Visiting lectures:

Professor Patrizia Lombardo (Swiss Center for Affective Sciences/Université de Gèneve, Suisse).

Tuesday 7th November 2017 at 16.15: Literature, the emotions, and knowledge (Lecture hall 5)

Thursday 9th November 2017 at 16.15: Stendhal et sa théorie des émotions (Lecture hall 12)

The lectures will be held at the University of Helsinki main building (Fabianinkatu 33, 3rd floor, lecture hall 5 and 12)

All welcome!


Riikka Rossi’s visiting lecture at the Swiss Center for Affective Sciences, 3.10.2017 


International conference: End Games and Emotions: The Sense of Ending in Modern Literature and Arts

The conference programme can be found here:

15.–18.8.2017 University of Tallinn, Estonia & University of Helsinki, Finland

Carolyn Burdett, Birkbeck, University of London, UK
Patrizia Lombardo, University of Geneva, Switzerland
Pirjo Lyytikäinen, University of Helsinki, Finland
Matthew Potolsky, University of Utah, USA

The Conference End Games and Emotions focuses on the affective aspects of literature and arts sensitive to the threats and fears of modernity, like the ideas that “all that it solid melts down”, that the modern culture and modern man is decaying, or that the whole existence of human life may be threatened by different aspects of modernization process. We ask how moods and emotions are depicted and evoked and emotion effects produced by the literature and art of what we call the long twentieth century. With this notion we understand broadly the period beginning with the nineteenth-century naturalism and decadence, encompassing the twentieth-century developments of a variety of modernisms, and reverberating into the contemporary literary and artistic or musical scenery. Focus on the dystopic and decadent, on fears rather than hopes concerning modernity, gives a precedence to negative emotions and dismal moods but also invites considerations of the ambiguity of emotions, oxymoronic expressions like the entanglement of pleasure and “ugly” feelings, and the positive functions of evoking negative affects. We ask how the aesthetic feelings relate to depicted and evoked horrors or misery, how ecstasies alternate with depression and melancholy, and what are the critical and ideological stakes of evoking emotions and affecting audiences. All in all, the multiple functions of emotion effects as well as the variety of ways in which artworks affect audiences are a central field of discussion which we hope to open by the conference.

Suggested topics

  • Affects of decadence: moods and the production of emotion effects relating to descriptions of decay and entropy
  • The emotional landscapes of naturalist literature and art
  • Imagining the end (of civilization, of human kind): dystopic moods and modes
  • The melancholic visions of modernism
  • Disgust, contempt and other ugly feelings
  • Extreme feelings: ecstasy and apathy; euphoria and dysphoria
  • Shame and grace – affects and religion
  • Negative affects – positive functions?

We also invite special panels focusing on emotional aspects of specific authors and genres and welcome contributions on emotions and moods in visual art, theatre and music. The main conference language is English but presentations and individual panels in French and German are warmly welcome.

Thank you for sending your proposals for papers or panels/sessions (max 300 words), as well as a short biographical sketch, before 31 December 2016 to the following address

Please notice that the conference will take place in two cities: 15.-16.8. in Tallinn and 17.-18.8. in Helsinki. The conference fee (150 €) includes a ferry ticket from Tallinn to Helsinki, some lunches, coffee breaks and receptions.

Organisation committee:

Helsinki: Riikka Rossi, Pirjo Lyytikäinen, Marja Härmänmaa, Viola Parente-Čapková, Silja Vuorikuru, Antti Ahmala

Tallinn: Mirjam Hinrikus, Ave Mattheus, Piret Viires

In cooperation with:
University of Tallinn, Estonia; University of Helsinki, Finland
Under and Tuglas Literature Centre of the Estonian Academy of Sciences
The University of Helsinki research project Rethinking Realistic Worldmaking


Antti Ahmala’s doctoral dissertation: Miten tulla sellaiseksi kuin on? : Autenttisuus ja itsestä vieraantuminen Joel Lehtosen varhaistuotannossa (How to Become What One Is? Authenticity and Self-Alienation in Joel Lehtonen’s Early Works)

University of Helsinki, 3.6.2016

The dissertation can be accessed in e-thesis service:


