Research team

The principal investigator of the project, Docent Elina Penttinen (Ph.D) is a University Lecturer in Gender Studies, University of Helsinki. She has published widely on globalization and sex-trafficking, ethical action competence in the context of civilian crisis management, gendered experience of war and compassion-based methodology. She develops feminist analysis on healing trauma. She is the author of Joy and International Relations: a new methodology (2013) Routledge, Globalization, Prostitution and Sex-Trafficking: corporeal politics (2008) Routledge. She teaches courses on feminist methodology, scientific writing and gender studies and supervises doctoral thesis projects in Gender, Culture and Society doctoral programme.

Her areas of expertise are feminist methodology, creative analytic writing, contemplative pedagogy and research on violence.

Contact information: elina.penttinen(a)


Julian Honkasalo (Ph.D): My research project Unfit for Citizenship: Eugenics and the Pathologization of Gender Nonconformity advances and reconstructs earlier scholarly literature on 20th century eugenic discourses by examining the phenomenon of gender reassignment -related sterilization legislation in Scandinavian countries from a queer-theoretical and historical perspective. The research project aims to understand and answer the following questions: 1) how do certain forms of embodiment and gender expression come to be viewed as legitimately subjected to state-sanctioned sterilization? 2) What do various moral, psychiatric and political techniques around gender non-conforming embodiment and subjectivity reveal about a society, the nation-state, and notions of citizenship?

I am interested in biopolitics, social and political constructions of the fit and able-bodied citizen, dynamics of racialization, transgender reproductive rights as well as theorization of resistance. My research approach and interests are multidisciplinary and stem from personal interests in human rights activism. My latest publication can be downloaded and read at:

Contact information: julian.honkasalo(a)


Ada Schwanck (MA) is a PhD student in Gender Studies in the doctoral programme Gender, Culture, and Society (SKY) at the University of Helsinki. Her PhD project Alternative War Stories: Narratological approaches to feminist study of war explores experiences of war and displacement in contemporary fiction and documentary films. Her PhD project combines gender studies, feminist international relations and literary studies. The project investigates the intersections of gender, sexuality and race in the production, structures and reception of narratives that shape and challenge our perception of gendered violence and experience of war.

Her research interests are gender-based violence, fiction, narrative analysis, creative writing and empathic reading.

Contact information: ada.schwanck(a)



Dr. Susanna Hast is a researcher-artist who worked in the project February 2016 – July 2016. In the project she studied war experience, violence and healing in Chechnya. Her monograph Sounds of War: Aesthetics, Emotions and Chechnya was published by E- International Relations in March 2018. During the project she wrote the articles “Children Witnessing War: Emotions in the Theatre Play Wij/Zij” and “Sounds of Silence“.

Hast is currently working as an Academy of Finland post doctoral researcher at Theater Academy, Helsinki with her research project “Bodies in War, Bodies in Dance: Rhythm, Performance and Emotions in Finnish Military Training and Capoeira for Refugees” (2017-2020). Moreover Hast has been working with dance and immigration in the projects “I am Here” and “InHaLe – InHabiting Language” ( She is the media producer of Politiikasta journal.

Contact information: sookhelsinki(a)