Helsinki University Humanities Programme

Helsinki University Humanities Programme (2017–2020) is aimed at visiting international professors and postdoctoral researchers.


  • To establish collaboration with the world’s leading researchers;
  • To expanding research cooperation networks;
  • To create new research openings; and
  • To produce co-authored articles for top-level journals.

The programme will bolster the international dimension of the University’s research environment.

The Faculty has invited seven high quality postdoctoral researchers for the chosen themes, Indigenous Cultures and Languages and Environmental Humanities, and five visiting professors and three postdoctoral researchers associated with visiting professors' research areas.

All HUH researcher positions are currently filled, and any vacant posts will be announced. 

Doctor of Philosophy Justin Begley defended his doctoral dissertation on the intellectual history of the early modern period in 2017 at the University of Oxford, UK, where he also studied philosophy and literature. His thesis is about the seventeenth-century poet, playwright and natural philosopher, Margaret Cavendish.

Out of his PhD work evolved his current research on the ways in which Aristotelian and Galenic thought were expanded and synthesised with other intellectual systems during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, particularly in England.

Dr Begley comes from the University of Toronto, Canada, and his research at the Helsinki University Humanities Programme will be centrally concerned with how the earlier mentioned traditions shaped outlooks on animal life in early modern natural and moral philosophy. Whereas scholarly discussions of animals during this period have often swung between the poles of Montaigne’s championing of animal consciousness and the Cartesian bête machine, Dr Begley’s work will establish that the more traditional and learned canons remained the chief sites of debate for the threateningly porous boundary between animal and human forms into the eighteenth century.

Dr Begley is working in HUH from 1.10.2017 to 31.09.2021.

Justin Begley’s Research Profile in the University of Helsinki’s Research Portal

Doctor of Laws Dorothée Cambou defended her doctoral dissertation in international law at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in 2016. In her research Dr Cambou concentrates on international law, human rights, indigenous peoples and minority law, business and human rights, environmental law and arctic research.

Currently Dr Cambou is working on an independent research project concerning energy justice and the rights of indigenous peoples as well as a collaborative project called Hus-Arctic: Human Security in the Arctic.

At the Helsinki University Humanities Programme Dr Cambou will examine human rights. Within the energy transition context, substantial problems of affirming the human rights of indigenous peoples appear at the national level. On the one hand, indigenous communities in the North suffer from a lack of clean and reliable energy, which undermine their sustainable development. On the other hand, the development and use of renewable energy requires significant infrastructures that have their own environmental and social impacts. Against this background, the purpose of her study is to examine the human rights implications of the impacts of renewable energy projects on the rights of indigenous peoples living in the Arctic and provides recommendations for the way forward in order to ensure that renewable energy can contribute to the achievement of sustainable development for all, including indigenous peoples.

Dr Cambou is working in HUH from 1.1.2018 to 31.12.2020.

Dorothée Cambou’s Research Profile in the University of Helsinki’s Research Portal

Dr Maria Khachaturyan defended her doctoral dissertation at INaLCO, France in 2014. Her research in linguistics was a grammar of Mano (Southern Mande) in a typological perspective. From 2015 to 2017 she was a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley.

Dr Khachaturyan’s main descriptive focus is the Mano ethnic group and their language: 400,000 speakers in Guinea and Liberia. She has been doing fieldwork among the Mano people since 2009. In 2015, she published a grammar of Mano. She is interested in the anthropology of religion, linguistic anthropology, linguistic documentation, (historical) syntax, typology and the study of deictic categories, specifically temporal and spatial/cognitive deixis, in the interactional context.

At the Helsinki University Humanities Programme Dr Khachaturyan is working on a reference grammar of Mano, an online corpus of annotated texts and a dictionary, as well as on several descriptive, theoretical, historical and comparative studies related in one way or another to the Mano language. Furthermore, she is studying the religious register of Mano Catholics. This project opens up to a study of the multi-century history of ethnolinguistic and religious contact, trade and conversions (to Islam and Christianity) in Guinea and, more broadly, in West Africa. She is working on a comparative and collaborative project on language contact and change in Christian and broader religious contexts. Finally, she is working on a theoretical project studying the linguistics, anthropology and philosophy of performative speech acts.

Dr Khachaturyan is working in HUH from 1.9.2017 to 31.8.2020.

