Researchers

IMG_2388.jpgSamuli Björninen is postdoctoral researcher at Tampere University. In the project he focuses on the concepts of narrative in our storified culture and the uses of narrative in conveying factuality. In addition to Instrumental Narratives, he is a member of the projects Kertomuksen vaarat (Dangers of Narrative, Kone Foundation) and INFOSTORY (Emil Aaltonen foundation). He has held a postdoc in the Center for Fictionality Studies at Aarhus University. Björninen has published internationally on narrative theory and theories of reading, and his most recent publication in Narrative Inquiry (2019) concerns the rhetorical use of factuality in narrative. He is editor of a volume on narrative after postmodernism and coeditor of book on the dangers of narrative. He also edits the Instrumental Narratives international guest blog.

Keywords: Conceptions of narrative, fictionality and factuality, theories of reading


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Marta Laura Cenedese received her PhD in French and Comparative Literature from the University of Cambridge, with a thesis on the influence of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Chekhov on the work of Russian-born French-language writer Irène Némirovsky. The thesis is forthcoming as a monograph in which Cenedese develops a hermeneutic approach that brings into dialogue notions of influence and intertextuality with reception aesthetics, in order to analyze the creative and affective encounters between Némirovsky and her predecessors. Trained in modern languages and comparative literature (French, Russian, and Italian) at the University of Venice Ca’ Foscari, Cenedese also studied at the Université Paris IV-Sorbonne, graduated from Sciences-Po Paris, and was a visiting PhD student at the European University of St Petersburg. Before coming to Turku as a postdoctoral researcher, she taught at the University of Cambridge, the University of Venice Ca’ Foscari, and at high school level in both Russia and Italy.

Keywords: postcolonial literature, émigré literature, (auto)biography, literary journalism


davis.pngColin Davis is Professor of French and Comparative Literature at Royal Holloway, University of London, UK, and Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Turku. His research focuses mainly on connections between literature, film and philosophy, with particular interests in the modern French novel, ethics, ethical criticism, philosophical approaches to literature and film, hermeneutics, literary theory, cultural memory, trauma studies and Holocaust literature. He has published eleven monographs, the most recent being Critical Excess: Overreading in Derrida, Deleuze, Levinas, Žižek and Cavell (Stanford University Press, 2010), Postwar Renoir: Film and the Memory of Violence (Routledge, 2012), and Traces of War: Interpreting Ethics and Trauma in Twentieth-Century French Writing (Liverpool University Press, 2018). He also co-edited, with Hanna Meretoja, Storytelling and Ethics: Literature, Visual Arts and Power of Narrative (Routledge, 2018).

Keywords: trauma studies, Holocaust studies, theory of interpretation


hatavara1Mari Hatavara is Chair Professor of Finnish Literature at the University of Tampere. She is the Principal Investigator of the Academy of Finland consortium project “The Literary in Life” (2015-2019). Hatavara has been awarded European Commission Marie Curie Fellowship, cofounded by Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies (2016), and she has also worked as an invited fellow in residence at The Swedish Collegium for Advanced Studies (2011), visiting professor at The Interdisciplinary Centre for Narrative Studies, University of York, UK (2017), and as Graduate Teaching Fellow at University of Oregon (2004-2005). She publishes on fictionality, (unnatural) narrative communication, ekphrasis, free indirect discourse and the poetics of historical fiction and metafiction as well as transdisciplinary narrative studies theory and methodology. She is coeditor of The Travelling Concepts of Narrative (2013), Narrative Theory, Literature and New Media (2016) and Narrating Selves in Everyday Contexts: Art, the Literary, and Life Experience (Style special issue 51:3, 2017).

Keywords: mind representation, fictionality, transdisciplinary narrative analysis


hyvarinen-e1537359038508.pngMatti Hyvärinen is a Research Director at the Tampere University, Finland. He has studied the conceptual history of narrative, the narrative turns and interdisciplinary narrative theory. He is the co-editor of the volumes Narrative Theory, Literature, and New Media. Narrative Minds and Virtual Worlds (Routledge 2015), The Travelling Concepts of Narrative (Benjamins 2013), and Beyond Narrative Coherence, (Benjamins 2010). He has published in several journals and edited volumes, including the entry on narrative genres in the Handbook of Narrative Analysis. He serves as the vice-director in the research centre Narrare, at the Tampere University.

