Researchers and artists associated with the University of Helsinki Environmental Humanities Hub
Head of University of Helsinki Environmental Humanities Hub
Director, Helsinki University Humanities Program
McDonnell Douglas Professor of American Studies (Department of World Cultures, University of Helsinki); Docent of Environmental History (University of Tampere)
Affiliate Faculty (Center for the History of Agriculture, Science, and the Environment of the South, Mississippi State University)
Coordinator for University of Helsinki Environmental Humanities
Grant-funded Researcher at Department of Cultures, University of Helsinki
Viktor Pál received his PhD at the University of Tampere, in 2015. Currently, he works on his research project "Pour Me a Cold One: A Cold War History of Beverage Containers" funded by the Kone Foundation, 2019-2021. His first book "Technology and the Environment in State-socialist Hungary: An Economic History" was published in 2017.
Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies
University Lecturer in North American Studies (on Leave until 2020)
Docent of North American Studies, University of Helsinki,
Docent of General History, University of Tampere
Peter Alan Clark is a British historian. Since 2000, he was professor of European urban history at the University of Helsinki. He retired in 2011.
Clark was educated at Balliol College, Oxford and graduated (Modern History first class) in 1966. He started his career as a research fellow at Magdalen College, Oxford. He was then lecturer, reader and later professor of economic and social history at the University of Leicester. From 1985 to 1999, he was the first director of the Centre for Urban History of the University of Leicester.
In 1989, he was co-founder (with Bernard Lepetit and Herman Diederiks) of the European Association for Urban History and served as its Treasurer from 1989 to 2010. He was also Secretary of International Commission for the History of Towns 1993 to 1995.
He has contributed to a number of publications, including the Cambridge Urban History of Britain. Clark is a member of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters and a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, of which he was a Council member from 1991 to 1995. He was elected a member of the Academy of Europe in 2010 and the Royal Belgian Academy (Flemish) in 2015. He was awarded an Honorary Degree of Philosophy by Stockholm University in 2012.
Reetta Toivanen is a HELSUS professor of sustainability science. She explores the sustainable wellbeing of indigenous peoples as well as the relationship between local contexts and human rights. Her current research project focuses on the Arctic region, but she also intends to conduct comparative research elsewhere. She is interested in the global future of natural subsistence economies and their relationship with the maintenance of cultures and languages.
Toivanen is the deputy director of the Centre of Excellence in Law, Identity and the European Narratives (EuroStorie) as well as the leader of the All Youth Want to Rule Their World (ALL-YOUTH) research project funded by the Academy of Finland’s Strategic Research Council.
Veli-Pekka Tynkkynen is associate professor in Russian environmental studies at Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki. He is also an adjunct professor in Russian energy and natural-resource policy, The Finnish National Defence U. He leads several academic research projects and a team of 14 researchers that focus on energy and environmental policies; energy security; energy, societal power and culture in Russia and the post-socialist space.
His recent publications include: “The Environment of an Energy Giant – Climate discourse framed by ‘hydrocarbon culture’”, In Poberezhskaya & Ashe (eds.) Climate Change Discourse in Russia: past and present, Routledge (2018); Tynkkynen, V-P. et al. (eds.) Russia’s Far North: The Contested Energy Frontier, Routledge (2018); “Climate Denial revisited: (Re)contextualising Russian Public Discourse on Climate Change during Putin 2.0” (with N. Tynkkynen), Europe-Asia Studies, (2018); “Energy as Power—Gazprom, Gas Infrastructure, and Geo-Governmentality in Putin’s Russia”, Slavic Review 75, 2 (2016); “Sports fields and corporate governmentality: Gazprom’s all-Russian gas program as energopower”, in Koch (ed.) Critical geographies of sport, Routledge (2016); “Russia's climate policies and local reality” (with Skryzhevska & Leppänen), Polar Geography, 38: 2, 146-170 (2015); “Russian bioenergy and the EU’s renewable energy goals: perspectives of security”, in Oxenstierna & Tynkkynen (eds.) Russian Energy and Security up to 2030, 95-113. Routledge (2013).
Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen (PhD in Latin American Studies) is Associate Professor of Indigenous Studies at the University of Helsinki. Her current research interests include long-term human-environment relationality in the Amazon, epistemological pluralism, and decolonization of the Anthropocene. Her publications include numerous monographs, edited books and articles on Amazonian biocultural landscapes, Indigenous politics and leadership, human–environment interactions, mobility, and youthhood. Virtanen is the author of Indigenous Youth in Brazilian Amazonia: Changing Lived Worlds (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012), and co-editor of Creating Dialogues: Indigenous Perceptions and Changing Forms of Leadership in Amazonia (Colorado University Press, 2017). Since 2003, she has carried out various community projects in Brazilian Amazonia and led research projects on Indigenous research methodologies and future imaginations, among others. Virtanen is a steering committee member of Helsus (Helsinki Institute for Sustainability Science) and UNA-Europa (University Alliance Europe)’s Sustainability cluster, board member of Society for the Anthropology of Lowland South America, and editorial board member of Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology. She has been a visiting scholar at the universities of São Paulo, Paris Nanterre, Bremen, and Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts. In addition to her research interests, she has co-authored various Indigenous school materials. Virtanen coordinates global Indigenous Studies program at the UH and collaborates closely with Sámi studies.
Dmitry V. Arzyutov is a doctoral candidate at KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Stockholm, Sweden) and Honorary Research Fellow at the Department of Anthropology of Aberdeen University (UK). He holds PhD in Anthropology (St Petersburg, Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography) and is working on his second doctorate in the History of Science and Environment. He has published extensively in Russian, English and French on indigenous religions in South Siberia, environmental anthropology and history of the Russian Arctic, history of Russian/Soviet anthropology in a transnational context, and visual anthropology.
Alla Bolotova is a post-doctoral researcher on the “Live, Work or Leave? Youth – wellbeing and the viability of (post) extractive Arctic industrial cities in Finland and Russia” project at the Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki. She also works as a research associate at Center for Arctic Social Studies, European University St Petersburg. Alla's research focuses on human—environmental interaction in the Arctic and on sense of place in northern industrial communities.
Dr. Dorothée Cambou is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki,
Faculty of Arts and member of Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Sciences.
Currently, the main focus of her research lies in international law and human rights
concerning more particularly the rights of local communities and indigenous peoples.
She also has an expertise in the field of resource governance, business and human
rights as well as Arctic studies. She holds a PhD of laws from the Vrije Universiteit
Brussel where she defended a thesis on the legal significance of the right of
indigenous peoples to self-determination and its implications for the Sámi people. She
is also the co-editor of Society, Environment and Human Security in the Arctic
Barents Region published by Routledge in 2018 and the special editor of the
Yearbook of Polar Law, vol. 10 published by Brill-Nijhoff. At the moment, she leads
a network project on “the implementation of the rights of the Indigenous Sámi people
as a means to achieve inclusive and sustainable development in the Nordic countries”,
financed by the Nordic Research Council and co-chairs the Nordic Network for Sámi
and Indigenous Peoples Law (NORSIL). She is also a steering member of the
Thematic Network on Arctic Sustainable Resources and Social Responsibility and
teaches international law and the rights of indigenous peoples at the University of
Cheryl J. Fish, PH.D., MFA, is a scholar, fiction writer, and poet, a Docent in the Department of Cultures at University of Helsinki and Professor of English at Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York. She was a Fulbright professor at University of Tampere in 2007, and since then has written and lectured on Sami film, cultural identity, responses to extractivism, as well as environmental justice in American contexts, through film, photography, arts, and eco-media. She was a co-organizer of the April, 2019, seminar, "The Arts for Justice: Indigenous Coalition Building and Artistic Practices," co-sponsored by Indigenous Studies and Environmental Humanities Programs at University of Helsinki and University of Arts Helsinki.