Maria Khachaturyan’s Research Profile in the University of Helsinki’s Research Portal

Dr C. Parker Krieg received his doctorate from the University of Oregon in 2016, where he researched contemporary American literature and the environment. His dissertation, “Nature Industries: US Environmental Literature after Fordism, 1971–2011”, traced transformations in ecological narratives in the light of post-Fordist transformations in the political economy.

Dr Parker Krieg's current work bridges cultural memory studies and the environmental humanities to explore the status of material archives in literary texts. It traces the connections between the narrative and the material archive across three dimensions: 1) the retention of “difficult” social-environmental pasts, 2) transnational geographies shaped by various modes of anticipation and 3) the posthuman technics of memory. He is a member of the Circumpolar Observatory in the Humanities for the Environment (HfE) project.

Dr Krieg is working in HUH from 1.9.2017 to 31.8.2020.

C. Parker Krieg’s Research Profile in the University of Helsinki’s Research Portal

PhD in Anthropology Laura Siragusa defended her doctoral dissertation at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland in 2012. In her doctoral studies, Dr Siragusa was able to demonstrate the benefits and tensions of specific language ideologies, which consider literacy a step further in the hierarchy of a language. Her dissertation was entitled “Vepsian Language: Speaking and Writing Heritage Language in Villages and Cities”.

Dr Siragusa's research interests comprise questions related to the revival of heritage languages, language ecology, verbal art and its relations to non-human animals and other beings, domestication, and health. Since 2008 she has been working with Veps, a Finno-Ugric minority, in northwestern Russia. While her initial interest regarded the promotion of the Vepsian heritage language, she later augmented her focus to verbal art and healing practices and human–animal relations as expressed in the language. In 2015 Dr Siragusa also began working with Saami in the Kola peninsula, Russia, where she investigates domestication, reindeer herding practices and health.

In the HUH Programme Dr Siragusa is working on three main projects: 1. the links between (indigenous) ways of speaking and environmental change, 2. language responsibility, and 3. the indigenous conceptualisation of sustainability.

The most rewarding achievements during her appointment at the University of Helsinki have been the publication of her book in 2017 on the revival of the Vepsian language, entitled Promoting Heritage Language in Northwest Russia (Routledge), and the opportunity to organise a seminar on indigenous language materiality in June 2018, which was supported by the Future Development Fund at the Faculty of Arts. These can be added to a close cooperation with the Indigenous Studies programme, where she not only teaches, but also contributes to the running of miscellaneous events to reach out both academic and public audiences (e.g., the Indigenous Heritage conference in November 2017).

Dr Siragusa is working in HUH from 1.9.2017 to 31.8.2020.

Laura Siragusa’s Research Profile in the University of Helsinki’s Research Portal

Stef Spronck, PhD, is a linguist with a particular interest in the indigenous languages of Australia. Dr Spronck defended his doctoral dissertation on linguistics at the Australian National University in 2016. After completing his PhD, he worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Leuven, and he has come to the HUH programme from the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Since 2008 Dr Spronck has been working with the Ngarinyin people of the western Kimberley region to document and describe their language, which, like most Australian Aboriginal languages, is severely endangered. He is currently also studying other languages of the Worrorran language family. Stef's research focuses on the relation between sociality and grammar, dealing with questions about how addressivity shapes grammatical categories, what structural means languages have available to express perspective and how they (do not) use them, and the semiotic diversity of language structure. Grammatical topics at the nexus of these interests are reported speech, modality/evidentiality and discourse reference.

Dr Spronck’s ongoing project is called Singers and Composers, and it is funded by a Language Description grant from CoEDL, ANU.

Within the HUH programme Dr Spronck examines reported speech/thought constructions in which a speaker both ascribes a belief to some other speaker (or to herself at an earlier moment in time) and states that this belief is wrong. Such ‘mistaken belief constructions’ invoke multiple, contrasting perspectives at the same time, posing problems for the traditional analyses of speaker perspective in language, yet they remain little studied. Based on his corpus of the Australian language Ungarinyin and related languages within the Australian Worroran family, which he has collected during and since his PhD research, Dr Spronck studies the diversity of uses, meanings and structures involved in expressions of mistaken belief. The aim is to arrive at a detailed examination of how speakers can both represent and comment on other minds within a single clausal/sentential construction, in Australian indigenous languages and beyond, and explore potential implications for linguistic theory and grammatical description.

Dr Spronck is working in HUH from 1.11.2017 to 30.10.2020.