Keywords: narrative positioning, counter narratives, expectations, socionarratology


hyvonenAri-Elmeri Hyvönen, DSocSci, is a post-doctoral researcher in politics. His work focuses on such issues as post-truth, political experience, and the thought of Hannah Arendt. He has also studied security and EU politics. In iNARR, he will study the role of viral stories in the production of post-truth, the possibilities of effective narrative truth-telling, and narrative methods in political science. His articles have appeared in Political Theory, European Journal of Social Theory, Philosophy Today, New Perspectives, Redescriptions, Resilience, and in edited volumes. He has been a visiting fellow at the Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities at Bard College (2014–2015). His KONE foundation funded project “The Limits of Fact-Checking in a Post-Fact Era” is affiliated with iNARR and focuses on (i) conceptual and empirical analysis of post-truth politics and (ii) the respective strengths and weaknesses of fact-checking, narrative truth-telling, and other forms of conveying truth in public discussion.

Keywords: post-truth, factuality, narrative methods in political science, social media, narrative hermeneutics


Johanna K. Kaakinen is a senior research fellow at the Turku Institute for Advanced Studies and Department of Psychology at the University of Turku, Finland. Dr. Kaakinen received her PhD in 2004 from the University of Turku. She is currently a senior research fellow at the Turku Institute for Advanced Studies, and coordinates Turku EyeLabs, a multidisciplinary eye tracking laboratory at the University of Turku. She is an expert in using eye tracking to study reading of longer, connected texts, and has published several articles and book chapters on the topic. Dr. Kaakinen’s current research project deals with readers’ emotional reactions to both expository and literary texts and focuses on the interplay of cognitive and emotional processes as they occur during the course of reading.

Keywords: empirical research, eye tracking, statistical analysis


Laura Karttunen, PhD, is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Tampere. She has published on authors such as Ishiguro and Roy and on topics such as direct speech representation, hypothetical speech, the disnarrated, and grief and unreliability. She has co-edited three books, including Narrative, Interrupted (2012). She is a pioneer of teaching of narrative theory to medical students in Finland. Building on John Dewey’s philosophy, she is creating a theoretical framework for teaching literature instrumentally, as in a narrative medicine class.


Eevastiina Kinnunen works as a research assistant in the project. She is currently finalizing her Master’s thesis in Comparative Literature at the University of Turku. She also works as a bibliotherapy facilitator and creative writing instructor. She is interested in questions of truth in literature and in the different ways reading and writing can shape our narrative understanding.

Keywords: identity work, bibliotherapy, metanarrativity


Kaisa Kortekallio is currently finalizing a doctoral dissertation in the field of literary research. The dissertation, Mutant Perspectives. Enactivist and Posthumanist Readings of Contemporary Ecological Science Fiction, explores the potential of ecological science fiction in cultivating ecological modes of experience. Kortekallio develops an ecological and enactive approach to fiction, asking how embodied engagement with estranging narratives reorients one’s environmental attunement. With this work, she hopes to contribute to the development of “ecology after Nature”. Kortekallio teaches courses on contemporary speculative fiction and acts as board member for The Finnish Society for Science Fiction and Fantasy Research (FINFAR). She is also a subeditor for the Finnish periodical for ecological culture, Elonkehä. She currently lives and works in Helsinki.

Keywords: cognitive literary studies, embodied mind, environmental literature, posthumanism, speculative fiction


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Photo by Timo Jerkku

Päivi Kosonen, PhD, is senior researcher of Comparative Literature at the University of Helsinki and Tampere and Jyväskylä, and a trained bibliotherapist and bibliotherapeutic educator. She has studied autobiographical literature and genre history of autobiography from Antiquity and the Middle Ages to the modern and late modern era. As a bibliotherapist she has been working both on therapeutic writing and therapeutic reading. Besides individual clients she is having bibliotherapeutic developmental groups in different communal settings, mostly at the House of Literature in Turku. She is interested also in the theoretical aspects of bibliotherapy and is keen on in constructing a more delicate and critical bibliotherapeutic reading method that can be applied more generally in health and care-work. Her most recent publications in this area include ”Creative autobiography. From self-knowledge to the teaching of writing” (2015) and ”Towards therapeutic reading. Part I: Identity work: Growth and development through reading” (2018).

