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Personal profile

Research interests

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.

Biography

Education 

  • 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.
Current position

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)

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