Researchers

Julie Yu-Wen Chen is Professor of Chinese Studies at the Department of Cultures at the Faculty of Arts at the University of Helsinki (Finland). Chen serves as one of the Editors of the Journal of Chinese Political Science (Springer, SSCI). Chen is also board member of the Bratislava-based Central European Institute of Asian Studies (CEIAS) and the European Association for Chinese Studies (EACS). From 2023-2025, she is in the EU twinning project The EU in the Volatile Indo-Pacific Region (EUVIP) where she leads the preparatory research and provides supervision and counselling to junior researchers. Formerly, Chen was chair of Nordic Association of China Studies (NACS) and Editor-in-Chief of Asian Ethnicity (Taylor & Francis).


Tiina picture

Tiina H. Airaksinen works as University Lecturer in Asian Studies and vice dean of Faculty of Arts at the University of Helsinki. She has received the PhD degree majoring Chinese Modern History from the School of Oriental and African Studies and at the UH she has been granted a title Docent in Asian Studies.  Dr. Airaksinen’s research and teaching interests cover topics such as construction of Chinese trans/national identities, Chinese legal history and Finnish-Chinese encounters. She has also researched development of imperialism in Asia and analysed university pedagogy related to Asian Studies. Recently she has been an editor to a book More Than Half the Sky: Chinese Women on History, Society and Culture (in Finnish: Enemmän kuin puoli taivasta: Kiinalainen nainen historiassa, yhteiskunnassa ja kulttuurissa, eds. Tiina Airaksinen, Elina Sinkkonen and Minna Valjakka). In addition, Dr. Airaksinen has written articles on Chinese nationalism, May Fourth Movement and didactic in Asian Studies.


Sami Honkasalo is an Assistant Professor in Japanese and Chinese languages joining the University of Helsinki in January 2023. His research focuses on the minority languages of China and the Sinosphere with an emphasis on linguistic fieldwork. Sami is also currently investigating Dungan, a Mandarin variety spoken in Central Asia. Prior to University of Helsinki, Sami has held an Assistant Professorship in Linguistics at Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan. He completed his PhD in Linguistics at University of Helsinki and holds master’s degrees from Yale University (East Asian Studies) and the University of Tokyo (Linguistics).


Dr Monique Taylor is a senior researcher in the Department of Cultures at the University of Helsinki and research affiliate at the Lau China Institute, King’s College London.

Previously, she was maailmanpolitiikan yliopistonlehtori (UK/Aus senior lecturer in world politics) at the University of Helsinki where she also served on the Global Politics and Communication Program steering committee, postdoctoral fellow in Public Policy and Global Affairs at Nanyang Technological University, research fellow at the National University of Singapore, and lecturer in the School of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Queensland. 

Monique specialises in political economy and international relations. She has a long-standing interest in China’s political economy, focusing on state capitalism and the political economy of state-owned enterprises, through empirical examination of strategic sectors such as the oil industry and the ICT sector. In other work she has explored digital authoritarianism, the geopolitics of technology, and aspects of regionalism and global governance. From 2023-2025, she will be working on a Horizon Europe Twinning project called ‘The EU in the Volatile Indo-Pacific Region’ (EUVIP), in partnership with Palacký University in Olomouc, Czech Republic. 

Monique’s research has been published by academic books presses and in a range of leading international scholarly journals and edited volumes. Notably, her first book titled The Chinese State, Oil and Energy Security was published by Palgrave Macmillan’s International Political Economy series in 2014. Monique’s latest book, published by Palgrave Macmillan, China’s Digital Authoritarianism: A Governance Perspective, is out now. In addition, she is a member of the editorial board for the Journal of Current Chinese Affairs. 


Paulos Huang has got his Ph.D. and Th.D. from University of Helsinki. After Post-Doctor work in Tokyo University, he has been an Adjunct Professor in University of Helsinki and a guest professor in several Chinese universities since 2002. Currently he is the chief editor for International Journal of Sino-Western Studies (SCOPUS & ESCI) and Yearbook of Chinese Theology (Brill). He focuses on six themes: Daoism & Chu culture and Confucianism, the Great National Studies, Sino-Christian Academic Theology, the dialogue between China and the West, Martin Luther & the medieval history, and Finnish Education. His main books are nine translated books of Martin Luther, Guodian No. 1 Chu Tomb and the Earliest Versions of Laozi & Taiyi sheng shui (1999 Tokyo), Confronting Confucian Understandings of the Christian Doctrine of Salvatiion (2010 Brill).