Keywords: bibliotherapy, therapeutic reading, autobiographical writing, identity work


Dr. Parker Krieg is a postdoctoral researcher in environmental humanities at the University of Helsinki, affiliated with the Humanities program in the faculty of arts and the Helsinki Institute for Sustainability Science (HELSUS). His current project examines the cultures of environmental memory in US literature, tracing narrative figures of the archive through materialist, posthuman, and neopragmatist theory. His dissertation examined American literature and environment in the context of post-Fordism, and his writing appears in Studies in American Fiction, Textual Practice, and Ecozon@: European Journal of Literature, Culture and Environment. In iNARR Parker will be focusing on metafiction and the politics of narrative at the edges of the United States (Mexico and the Arctic).

Keywords: metafiction, memory, technics, archive, environmental justice


laine-inarr-pic-e1544526656599.jpgTommi Dunderlin (Laine) is a PhD candidate at the Department of Languages, University of Helsinki and an affiliated researcher in iNARR. He specializes in Shakespeare, spatiality, and the natural environment, based on which he is currently working on two articles. He is interested in the ways that space is used and abused for power in literary texts. Meanwhile, he is an Associate Editor of an upcoming publication on genetic criticism, and runs a monthly book club at Finnbrit.

Keywords: spatiality, environment, feminist ecocriticism, early modern literature, Shakespeare


laukkanen.pngAnu Laukkanen works as a postdoctoral researcher in the Research Center for Culture and Health. She holds an MA in Folkloristics (University of Turku), MA in Ethnochoreology (University of Limerick) and PhD in Gender Studies (University of Turku). Laukkanen has published articles about the research politics of arts, health and well-being and on the relationship of projectification in arts and health activities in Finland. Her current research concerns accessibility of arts in social and health services. She is interested in the discourses of justification in arts for health advocacy work. What kinds of research narratives are created when science is popularized for advocacy work? How personal experiences and affects are intertwined with the research narratives

Keywords: arts and health, affects, discourses of justification, popularizing science, research narratives


leskela-karki.pngMaarit Leskelä-Kärki, PhD, Adjunct professor, Senior Lecturer, works at the Department of Cultural History, University of Turku. She is also the co-director of SELMA: Centre for the Study of Storytelling, Experientiality and Memory together with professor Hanna Meretoja. Her research interests include gender history, cultural history of writing and literature, cultural history of modern western esotericism, methodology and theory of biographical research and autobiographical sources. She leads a multidisciplinary research project on the cultural history of esotericism in Finland and works on various book projects on biography and diaries. Her recent publications include: edited special issue Modern “Western Esotericism: Individuals, Ideas and practices” in Approaching Religion 1/2018, a book on biographical traditions and writing (Toisten elämät. Kirjoituksia elämäkerroista 2017) and a joint anthology Biography, gender and history: Nordic perspectives (2016).

Keywords: auto/biographical writing, cultural history, writing and reading practices


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Photo by Maria Grönroos

Hanna Meretoja, the Principal Investigator of the Turku Team, is Professor of Comparative Literature, Director of SELMA: Centre for the Study of Storytelling, Experientiality and Memory, and Vice Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Turku (Finland). Her research is mainly in the fields of narrative and critical theory, narrative ethics, hermeneutics, and cultural memory studies. Most of her work deals with the uses and abuses of narrative in various social and cultural contexts and with the philosophical underpinnings of different conceptions of narrative. Her publications include The Ethics of Storytelling: Narrative Hermeneutics, History, and the Possible (2018, Oxford University Press), Storytelling and Ethics: Literature, Visual Arts and the Power of Narrative (co-edited, 2017, Routledge), Values of Literature (co-edited, 2015, Brill), The Narrative Turn in Fiction and Theory (2014, Palgrave Macmillan), and over 70 articles, including “For Interpretation” (Storyworlds, 1/2016) and “Narrative and Human Existence: Ontology, Epistemology, and Ethics” (New Literary History, 1/2014).

Keywords: narrative hermeneutics, metanarrativity, philosophies of narrative, narrative ethics, identity work, bibliotherapy


mikkonenJukka Mikkonen is Researcher in Philosophy at the University of Tampere. Mikkonen has specialized in the philosophy of literature and studied extensively fictionality, imagination, interpretation, and the cognitive value of literature. Currently, he focuses on the epistemic value of narratives. His publications include The Cognitive Value of Philosophical Fiction (Bloomsbury 2013) and several articles in scholarly journals, such as the Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism and Theoria.

