014 University of Helsinki

Elina I. Hartikainen  is an Academy Research Fellow at Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Helsinki (2019-2014). Her research examines the intersection of religion, politics, law, and race in Brazil through a focus on Afro-Brazilian religions. In her past and current research, she has explored this conjuncture through the analysis of the Candomblé religion’s practitioners’ activist engagements with Brazilian state projects of participatory democracy and multiculturalism in Salvador, Brazil. Her Academy of Finland funded research project “Secularism at the Intersection of Race and Religion: Afro-Brazilian Religions and the Prosecution of Religious Intolerance in 21st Century Brazil” examines how the wide-spread adoption of “multicultural legal instruments” in Brazil has influenced efforts to prosecute acts of religious intolerance against Afro-Brazilian religions in the city of Rio de Janeiro in order to develop an anthropological understanding of the intersectional construction of religion and race in secular governance and law. Theoretically and methodologically, her research draws on a combination of socio-cultural and linguistic anthropological approaches to political and legal processes.

She holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, and MAs in Anthropology from the University of Helsinki and Social Sciences and Anthropology from the University of Chicago. Previously, she was a Core Fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (2016-2019), and Earl S. Johnson Instructor in Anthropology in the University of Chicago’s Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences (2013-2016).

She is the coordinator of the University of Helsinki Linguistic Anthropology Workshop, and an editor at Suomen Antropologi: Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society.

Academia.edu

Heidi Härkönen, Ph.D.

Email: heidi.harkonen(a)helsinki.fi

Heidi Härkönen is an Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Researcher. Her current research project, “Wellbeing and Social Change: Body, Personhood and Care” examines understandings and practices of well-being in Cuba amidst the island’s contemporary political and economic changes. She has conducted ethnographic research in Cuba since 2003. Her previous research has examined kinship, gender, sexuality, life cycle and the state. She is the author of Kinship, Love and Life Cycle in Contemporary Havana, Cuba: To Not Die Alone (Palgrave McMillan 2016). She has been a visiting research scholar at the City University of New York Graduate Center, a visiting post-doctoral researcher at the University of Amsterdam and a visiting Anthropology lecturer at the University of Havana. She gained her PhD in social and cultural anthropology at the University of Helsinki in 2014.

Anu Lounela, Ph.D.

Email: anu.lounela(a)helsinki.fi

tel +358 2941 21681 / + 358 50 448 4251

Swedish School of Social Science
Snellmaninkatu 12 (room 351)
P.O. Box 16
FI-00014 University of Helsinki

Anu Lounela, PhD (University of Helsinki, 2009), is an anthropologist, University researcher in Development Studies, and Principal Investigator in Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Helsinki. She is the Principal Investigator for the research project New regimes of commodification and state formation on the resource frontier of Southeast Asia (Kone Foundation, 2018-2022), together with Tuomas Tammisto, and University researcher for the research project Water and Vulnerability in Fragile Societies together with Anja Nygren and Mira Käkönen (Academy of Finland, 2018-2022).

Her research explores values and environmental and political changes in Central Kalimantan. Forest fires have become recurrent disasters, degrading sacred local forests and rubber and fruit gardens, and opening space for new commodity regimes. Lounela explores how state formation and commodity value production entangle within the socionatural landscape production at different scales, but in a specific location.

Her post-doctoral research has paid special attention to values and human-nature relations in the severely degraded swamp forest landscape that is prone to fires and floods, and how local populations reason their claims in the dispute over climate change schemes across different scales. She expands this topic in her research on water and vulnerability in degraded swamp forest landscape in Central Kalimantan through the current research projects.

Her research interests include state formation, nature-people relations, value, dispute, climate change and ethnographic specialization is in Indonesia on the islands of Java and Borneo.

tel  +358 44 9351178

Siltavuorenpenger 1A, room 425
FI-00170 University of Helsinki

Igor Mikeshin is a postdoctoral researcher. He is a member of a research group “Religion, Self and the Ethical Life,” currently funded by Kone Foundation and Academy of Finland. Igor’s subproject, titled “The Construction of Sex and Christian Family in Russian Evangelical Christianity,” focuses on biblical literalism as a basis for conversion, faith, and practice in Russian Evangelicalism. It deals with the formation, construction, and formulation of gender and family norms among Russian Evangelical Christians with body, space and language. Igor’s research will build on his doctoral study and three months of fieldwork in the Russian Baptist community with a focus on gender and family.

Igor Mikeshin’s research interests focus on the study of Biblical literalism and its applications in Evangelical Christianity, precisely narratives of conversion, gender practices, and family values; substance abuse, and street life, in the context of Russian-speaking communities in ex-USSR and abroad.

Suvi Rautio, Ph.D.

Email: suvi.rautio(a)helsinki.fi

Unioninkatu 35; Room 215
P.O. Box 18
FI-00014  University of Helsinki

Suvi Rautio is a social and cultural anthropologist specialising on China. Her PhD thesis,’The Jade Emperor’s Last Taste of Water: An ethnography on the making of a village in China’ (University of Helsinki, 2019), draws on her ethnography in a Dong ethnic minority village in Southwest China to reveal the incongruences and layers of social difference that characterise rural China today.