Stef Spronck’s Research Profile in the University of Helsinki’s Research Portal

Inna Sukhenko, PhD, defended her doctoral dissertation at Dnipro National University, Ukraine in 2013. Her research area was philology and the topic was C. Roberts 's Animal Stories within Anglophone Canadian literature formation. Currently she is involved in a research project called Nuclear Narrative within Ecocritical Studies: Local/Global Dimensions of Nuclear Identity Formation.

Dr Sukhenko conducts research on the nuclear narrative, new nuclear criticism, energy humanities and Chernobyl studies. At the Helsinki University Humanities Programme she is focused on studying the concept of ‘nuclear energy’ within nuclear narratives through distinguishing local/global dimensions of shaping the Nuclear Identity (the Nuclear Other, nuclear phobia, etc.), while stressing its implementation in human–society–nature relations in the aspect of “provincialising” ecocritical studies in Eastern European/North American societies in particular. This vision involves finding out the aspects of an ecocritical vision of the concepts ‘nuclear energy’ and ‘nuclear catastrophe’ and even more – studying the techniques of developing nuclear narrative forms under the global/national/regional social needs in post-traumatic societies. She studies the phenomenon of stereotypes of nuclear energy in North American/Eastern European writing practices, from the late Cold War until today, and ecological policies in the context of studying the relation between human beings’ activity and the natural world within the contemporary ecological memory and ecological consciousness, stressing the national features of nuclear fiction against the background of an ecocritical approach to nuclear disaster in the context of studying post-apocalyptic fiction. The transformations of the perceptions of nuclear disaster within energy humanities (Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, nuclear test sites, nuclear war etc) are under discussion within the ecocritical approach to studying the nuclear narrative.

Dr Sukhenko is working in HUH from 1.9.2017 to 31.8.2020.

Inna Sukhenko’s Research Profile in the University of Helsinki’s Research Portal

Dr Arnulf Deppermann is a professor of German Linguistics in the University of Mannheim.

His current research interests lie in intersubjectivity and understanding in social interaction, the coordination of language and other resources in multimodal interaction, interaction in psychotherapy, and semantics in interaction. His ongoing projects include themes such as multimodal interaction, the interactive constitution of German, segmentation of oral corpora and spoken German.

Originally a psychologist by training, Dr Deppermann moved to linguistics because of his interest in how people create meaning and understand each other in social interaction. He is interested in the interplay of language and other resources of bodily interaction in joint action. Currently, he is focusing on how shared interactional histories lay the grounds for smooth and implicit modes of interaction in the future.

While working as a visiting professor at HUH, Dr Deppermann will work on the interactional constitution of meaning, multimodal interaction from a linguistic point of view as well as the comparison of the Finnish, Swedish and German languages to lay bare the linguistic structures and constraints of meaning constitution and to identify facets of meaning.

Professor Deppermann’s HUH period lasts from 1.1.2018 to 31.12.2019.

Arnulf Deppermann’s Research Profile in the University of Helsinki’s Research Portal

Katariina Harjunpää, PhD, is a linguist specialised in the study of social interaction with the methods of conversation analysis and interactional linguistics. Her general research interests include multiparty and multilingual settings, multimodality and grammar in interaction.

Dr Harjunpää defended her doctoral dissertation at the University of Helsinki in 2017. In her PhD study on multilingual interactions between speakers of Finnish and Brazilian Portuguese, Harjunpää investigated how bilingual speakers spontaneously translate the conversation for their co-participants. The study identifies a number of translatory practices in spoken interaction and shows how they are connected to the emergent, situated relevance of language mediation as social action. In addition to linguistic practices, the study investigates the participants’ embodied conduct as involved in the organisation of language mediation.

In the HUH Programme Dr Harjunpää collaborates with visiting professor Arnulf Deppermann to investigate the interactional constitution of meaning through linguistic and embodied resources in various settings, focusing on the participants’ explicit descriptions of meaning as involved in the organisation of the ongoing actions. The main object of research is a six-week theatre workshop of young adults where the participants create a performance together with the instructors. On the basis of video recordings (courtesy of the project Art as Work and Working Tool, they examine, for instance, the emergence of shared meanings in how the participants adopt new artistic concepts in the course of joint exercises.

Dr Harjunpää is working in HUH from 1.1.2018 to 31.12.2020 in association with visiting professor Arnulf Deppermann.

Katariina Harjunpää’s Research Profile in the University of Helsinki’s Research Portal

Dr Johanna Nichols is a Professor Emerita in Slavic languages at the University of California, Berkeley.