Keywords: narrative understanding, epistemic value, fictionality


mocnikNena Močnik is a postdoctoral researcher at Turku Institute for Advanced Studies and adjunct professor at School of History, Culture and Arts Studies, University of Turku, Finland. She is the author of “Sexuality after War Rape: From Narrative to Embodied Research.” Her recent research covers questions of sexuality, structural violence, collective memory and intergenerational trauma transmission.  She is recipient of several fellowships including Bank of Montreal Award in Women’s Studies (University of Ottawa, Canada, 2018), EnTe Fellowship (New Europe College, Bucharest, 2016-2017), ICNC-Fletcher Institute for the Advanced Study of Nonviolent Conflict (Tufts University, USA, 2016) Brown International Advanced Research Institute Fellowship (Brown University, USA, 2015) and Fulbright Award (University of Southern California, USA, 2014). In 2018, she was invited as the external expert at EUROCLIO – European Association of History Educators, and the coordinator of European Commission – European Remembrance program, “Never Again Teaching Transmission of Trauma and Remembrance through Experiential Learning”.

Keywords: transgenerational, experientiality, embodiment, traumatic narratives​


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Photo by Hannu Peltonen

Maria Mäkelä (PhD, Docent), the Consortium PI and Tampere team leader,  is Senior Lecturer in Comparative Literature and Director of Narrare: Centre for Interdisciplinary Narrative Studies at the University of Tampere. She was Visiting Professor at the Centre for Fictionality Studies, Aarhus University in 2014 and 2018, and she is Vice-President of the International Society for the Study of Narrative. Mäkelä is known as a revisionist narratologist who has participated in many recent debates within the field of postclassical narratology. Her areas of expertise include consciousness, voice and realism across media; the literary tradition of adultery; authorial ethos; and critical applications of postclassical narratologies. She has applied literary narratology to the analysis of reality television, journalism, sex scandals and Facebook status updates. Her recent interests include viral and organizational storytelling and the continuum from the medieval exemplum to contemporary moralistic masterplots. In iNARR, the work of the Tampere team is partly grounded on the ongoing project Dangers of Narrative: Contemporary Story-Critical Narratology (Kone Foundation 2017–2020), led by Mäkelä.

Keywords: viral storytelling, exemplum, post-truth, story-critical narratology, applied narratology


Bo Pettersson is Professor of the Literature of the United States at Department of Languages, University of Helsinki. He has published widely on Anglo-American and other literature in relation to literary, narrative and metaphor theory, including How Literary Worlds Are Shaped. A Comparative Poetics of Literary Imagination (De Gruyter 2016; paperback 2018). His assignments include having served on the boards of The Finnish Doctoral School (later Programme) for Literary Studies, The Fulbright Commission in Finland, The Swedish Literature Society in Finland, The International Association for Comparative Literature’s Committee on Theory and The International Association for Literary Semantics as well as on the editorial boards of Nordic Journal of English Studies and Journal of Literary Semantics. In 2010, he was elected member of The Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters. Currently he is exploring animals and plants in literature as well as interarts (text/image/music), we-narratives and graphic fiction.

Keywords: animal studies, critical plant studies, narrative studies, cognitive literary studies, interart studies


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Photo by Veikko Somerpuro (HY)

Dr Merja Polvinen, the Principal Investigator of the Helsinki Team, works as a Senior Lecturer in English Philology and Docent in Comparative Literature at the University of Helsinki. She is a former Core Fellow of the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, and a member of research networks on Cognitive Futures in the Arts and Humanities, The Place of the Cognitive in Literary Study (NOS-HS 2018-2019) and Narrative and Complexity (University of York). Her research interests are in cognitive narratology, specifically in the 4E-approaches, and the issues of form, artificiality and literary self-reflection. Her dissertation on chaos theory and literature came out in 2008, and recent articles on cognitive approaches to literary self-reflection appear in the volumes Cognitive Literary Science (OUP, 2017), The Edinburgh Companion to Contemporary Narrative Theories (Edinburgh UP, 2018) and Narrative and Complex Systems (Springer, forthcoming). In iNARR Polvinen will be focusing on the idea of enacted forms of narrative as cognitive ecologies.