Drawing on some of the larger themes that unravelled in her doctoral thesis, Suvi’s ongoing postdoctoral project focuses on African male dancers working in China’s entertainment industry. Studying how racial and ethnic categories get embodied, strengthened and refuted, her research takes an anthropological approach to understand the shifting relations and power dynamics between China and the rest of the world.

Suvi Rautio received her BA in Psychology and Sociology at the University of Glasgow in 2007 and MSc in Sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2010. She has spent most of her life in Beijing and in between her university degrees she worked in the communication sector in Chinese and transnational environmental organisations in Beijing.

Carl Rommel, Ph.D.

E-mail: carl.rommel(a)helsinki.fi

Unioninkatu 40; Room A 138
P.O. Box 24
FI-00014  University of Helsinki

Carl Rommel is a social anthropologist with a specialism in contemporary Egypt. He has lived in Cairo on and off since 2007, and conducted long-term ethnographic fieldwork in the Egyptian capital between 2011 and 2013. He is currently working on a book project that traces transformations within the emotional politics of Egyptian football before and after the 2011 Revolution.

Carl Rommel completed dual degrees in Sociotechnical Engineering and the History of Science and Ideas at Uppsala University between 2001 and 2007. After a year of Arabic Studies in Cairo, he moved on to SOAS, University of London, where he earned his MA in Migration and Diaspora Studies (2009) and PhD in Social Anthropology (2015). After graduating, he has held research fellowships at Zentrum Moderner Orient in Berlin and the Walter Benjamin Kolleg at the University of Bern.

Rommel’s current research, which is part of the ERC-funded Crosslocations project, explores dreams, values, futures and anxieties generated by large and small ‘projects’ (mashari’) in contemporary Egypt.

Academia.edu

Dayabati Roy, Ph.D.

E-mail: dayabati.roy(a)helsinki.fi

Dayabati Roy is a social anthropologist currently working on an Academy of Finland funded project entitled ‘Sustainable Livelihoods and Politics at the Margins: Environmental Displacement in South Asia’. She has been working since long broadly on the theme ‘Theory and Practice in Indian Democracy’ and carried out ethnographic field work in rural India. Her research interests include anthropology of poverty and governance, development/change, globalisation, caste and social exclusion, land question, gender and civil society.

She earned her doctorate from the CSSSC, Calcutta. Her doctoral thesis is about rural politics in India with a particular emphasis on a peasant movement that rose against land acquisition move on the part of the government for industrialization. Drawing on an ethnographic study of two villages in West Bengal, it explained the forms and dynamics of political processes in rural India in changing global context. She has worked as a Post Doctoral Fellow at the University of Copenhagen where her research dealt with how the issues of inequity in the domain of employment (re)constructed, obscured and/or becoming marked in rural India.

She has worked as a senior researcher at the CSSSC, Calcutta and taught sociology at the University and Burdwan as well as at the Jadavpur University before joining the University of Helsinki in 2018. Her books include Rural Politics in India: Political Stratification and Governance in West Bengal (2014) by Cambridge University Press and Employment, Poverty and Rights in India (2018) by Routledge, UK. In addition to these books, she has published articles in peer-reviewed journals like Modern Asian Studies, Economic and Political Weekly. She has also made three documentary films (Right to land, In the name of Development and Hundred Days) on the themes and issues she had researched.

Jelena Salmi, Ph.D.

Email: jelena.salmi(a)helsinki.fi

Jelena Salmi is an anthropologist focused on urban development and environmental degradation in contemporary India. She earned her Ph.D. in ethnology and anthropology from the University of Jyväskylä in 2019. In her Ph.D. work, she explored relations between the state and resettled slum-dwellers in the context of large-scale urban development projects in Ahmedabad.

Salmi currently works as a postdoctoral researcher in the research project “Sustainable Livelihoods and Politics at the Margins: Environmental Displacement in South Asia” funded by the Academy of Finland. Her research explores the climate change-human mobility nexus with an ethnographic focus on Koli fishing communities living in Madh Island in northern Mumbai. She analyzes how Koli fishers perceive environmental changes and how they devise strategies of adaptation and alternative livelihoods in a situation where fish stocks have depleted considerably and plastic waste pervades the ocean. Salmi is conducting ethnographic fieldwork in Mumbai until May 2020.

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Patricia Scalco, Ph.D.

E-mail: patricia.scalco(a)helsinki.fi

Unioninkatu 40; Room A 138
P.O. Box 24
FI-00014  University of Helsinki

Patricia D. Scalco is a social anthropologist and a postdoctoral researcher within the Trade, Transit and Travel project under the Academy of Finland. She earned her PhD from the University of Manchester and her doctoral research, currently being transformed into a monograph, explored the role of sexual moralities in the delineation of private and public spaces in contemporary Istanbul. Under the TTT project, she will further explore constructions of space and place in the area of the Grand Bazaar, in Istanbul.