Her current research interests lie in the historical linguistic geography of Northern Eurasia, Nakh-Daghestanian languages and Slavic languages. Her ongoing projects are titled the Causative Alternation in Uralic (funded by the Kone Foundation and conducted together with professor Riho Grünthal), Linguistic Time Map of Northern Eurasia, Nakh-Daghestanian Languages, and Slavic Languages.

While working as a visiting professor at HUH, Dr Nichols will work on the two last mentioned projects as well as a historical linguistic geography of Northern Eurasia.

Professor Nichols’s HUH period lasts from 1.8.2017 to 31.7.2019.

Johanna Nichols's Research Profile in the University of Helsinki’s Research Portal

Max Wahlström, PhD, is a linguist, and he defended his doctoral dissertation at the University of Helsinki in 2015. His thesis is titled "Loss of case inflection in Bulgarian and Macedonian".

Wahlström's research deals with a range of topics within diachronic nominal morphosyntax and information structure in South Slavic languages, the languages of the Balkans and across the languages of the world. His main topic is the interplay of argument marking and information structure from dialectological, historical, contact linguistic and typological perspectives. He conducts fieldwork in Eastern Serbia with the speakers of South Slavic Torlak dialects, listed as vulnerable by UNESCO. The crosslinguistic component of the research seeks to understand the variation and areal spread of these phenomena. In addition, his academic interests include the development of literary languages, historical and contemporary socio-linguistics of the Balkan languages, and the history of armed conflicts in Southeastern Europe.

Dr Wahlström’s main international partners are affiliated with the University of Zurich, the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the Russian Academy of Sciences, the University of Oldenburg and the University of Stockholm. His current research in cooperation with other scholars addresses topics such as clitic demonstratives in Timok Torlak, peripheral South Slavic dialects in contact, impersonal constructions at the peripheries of Standard Average European, the typology of argument marking and articles, and the state of the art of areal linguistics.

Dr Wahlström works in HUH in cooperation with Ksenia Shagal and Johanna Nichols, and their research concerns the typology of (non)finiteness in clause combining.

Dr Wahlström is working in HUH from 1.8.2017 to 31.7.2018 in association with visiting professor Johanna Nichols.

Max Wahlström’s Research Profile in the University of Helsinki’s Research Portal


Dr Susanna Fellman is Professor of Business History in the School of Business Economics and Law at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Her research field is business history, and her current main research interests lie in the professionalisation and modernisation of management, competition policy and cartels in a historical perspective, and business interests. She also has an interest in methodological questions, especially the role of the archive within business history. She has recently published a co-edited book with Martin Shanahan: Regulating Competition – Cartel registers in the twentieth-century world (Routledge 2016).

While working as a visiting professor at HUH, Dr Fellman will work on topics such as cartels, competition policy, links between companies and the welfare state, and business–government relations.

Professor Fellman’s HUH period lasts from 1.1.2018 to 31.12.2019.

Susanna Fellman’s Research Profile in the University of Helsinki’s Research Portal

Elina Kuorelahti, PhD, defended her doctoral dissertation at the University of Helsinki in 2018. Her research area was Finnish and Nordic history and the title of her dissertation is “Who wants a cartel? Regulating European timber trade in the nineteen-thirties”.

Dr Kuorelahti studies international cartels and corporatism. At the Helsinki University Humanities Programme Dr Kuorelahti is working on international cartels in the 1930s, the Soviet Union in Western cartels in the 1930s and on Finnish corporatism after 2005.

She is working in HUH from 1.8.2018 to 31.12.2019 in association with visiting professor Susanna Fellman.

Elina Kuorelahti’s Research Profile in the University of Helsinki’s Research Portal

Maiju Wuokko, PhD, is a Finnish political business historian. Her research focuses on the business–politics links and the political activity of Finnish business in post-World War II Finland. Dr Wuokko defended her doctoral dissertation at the University of Helsinki in 2016 on Finnish and Nordic history.

Currently Dr Wuokko is involved in a research project called the Long Engagement: Business and Tripartite Corporatism in Finland, 1940–2010 led by Professor Jensen-Eriksen. The project looks at the long-term development of Finnish employer policies during the era of incomes policy (c. 1960s–1990s).

Dr Wuokko's HUH period lasts from 1.1.2018 to 31.12.2020, but she will be working on another assignment until the end of 2019. Her work is associated with visiting professor Susanna Fellman.