Fish's publications include essays on Sami filmmakers Liselotte Wajstedt and Johs Kalvemo in the collections Rivers to Cross (Umeå University Press)
and Critical Norths: Space Nature, Theory (University of Alaska Press) and on Wajstedt's Kiruna films and Marja Helander's "Silence' series of photographs in the recent collection Nordic Narratives of Nature and Environment (Lexington Books). Fish is the author of Black and White Women’s Travel Narratives: Antebellum Explorations, and co-edited the anthology A Stranger in the Village: Two Centuries of African American Travel Writing. She has published essays on Judith Helfand's film Blue Vinyl and Ruth Ozeki's environmental fiction in the journal MELUS, and on teaching in The MLA's volume Approaches to Teaching North American Environmental Literature; her essay on representations of “Environmental Terrorism” in Direct-Action Protest in U.S. Literature and in Law, was published in Finnish in the first collection of Finnish Eco-criticism, Äänekäs kevät. Fish has also written on critical race studies, gender studies, and green architecture in a Harlem collaboration by June Jordan and Buckminster Fuller for the journal Discourse. She has been writer-in-residence at Kulttuuri Kauppila in Ii, Finland and has published poems on sauna and spirituality.
Emma Hakala is a Visiting Senior Fellow at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs and a member of the BIOS Research Unit. She gained D.Soc.Sci. degree from the University of Helsinki in 2018, and her doctoral dissertation focused on the securitisation of environment driven by international organisations in post-Conflict Western Balkans.
Hakala’s broader research interest is on environmental security and the geopolitics of climate change. Previously, she has focused for example on environmental citizenship, local water sustainability cooperation and emerging practices to respond to environmental security threats.
She will also be working on the project "Toxic Crimes: Human Rights, Legal Activism, and the Destruction of the Environment during Conflict", led by Freek van der Vet at the University of Helsinki.
Matti O. Hannikainen received his doctoral degree at the University of Helsinki in 2014. Currently he works
as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki. His research interests covers both environmental
and urban history in the modern period.
C. Parker Krieg is a postdoctoral fellow in environmental humanities at the University of Helsinki, affiliated with the Humanities Programme in the Faculty of Arts and the Helsinki Institute for Sustainability Science. His research and teaching focuses on twentieth and twenty-first century American literature and culture, environmental justice, and cultural memory. He is a member of the Humanities for the Environment (Circumpolar Observatory), and a Helsinki-team member of the Academy of Finland consortium "iNARR: Instrumental Narratives." He is currently at work on a monograph, A Flexible World: Literature and Environment in the Post-Fordist Era.
Emmi Lahti is a linguist and a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki, Faculty of Arts, and a member of Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Sciences. She holds a PhD in Finnish language. Her research interests include argumentation, critical discourse analysis and ecolinguistics, and her current research deals with environmental discourse. The aim of the current research is to examine what kind of argumentation strategies and rhetorical devices are used in discourse on biodiversity, and how these strategies and features construe the view of nature and environment.
A PhD Candidate in Social and Cultural Anthropology in the University of Helsinki. Based on ethnographic knowledge production the thesis discusses about large scale environmental conservation processes and the Tsimihety, the people who live in the vicinities of the national park in rural Northeast Madagascar, perceptions of and practices in relation to large scale natural resource use processes.
Researcher in ALL-YOUTH project: On the path to independence (In Finnish: Itsenäistymisen tiellä) –research project is a collaborative project with the Finnish Red CrossEmergency youth shelters and Kotipolku –project. The aim is to valorise the dynamics between young people’s agency, structural arrangements as well as prevailing normative understandings on youth transitions through young adults’ life narratives.
Research Fellow, University of Helsinki, Environmental Humanities Programme and Indigenous Studies
Honorary Research Fellow, University of Aberdeen, Department of Anthropology
Minna Valjakka is Senior Lecturer of Art History in the University of Helsinki. She also holds a Title of Docent (habilitation) in Art History and Asian Studies at the University of Helsinki and Title of Docent in East Asian Studies, specifically Urban Studies at the University of Turku.
In her interdisciplinary research project, Shades of Green (funded by the Academy of Finland, 2020-24), Minna focuses on artistic and creative practices at the nexus of environmental issues, translocal mediations, and transformations in arts and cultural policies. Her recent publications include journal articles in, among others, City, Culture and Society; Cultural Studies; and Urban Design International. She has also not only contributed to edited volumes but also co-edited some, such as the award-winning Enemmän kuin puoli taivasta (Art House 2016), and Visual Arts, Representations, and Interventions in Contemporary China: Urbanized Interface (AUP, 2018). Minna lives and works in between Finland and East and South East Asia.