Keywords: cognitive narratology, speculative fiction, self-reflection, artifice, nonhuman


raipolaJuha Raipola (PhD) is a Senior Lecturer of Finnish Literature at the University of Tampere (2018-2019). His current research is centered on questions of narrative in the field of environmental humanities, with a special focus on the limits of narrative form in relationship to the complexity of global ecological issues. Raipola has published articles on posthumanism, ecocriticism, and genre theory. He is currently working on a monograph about the current trend of eco-dystopian sensibility in contemporary Finnish fiction.

Keywords: environmental humanities, climate narratives, narrative and science, disaster narratives, speculative fiction


roine.pngHanna-Riikka Roine is a researcher interested in all things speculative in art and entertainment. Her expertise lies in the thorough understanding of contemporary narrative theory, game and digital media studies, and research on modern fan cultures. So far, Roine’s work (e.g., her doctoral dissertation in 2016) has engaged with the role of narrative in complex environments that integrate more than one medium, narrative’s relationship to other forms of meaning-making, and the ways in which users engage with art and entertainment. She has also contributed to the study of the aesthetic and rhetoric of contemporary speculative fiction across media. Roine’s current research interests include the transformative effect of the digital turn on both art and our society, the relationship between narrative and emergence and complexity, and developing a more user- and experience-based narratology. Until August 2020, Roine works as a Core Fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies.

Keywords: narratology, digital media, networked culture, speculative fiction


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Photo by Amira Wiander

Esko Suoranta is a PhD candidate at the Department of Languages, University of Helsinki. He analyzes the ways in which contemporary speculative fiction depicts and interprets information societies in the context of late capitalism. From an enactivist approach to literary studies, the technocritical novels of his corpus can be seen to affect the formation of experience and as cognitive environments that can create affordances for understanding abstract and complex phenomena. He argues that fictional worlds and a reader’s cognition engage in an allegorical interaction, where a fictional character’s struggle for agency in near-future environments, for example, can create understanding of similar challenges readers face in their physical environment. Suoranta has published two articles on William Gibson’s late oeuvre in Fafnir – The Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research. His research interests include speculative fiction, postmodernism, posthumanism, cognitive literary studies, and narratology.

Keywords: contemporary speculative fiction, affordance, allegory, late capitalism


Jouni_naamaJouni Teittinen, MA, is a comparatist whose expertise lies in the fields of post-apocalyptic literature, ecocriticism and human-animal studies. He is currently finalizing his dissertation, in Comparative Literature at the University of Turku, on issues of time and temporality in mainly anglophone post-apocalyptic literature after WW2. The dissertation particularly focuses on how the narrative and existential perspective of the future anterior (“what will have been”) is inflected by the thematics of nostalgia, trauma and melancholia in how we relate to fictions of destroyed futures. Teittinen’s publications include “Passing the Cattle Car: Anthropomorphism, Animal Suffering, and James Agee’s ‘A Mother’s Tale’” (Affect, Space and Animals, Routledge 2016) and “Mikä ihmiselle kuuluu. Humanismi, kysymys eläimestä ja kärsivien piiri” (Posthumanismi, Eetos 2014). He has served as the chair of the Finnish Association for Human-Animal Studies and given papers, besides post-apocalypse and animals, on Emerson and American romanticism.

Keywords: anthropocene, destroyed futures, future anterior, poetics and philosophy of event


essivaris_inarrEssi Varis, PhD, is a creative post-doctoral researcher with a strong background in narrative theory and comics studies. Her doctoral dissertation, which she defended at the University of Jyväskylä in 2019, suggested a new cognitive approach to multimodal fictional characters. In her current project, Varis explores the enactive workings of imagination as well as the continuum between fantastical and scientific speculation. Always interested in experimenting with different research materials and methodologies, she also strives to bring the verbal and the visual to a closer, more fruitful dialogue within the framework of cognitive narrative studies. Her secondary interests include Gothic and Japanese fiction, nonhuman narratives and transmedia. Varis works in close collaboration with the Helsinki team, with personal three-year funding from Finnish Cultural Foundation.

Keywords: (enactive) speculation, cognitive narrative studies, fantastical fiction, visual storytelling