Maiju Wuokko’s Research Profile in the University of Helsinki’s Research Portal

Dr Volker Heyd is a Professor in Archaeology/Prehistoric Archaeology at the University of Helsinki, and was formerly from the University of Bristol. His current interests lie in prehistoric archaeology; scientific archaeology; isotopes; the third millennium BC in Europe; and mobility, identity, ethnicity and ideology. He is working on two projects called Understanding the Prehistoric Peopling of Northeastern Europe and the Yamnaya Impact on Prehistoric Europe.

While working as a visiting professor at HUH, he will work on a research project on the ages of Mesolithic hunter-gatherers, Neolithic pottery hunter-gatherers, early farmers and pastoralists, as well as early metal users (6th–2nd mill. BC) in Finland and northeastern Europe. In the project, prehistoric archaeology will closely collaborate with the disciplines of contemporary and palaeo-genetics, physical and evolutionary anthropology, computational and comparative linguistics, stable and radio isotopes as well as biomolecular geochemistry, and further environmental sciences such as palaeo-ecology and climatology.

Professor Heyd’s HUH period lasts from 1.1.2018 to 31.12.2019.

Volker Heyd’s Research Profile in the University of Helsinki’s Research Portal

Kerkko Nordqvist, PhD, is an archaeologist, mostly focusing on questions of the Stone Age archaeology of Northeastern Europe. His current research aims to study the development, spread and adoption of material cultures, as well as the encounters and mixing of different traditions in the territories of modern-day Finland, northwestern Russia and the Baltic States during the 6th–3rd millennia cal BC.

Nordqvist defended his doctoral dissertation at the University of Oulu in 2018. His research field during his doctoral studies was archaeology, and his thesis is titled "The Stone Age of north-eastern Europe 5500–1800 cal BC. Bridging the gap between the East and the West".

Dr Nordqvist's research at the Helsinki University Humanities Programme (HUH) concentrates on the spread and adoption of particular cultural phenomena and material cultures in northeastern Europe during the Neolithic Stone Age (ca. 5500–1800 cal BC). The focus will be in understanding certain moments or periods, often considered as major turning points of prehistory, such as the adoption of pottery during the Early Neolithic or the arrival of Corded Ware in the beginning of the Late Neolithic, and in studying how the developments reflect pan-regional interactions and changing contact networks, and assumedly also changing mentalities and worldviews.

Dr Nordqvist’s HUH period takes place in 1.4.2018–31.3.2021 in association with visiting professor Volker Heyd.

Kerkko Nordqvist’s Research Profile in the University of Helsinki’s Research Portal

Professor of Assyriology Niek Veldhuis, of the University of California Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Berkeley Institute of Data Science, will work on his research project analysing and annotating the corpus of Babylonian and Assyrian royal inscriptions for syntactical dependencies and creating a substantial tree bank for Akkadian texts. Professor Veldhuis’s project connects with the Centre of Excellence in Ancient Near Eastern Empires (ANEE 2018–2025), directed by Dr Saana Svärd.

Johannes Bach, DPhil, works in the fields of Assyriology; literary theory and methodology; and inter- and transtextuality. He comes to HUH from the department Geistes- und Kulturwissenschaften in Freie Universtität Berlin, Germany.

Dr Bach defended his doctoral dissertation at Freie Universtität Berlin in 2017. His thesis in Assyriology is titled "Transtextual poetics of Assyrian royal narrative texts". Currently he is a member of the Centre of Excellence in Ancient Near Eastern Empires in the Digital Humanities group, and his ongoing project works on building an online database/dictionary of narrative elements of Assyrian royal narrative texts.

Bach's research at the Helsinki University Humanities Programme deals with the themes mentioned above as well as masculinities in royal narrative texts, with editions of a couple of Middle Assyrian royal narrative texts (KAR 128+129; Adad-narar epic).

Dr Bach is working in HUH from 1.2.2018 to 31.1.2021 in association with visiting professor Niek Veldhuis.

Johannes Bach’s Research Profile in the University of Helsinki’s Research Portal

Professor Mikko Saikku is the Director of the Helsinki University Humanities Programme (HUH). He is the McDonnell Douglas Professor of American Studies and the current President of the Nordic Association for American Studies. He is a founding member of the European Society for Environmental History (ESEH) and has served in the society's Nominations Committee and as a regional representative for the Nordic countries.  His research and teaching interests include American and Canadian Studies; environmental humanities, especially environmental history; and the history and culture of the southern United States. He is happy to provide additional information on the HUH programme and its aims at

Mikko Saikku’s Research Profile in the University of Helsinki’s Research Portal