Dr. Freek van der Vet is a University Researcher at the Erik Castrén Institute of International Law and Human Rights, University of Helsinki. He is the PI of the "Toxic Crimes" research group on legal activism against wartime environmental destruction (funded by the Academy of Finland and Kone Foundation). Furthermore, his past research concerned strategic litigation in international courts, legal mobilization under authoritarianism, and the protection of human rights defenders. His academic work appears in Law & Society Review, Law & Social Inquiry, Europe-Asia Studies, The International Journal of Human Rights, Social & Legal Studies, Human Rights Review, and the Review of Central and East European Law, among others. He is a member and co-initiator of the international network "ActInCourts" (Activists in International Courts), an emerging international network of human rights practitioners and scholars who work on the involvement of NGOs and lawyers at international courts around the world. The project is funded by a Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Partnership Development Grant.
Katerina Velentza is a maritime archaeologist with a PhD in Archaeology from the Centre of Maritime Archaeology in the University of Southampton, UK. Currently she is working as a grant-funded researcher at the Department of Cultures of the University of Helsinki. Her project ‘Re-imagining the use of traditional watercraft in the Aegean Sea for a sustainable environment and economy’, funded by the Kone Foundation (Koneen Säätiö) for three years, explores the possible re-introduction of traditional, non-polluting watercraft in the Aegean Sea, in Greece, as a step towards a more sustainable environment and economy in the region. Katerina’s project is also affiliated with the Integrated History and Future of People on Earth (IHOPE), a global network of researchers studying human and Earth system history on behalf of our future.
As an archaeologist Katerina has conducted research in several archaeological projects and museums of the Mediterranean region, the UK and the Baltic Sea. Her research interests range from subjects of terrestrial and maritime archaeology from the period of Classical Antiquity to issues of modern maritime history and ethnography. She is an advocate for sustainability and taking action to confront the climate emergency. With her research she hopes to encourage further cooperation and dialogue between the humanities, science and the general public.
Veronica Walker Vadillo is a postdoctoral researcher and PI of the “The Ports and Harbours of Southeast Asia: human-environment entanglements in Early Modern maritime trade networks”, a Three-Year Research Grant project funded by the University of Helsinki. She holds a BA+MA in Spanish and European History (2005, Universidad de Alcala), an MA in Maritime Archaeology (2008, UCL, UK), and a DPhil in archaeology (2017, St. Cross College, Oxford Centre for Maritime Archaeology, University of Oxford, UK), after which she earned a position at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (2018-2020). Since completing her MA, Walker Vadillo’s work has been devoted to Southeast Asia, looking specifically at the role of waterways in the development of the Angkor Empire. She has successfully applied the Maritime Cultural Landscape perspective for the first time in the Mekong, a fruitful approach that enabled her to further our knowledge on the study of human responses to amphibious landscapes and tease out Angkor’s fluvial (riverine) cultural landscape. Her prior work at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies centred on human-environment interactions in the Mekong river, especially in regards to fish migration patterns, fishing economies, and the rise of social complexity in the first millennia CE. The Ports and Harbours of Southeast Asia is a progression of her work on shipping logistics and the social processes involved in establishing shipping networks. She is developing a new framework for the study of maritime networks that revolves around the use of environmental approaches like historical ecology and human ecodynamics.
Walker Vadillo is a very active member of the maritime archaeology community of Southeast Asia. She has been in the scientific committee of the Asia-Pacific Regional conference on Underwater Cultural Heritage since 2011, and a member of the organizing committee since 2012. She has organized numerous workshops, sessions, conferences, and seminars on maritime archaeology, including the Ancient Maritime World Seminar of the Oxford School of Archaeology, the 4th Postgrad Conference in Conflict Archaeology (University of Oxford), and the Maritime Archaeology Graduate Symposium MAGS (University of Southampton/University of Oxford), and is currently in the organizing committee of IKUWA 7, the largest conference on underwater and maritime archaeology. She is also the co-editor of the BAR Publishing series “Cultural Studies in Maritime and Underwater Archaeology. You can find her now every other Monday during term time at the webinar she coordinates: Down by the Water: Global Conversations in Maritime Archaeology.