Keynote speakers

The seventh international symposium of the Finnish Oral History Network FOHN will focus on the notions of power, authority, and voice in the context of oral history from critical contemporary perspective. The keynote speakers are Urvashi Butalia (Delhi, India), Erin Jessee (University of Glasgow, Scotland, UK), Jonna Katto (Ghent University, Belgium), and Riikka Taavetti (University of Helsinki, Finland).

Urvashi Butalia is co founder of Kali for Women, India's first feminist publishing house, set up in 1984. In 2003, when Kali shut down, she set up Zubaan, also a feminist house, of which she is now Director. She is also an independent researcher and writer as well as a longstanding activist in the women's movement in India. Among her best known books is the award-winning oral history of the Partition of India, The Other Side of Silence: Voices from the Partition of India (winner of the Oral History Book Association Award and the Nikkei Asia Award). She writes widely, in books, magazines, journals and newspapers on a range of issues related to gender and history. She has won several awards, including the French Chevalier des Lettres et des Artes, the German Goethe Medaille and the Indian Padmashri. She lives and works in Delhi.

Erin Jessee is a Lord Kelvin Adam Smith Research Fellow in History at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. Her research relies on the use of oral historical and ethnographic methods to engage with civilians’ experiences of genocide and related mass atrocities, particularly in Rwanda and Bosnia-Herzegovina. She is the author of Negotiating Genocide in Rwanda: The Politics of History (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), and has published peer-reviewed articles with Medical History, Memory Studies, Conflict and Society, Oral History Review, History in Africa, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, and Forensic Science International, among others. Read more about Erin Jessee's work on her personal webpage.

Jonna Katto is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie postdoctoral fellow in African Studies at Ghent University. She obtained her PhD from the University of Helsinki in 2017. Her first book, Women’s Lived Landscapes of War and Liberation in Mozambique: Bodily Memory and the Gendered Aesthetics of Belonging (2019), appeared in the Routledge Studies in the Modern History of Africa series. She has also written on emotions in history-telling and the sensory aesthetics of food memories. Her current research focuses on time and change in African gender history, and especially on the ways that the deeper past echoes and is reworked in oral history encounters in the present.

PhD Riikka Taavetti works as postdoctoral researcher in political history at the University of Helsinki. Her current work on the history of Finnish sex research is part of a research project titled Power, Politics, and Sexuality funded by the Kone Foundation (2018-2020, PI Senior Lecturer Hanna Kuusi). Taavetti defended in 2018 her doctoral dissertation on queer personal and cultural memories in Finland and Estonia. Her research interests include queer history, history of sexuality, oral history, cultural memory studies, archival science, and history of feminism. Read more about Riikka Taavetti's work on her personal webpage.