Riikka Rossi’s guest lecture in Helsinki Lectures on Intersubjectivity

Friday, October 3, 12−14, Fabianinkatu 33, room 3
Riikka Rossi, University of Helsinki
Ugly Feelings and Shock Effects: Disruptive Communication in Realism

Riikka Rossi’s lecture can be listened here:


Emotion, Representation, Mind

Interdisciplinary Symposium

Wednesday 21th May 2014

Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies

Seminar room 136 (Fabianinkatu 24 A)


10.15 Opening of Seminar. Riikka Rossi and Saija Isomaa

10.45 Mikko Salmela: Reflections on the Relevance of the Two-Level Structure of Emotional Processing for Literature

11.15 Pirjo Lyytikäinen: Studying Emotion Effects in Literature

11.45 Lunch break

13.00 Heli Tissari: Stability and Change in the Meanings of English Emotion Words

13.30 Merja Polvinen: Affect and Artifice in Cognitive Literary Theory

14.00 Coffee break

14.15 Katariina Mäkinen: Laughter and Disgust: Encountering the Finnish Anti-Immigration Debate

14.45 Nora Hämäläinen: The Emotional Horizon of the Self-Help Culture

15.15 General discussion

Reception in the Common Room of HCAS

In recent years, there has been an enormous increase in attention to emotion as a crucial element in human thought and action. This interest has spanned various disciplines from philosophy to psychology and from linguistics to literary studies. Emotion, Representation, Mind explores the diverse conceptions and aspects of emotion, including affects, moods and feelings, and focusses on emotions represented in language, verbal art and cultural representations. The symposium asks, how do emotions appear in action in language and cultural representations? How can the better understanding of these representations help us to understand the human mind, and what kind of knowledge can we achieve by narratives of emotions?

The seminar is open to all, but please pre-register by sending an e-mail to riikka.rossi(at) by May 15th.


Visiting lectures

Philippe Hamon

Professeur émérite, Université Paris III–Sorbonne Nouvelle

Venue: Helsinki Collegium of Advanced Studies (Fabianinkatu 24), Seminar Room 136

November 12 at 16:00:

Le catalogue

Il s’agit d’étudier une forme littéraire, apparentée à la liste, à la description, et représentée dans le monde des textes par des genres divers: le catalogue de vente, le catalogue-inventaire, le catalogue de vente après décès, l’encyclopédie, le dictionnaire, les listes de morts, le catalogue d’exposition de tableaux ou d’objets d’art. D’après les archéologues, il s’agirait d’une forme archaïque qui coïnciderait avec l’époque de la naissance de l’écriture. Le “catalogue des vaisseaux” dans l’Illiade d’Homère en fournirait l’un des exemple le plus fameux, ainsi que La maison d’un artiste de Goncourt. Il posséderait des emplois très divers, mais il semble avoir des liens privilégiés avec la parataxe, le texte poétique, voire avec la posture ironique (Rabelais), et avec des activités psychologiques comme la mémoire, ou comme l’interférence sémiotique (de nombreux catalogues jouent sur la juxtaposition d’un texte et d’une image) (conférence avec projection de documents illustrés).

November 13 at 14:00:

Le faux

La littérature du XIXème siècle, qui de Rousseau et Balzac à Flaubert et Zola semble habitée par la volonté de “dire le vrai”, de “dire le réel”, semble en même temps hantée par l’idée que le monde tout entier devient “faux”, notamment le monde moderne qui ne propose qu’objets industriels faux (le simili, le toc, l’ersatz, le ruolz, le “canard” journalistique), conduites fausses, politiques fausses (l’histoire se répète en farce) et sentiments tout aussi faux. L’art lui-même semble livré aux faussaires (des affaires de faux manuscrits, de faux tableaux, prolifèrent tout au long du siècle). De nombreuses œuvres littéraires traitent de ce thème (voir ”La parure” de Maupassant) et de nombreux exemples de cette hantise se retrouvent dans des textes divers de Balzac (L’envers de l’histoire contemporaine) au dernier Zola (Vérité). Mais le faux n’est-il que l’envers du “vrai”? Est-il synonyme de “fiction”?