Patricia has lived and conducted extensive fieldwork in Istanbul since 2006, earning her MA in Social Anthropology from Yeditepe University. She is an Early Career Researcher member of the Editorial Board of the Sociological Review and a fellow at the Netherlands Institute of Turkey. A dual citizen of Brazil and Italy, Patricia holds a degree in Law and is affiliated with the Brazilian Bar Association.

Tuomas Tammisto, Ph.D.

Email: tuomas.tammisto(a)helsinki.fi

Snellmaninkatu 14 C
P. O. Box 54
FI-00014 University of Helsinki
tel +358 45 630 1938

Tuomas Tammisto is a socio-cultural anthropologist specializing in environmental issues, political ecology and Papua New Guinea. In his PhD earned form the University of Helsinki, Tammisto looked at how the Mengen people in the rural Pomio District of Papua New Guinea engaged in siwdden horticulture, logging, wage labour on plantations and community conservation. These practices the Mengen relate to their environment, to each other and to outside actors, such as state officials, companies and NGOs, in different ways. They have also produced, reproduced and sometimes significantly changed in the forested environment of Pomio. Tammisto currently conducts postdoc research on the relationship between the commodification of nature and state formation on so called frontier areas in the project New Regimes of Commodification and State Formation on the Resource Frontier of Southeast Asia. In this project, Tammisto examines how the expansion of oil palm plantations in Pomio is linked to different processes of state formation, territorialization and value creation.

Tammisto is currently the editorial secretary of Suomen antropologi: The Journal of Finnish Anthropological Society.

Keywords: agriculture, class, environment, infrastructure, place and space, kinship, land use, natural resources, political ecology, political economy, production, state formation, value

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Pekka Tuominen, Ph.D.

Email: pekka.tuominen(a)helsinki.fi

I am a social and cultural anthropologist, specializing on contemporary Turkey.

In my research, concentrated on Istanbul’s district of Beyoğlu, I explore how different senses of belonging, contextual moral frameworks and symbolic boundaries in rapidly transforming localities are related to the historical consciousness of Istanbul’s inhabitants and how these dimensions are related to reproduction of its urbanity.

I have studied ethnographically, how significant places in Istanbul carry different meanings to people, how certain streets have become to act as symbolic boundaries within the city and how the notions of public space and the spatial makeup of the city are rapidly changing through ideologically motivated discourses of appropriate social values, appearances and practices.

In addition, I have been working in multidisciplinary projects, involving scholars of urban studies, artists and designers, dealing with the questions of future developments of the urban sphere. I am currently conducting post-doctoral research in the Kontula district of Helsinki, studying the urban transformation of the area and examining new possibilities of participatory urban culture connecting its neighbourhoods.

Katja Uusihakala, Ph.D.

Email: katja.uusihakala(a)helsinki.fi

tel +358 2941 23252

Unioninkatu 35; Room 209
P.O. Box 18
FI-00014  University of Helsinki

Katja Uusihakala is an Academy of Finland Research Fellow. Her research project Children as an “Imperial Investment”: British Child Migration to Colonial Southern Rhodesia examines British postwar child migration to colonial Rhodesia. In this research she is concerned with the fragmentedness of memory, issues of silence and recognition, as well as questions of migration, education and socialization connected to building imperial citizens.

Previously, her research has focused particularly on the study of colonial and postcolonial white settler communities, their identity politics and social memory practices in Eastern and Southern Africa. In her PhD work she examined a diasporic community of white former “Rhodesians” currently living in South Africa and studied their social memory practices including commemorative rituals, food practices, mnemonic objects and circulating memory narratives.

Her other research interests include the anthropology of food, especially issues related to food and memory, commensality and reciprocity, as well as the anthropology of heritage linked to heritage landscapes, memory politics, and questions of nostalgia.

Katja Uusihakala is the president of the Finnish Anthropological Society.

Tea Virtanen, Ph.D.

Siltavuorenpenger 1A, room 425
P.O. Box 9

FI-00014 University of Helsinki

Tea Virtanen is a senior researcher whose current research project “The Faithful on the Margin” aims at exploring the process of cultural humiliation and the ethically informed choices that it triggers among the Muslim Mbororo (Fulani) of Cameroon. The study focuses on the recent mass entry of the Mbororo into the Senegalese Islamic Sufi movement called Fayda Tijaniyya, looking at the movement as an ethical space for the Mbororo for handling and transcending the omnipresent sense of unfitness and humiliation. She is also working on a book manuscript, titled “Mbororo youth dance, value and power in Cameroon”, which examines the wider processes of social change among the Mbororo as reflected in the contradictory developments that their traditional youth dance has gone through during the recent decades.

Tea Virtanen is currently a member of a research group “Religion, Self and the Ethical Life,” funded by the Kone Foundation and the Academy of Finland. She has worked as a lecturer of Cultural Anthropology at the University of Joensuu (2002-2005), as a researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute in Uppsala (2010-2013), and as a Finnish Academy research fellow at the University of Helsinki (2013-2018).

Tea Virtanen’s research interests include pastoral people’s life-worlds, ritual and performance, dance, local expressions of Islamic religiosity, rural-urban dynamics, and popular conceptualization of indigeneity. Geographically she is specialized in West and Central Africa, especially Cameroon.