CSTT Has Begun Working!

by Jutta Jokiranta

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Opening Event 8 Jan 2014

The opening event for CSTT members present in Helsinki was organized on 8 Jan 2014. Martti welcomed everyone. CSTT gathers members funded by the Centre of Excellence and by other funding, altogether about 40 persons. Everyone is needed for the work to flourish! CSTT has four teams with special expertise and research questions, and the teams are already created in the way in which they can bring together various disciplines and perspectives to learn from each other and find significant new questions and answers. So no more lonely work!

We got to know one another by name and research topic. Each team had a short brainstorming session to think what methodological expertise it will bring to others, how it approaches ”change,” and which links already exist to other teams. These ideas were then shared. We also met our new coordinator Lauri Uusi-Hakala, who assists us in all kinds of practical matters. Great to have you Lauri! Martti told about the general leadership structure and working principles of the Centre.

The day ended with meeting two collaborators: We heard the presentation of Risto Uro’s new Academy of Finland Project Ritual and Early Christian Religion (REECR), and joined the concluding meeting of the NordForsk network Social and Cognitive Perspectives on Early Judaism and Early Christianity (Petri Luomanen).

What else has taken place?

Martti has been active in introducing CSTT in several events and also in publication (forthcoming in Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel and its section New Projects). The board has formulated guidelines that hopefully help us in the future. Travel funds for this year were announced to be applied and were successfully allocated. Some changes in the schedules of recruited new members took place and these funds needed to be re-directed. The board work has proved to be an important, joint way of running things. The board includes all team leaders and representatives of postdocs and doctoral students.

The beginning of the year has also been active planning time of future events. CSTT now gathers informally every Thursday at 17. So welcome—or think of us on Thursdays! Teams have had or will have team meetings during the spring. The next CSTT event will take place on 3 June, with information for new members and academic career training. Right after that, 5–7 June, many CSTT members will participate in the Third Finnish Colloquium for Middle East and North African Studies in Turku, organized by the Finnish Institute in the Middle East and Åbo Akademi. The annual meeting of CSTT will take place on 3–5 Oct in Tallinn. Kristin De Troyer and George Brooke are members of the Scientific Advisory Board, and we look forward to their visit to Helsinki.

Of new internationally recruited postdoc members, Izaak de Hulster, Tuukka Kauhanen, Mika Pajunen and Elisa Uusimäki have already started. We look forward to Rick Bonnie and Hanna Tervanotko to start in June, and Drew Longacre, Jeremy Penner, and Jason Silverman to start in the autumn.

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