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Personal profile

Research interests

Curriculum Vitae (12/2022)

List of Publications (12/2022)

Keynotes and Conference Presentations (12/2022)

Current position

Director, the Donner Institute for Research in Religion and Culture, 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.

My main research interests concern contemporary Judaism, interreligious dialogue and ethnographic research methodology within the humanities. 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 editor of the scholarly journal Nordisk judaistik / Scandinavian Jewish Studies, currently together with Dr. Svante Lundgren, Lund University.

I am also the director of the research project Boundaries of Jewish Identities in Contemporary Finland  (MInhag Finland) finansed by the Polin Institute.



  • Docent (Associate Professor), History of Religions, Uppsala University (29.5 2018). 
  • Docent (Associate Professor), Study of Religions, 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). Study of Religions
  • Master of Theology, Åbo Akademi University (31.5 2015). Jewish studies
  • Master of Arts, Åbo Akademi University (12.5 2000). Study of Religions
  • Information Studies (60 credits), Åbo Akademi University (qualification for librarian), 2012.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 5 - Gender Equality
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, Doctor of Theology

Award Date: 30 Nov 2018

PhD, Doctor of Philosophy

Award Date: 18 Jun 2004

External positions

Head of Research, Åbo Akademi University Foundation

2019 → …

Docent, Uppsala University

2018 → …

Senior Researcher, Donner Institute for Research in Religion and Culture

1 Apr 201031 Mar 2012

Senior Lecturer in the Study of Religions

1 Aug 200831 Jul 2009

Research Doktor, Academy of Finland

1 Mar 20073 Dec 2010


2006 → …

Research Fellow, Tampere Peace Research Institute (TAPRI), University of Tampere

1 Aug 200531 Mar 2010

Postdoctoral Researcher

1 Jun 200531 Jul 2005

Co-operating Researcher, Research Institute for Project Based Industry (PBI)


Doctoral Candidate in the Study of Religions

1 Aug 200031 Dec 2004


  • BL Religion
  • BM Judaism
  • GR Folklore
  • M Music


Dive into the research topics where Ruth Illman is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
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  • Docent of the Year

    Illman, Ruth (Recipient), 2016

    Prize: Honorary award

  • Humanities Deed of the Year

    Illman, Ruth (Recipient), 2017


  • Per Brahe Research Award

    Illman, Ruth (Recipient), 2004