My main research interests concern questions pertaining to cultural encounters and interreligious dialogue, ethnographic research methodology with cultural studies as well as contemporary Judaism. I am especially interested in the relationship between the arts (particularly music) and religion. Chronologically, I work predominantly with contemporary religion, combining ethnographic research methods with content analysis and approaches deriving from the philosophy of religion.
Since 2016, I have been, together with Associate Professor Karin Hedner Zetterholm (Lund University), editor of the scholarly journal Nordisk judaistik / Scandinavian Jewish Studies.
I am also the director of the research project Boundaries of Jewish Identities in Contemporary Finland finansed by the Polin Institute.
Research fields and issues I have worked with include:
- Interreligious dialogue: Ethnographic research on interreligious dialogue especially in the world of art.
- Religion and the arts: Ethnographic and theoretical research on art and religion, religion in art and art (especially music) as a platform for expressing religious identities.
- Contemporary Judaism: Ethnographic research on progressive Judaism in today’s Europe with particular focus on the role of music as an instigator of change in contemporary identity processes.
- Dialogue philosophy: Interpreting Jewish dialogue philosophy and its importance for cultural and interreligious dialogue in practice.
- Religion and change in Finland: Ethnographic, theoretical and methodological research on religious diversity in contemporary Finland related to the research project PCCR and the Church Research Institute’s survey of multi-religious Finland in connection with Finland’s centenary in 2017.
- Intercultural communication: Development of theories and methods for researching ICC from a humanistic point of view.
- Ethnographic research on religion and methodology: Methodological reflections on hermeneutics and methodology for contemporary ethnographic research on religion.
- Docent (Associate Professor), History of Religions, Uppsala University (29.5 2018).
- Docent(Associate Professor), Comparative Religion, Åbo Akademi University (11.8 2006).
- Doctor of Theology, Åbo Akademi University (30.11 2018). Jewish studies.
- Doctor of Philosophy, Åbo Akademi University (18.6 2004). Comparative religion
- Master of Theology, Åbo Akademi University (31.5 2015). Jewish studies
- Master of Arts, Åbo Akademi University (12.5 2000). Comparative religion.
- Information Studies(60 credits), Åbo Akademi University (qualification for librarian), 2012.
Director, the Donner Institute for Research in Religious and Cultural History, Turku, Finland (start: June 2013). Leading the work at the institute, including research and library facilities, own research, arranging of conferences and networks, granting scholarships, academic publishing: www.donnerinstitute.fi/en
Previous Work Experience
- Postdoctoral Researcher, the Donner Institute (1.4 2010-31.3 2013).
- Research Doctor, Academy of Finland (1.3 2007-31.3 2010).
- Senior Lecturer of Comparative Religion, Åbo Akademi University, Finland (1.8 2008-31.7 2009).
- Research Fellow, Tampere Peace Research Institute, University of Tampere (1.8 2005-31.3 2010, leave of absence due to Academy of Finland project).
- Postdoctoral Researcher, Åbo Akademi University, Finland (1.6 2005-31.7 2005).
- Doctoral student, Åbo Akademi University, Finland (1.8 2000-31.12 2004). Funded by scholarships 2000-2002, Graduate School of Cultural Interpretations, Academy of Finland, 2003-2004.
- MA Student, Åbo Akademi University, Finland (1.9 1995–31.5 2000). Major subject: Comparative religion.
Visiting Research Fellowships:
- Visiting Research Fellow, Florida Southern College, Lakeland, USA (Jan 2011)
- Visiting Research Fellow, Swedish Theological Institute, Jerusalem, Israel (March 2010)
- Visiting Research Fellow, Universität Basel, Religionswissenschaft, Switzerland (Nov-Dec 2009)
- Visiting Doctoral Student, Uppsala University, Sweden (Aug-Dec 2002). Doctoral studies at the Faculty of Theology (funded by Nordisk Forskerutdanningsakademi, NorFa)