Dušica  Ristivojević  杜娟華 is Kone Foundation Bold Initiatives Senior Researcher at the University of Helsinki. Before moving to Helsinki, Dušica worked as a lecturer in International Development at Dong-A University, South Korea, a lecturer in Gender Studies at the Central European University, Budapest-Vienna, and as a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica, Taiwan. She was a Chevening Fellow at the University of Oxford, MOFA Taiwan Fellow at the National Taiwan Normal University, and has served as a consultant for a number of in/formal organizations based in East Asia. Dušica is coordinating Sino-Nordic Gender Studies Network headquartered at the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies, U. of Copenhagen where she facilitates and participates in activist and academic exchanges between socially concerned scholars based in the Nordics and in China,Hong Kong, and Taiwan.

Dušica works in the areas of interdisciplinary Chinese studies, media studies, and international relations. She wrote and spoke on a number of topics: from longue duree observations of China´s repositioning in the modern world order, transnational and regional support networks of Chinese social activists, and politics of women´s and human rights, to the unconventional writing of China’s political history, dis/connections between academic education and social engagement, and the absence of the “second world” in de- and post/colonial discussions. Recently, she started to look closely into the partnerships between Chinese and the local actors in Central and Eastern European (CEE) region, as well as into the local civic initiatives and protests related to China’s presence in the CEE.


Suvi Rautio is a Post-Doctoral anthropology researcher at The University of Helsinki, where she also received her doctorate in 2019. Guided by stories of her own family history, Suvi is currently working on a four-year Kone-funded project that applies intimate ethnography to look at the transmission of memory and loss amongst Beijing’s intellectual class during the Maoist era. Beyond the themes studied in this new project, Suvi also continues to engage in academic discussions raised in her doctoral fieldwork, including China’s rural restoration and place-making, masculine self-hood and Chinese state-society relations. Her work has been published in a range of international scholarly journals and she is an active participant in general public outreach, including hosting the New Books Network Chinese Studies podcast series.


Xiaoxu Liu is a PhD candidate at the Department of Teacher Education at the University of Helsinki. After getting her BA and MA in education from Northeast Normal University in China, she started her doctoral study at the University of Helsinki in 2015. She also studied in National Pingtung University in Taiwan for half a year as an exchange student. Her research interests include comparative education, education for diversity and Chinese minority education.

 


Sonja Laukkanen is a PhD candidate majoring in East Asian studies at the University of Helsinki where she also completed her Master’s degree. Her PhD supervisors are Prof. Julie Chen and Dr. Suzie Thomas. Sonja has also studied in Leiden Institute of Area Studies, Netherlands. Sonja’s ongoing PhD research deals with identity, heritage and authenticity in a Tibetan village. She lived in the village for several years and her PhD work is continuation of her Master’s thesis on Globalization in a Tibetan village. Sonja’s research interests are Globalization and modernization (e.g. environmental protection, development, tourism), ethnicity and nationalism (especially Tibetans) and heritage combined with the landscape theories of cultural geography.


Alicia Ng is a PhD candidate in the interdisciplinary environmental sciences program (DENVI) at the University of Helsinki. Her research is concentrated on electronic waste (e-waste) in China, specifically bioremediation techniques to investigate non-human interactions amongst media and soil ecologies. This project is a continuation of her Master’s thesis on the politics of e-waste in China from non-human ontological perspectives. She holds a Master of Science degree in World Politics from the University of Helsinki, a Master’s degree in International Relations from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London (United Kingdom), and a Bachelor’s degree in Asian Studies from Whitman College (United States). Her research interests include changes in understandings of humanity and the environment in the Anthropocene, and the interrelations between technology, environment, and society.


Eero Suoranta is a PhD candidate in the Doctoral Programme in Philosophy, Arts, and Society at the University of Helsinki, focusing on alienation in contemporary Chinese science fiction (SF) literature. In his research, he explores how Chinese SF stories can use the literary technique of estrangement to draw attention to the wider social structures that cause alienation, as well as what kind of social commentary and criticism this results inHe has also previously analyzed Chinese SF in his master’s thesis The Cultural Revolution, Fanaticism and Rationality in Liu Cixin’s The Three-Body Problem (University of Helsinki, 2017). In addition, he has worked as a translator of Chinese SF, as a freelance journalist and literary critic, as a lecturer on Chinese society and culture in adult education, and as an expert commentator in the YLE radio series Kirjoituksia kungfutselaisuudesta (“Writings on Confucianism”)


Wilma Andersson (BA and MA in English philology, University of Helsinki) is a doctoral researcher in the Doctoral Program in Philosophy, Arts, and Society at the University of Helsinki. Her dissertation examines the tensions between Chinese collectivistic values and Western individualistic principles in six Chinese American novels published between the 1970s and the 1990s. Her research interests include Asian American literary criticism, Asian American history, postcolonial literary criticism, literary disability studies as well as social psychology. Her research is funded by the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters, The Finnish Cultural Foundation and the Alfred Kordelin Foundation.