Project Group

Laura Hollsten, Åbo Akademi University: Hollsten is a historian. Her research focuses on the formation and circulation of knowledge about ticks in Finnish society. The research is concerned with how knowledge about ticks has circulated in the scientific community during the twentieth century. Also, it seeks to clarify and explain the mechanisms involved in the course of the process when scientific knowledge becomes general knowledge or “public knowledge”. Finally, it examines to what extent popular knowledge is intertwined with traditional, private, and experience-based knowledge.

Otto Latva, University of Turku: Latva is a historian specialized in the study of environmental and marine history as well as human-animal studies. He works as a head of research in the Sea and Maritime Studies at the University of Turku. In this project, Latva examines the historical understanding of ticks in Finland, and how perceptions of ticks have changed from the late nineteenth century up to the present, and how these perceptions spread via the media to a wider public. Leaning on theories of animal agency developed in human-animal studies, he also studies how ticks as actors have impacted the formulation of scientific and lay understanding of ticks.

Sanna Lillbroända-Annala, Åbo Akademi University: Lillbroända-Annala is an ethnologist. In this project, she studies day-to-day interactions, or potential interactions, between humans, companion animals, ticks, and their host animals. By analyzing the narratives of risks, Lillbroända-Annala will examine how the everyday practices and strategies among pet owners are influenced by ticks and how ticks influence their relations to nature. Lillbroända-Annala will also look at the practices, narratives, and knowledge shared at the mobile vaccination station, Punkkibussi, provided by Saaristolääkärit. In these carriers, which drive around to different places in Finland, it is possible to get vaccinated against TBE and other diseases.

Fredrik Nilsson, Åbo Akademi University. Nilsson is a professor of Ethnology. His research is firmly based on cultural analysis and posthumanism. Nilsson has written extensively on the complexity of everyday life and how people adapt to and manage crises. In this project Nilsson, together with Sanna Lillbroända-Annala, will analyze the narratives of risks and how ticks re-organize how nature is perceived and managed.

Tuomas Räsänen, University of the Eastern Finland / University of Turku: Räsänen is a historian specializing in twentieth-century environmental history. He will be leading the project, along with Laura Hollsten, and oversees the project at the University of Turku (from 2022 onwards at the University of Eastern Finland). In his own research, Räsänen investigates how ticks and the risk of tickborne diseases have affected human attitudes towards, and identities related, to nature, wildlife, and hunting, including conflicts engendered by dissenting views.

Taina Syrjämaa, University of Turku: Syrjämaa is a professor of history. She has studied the interconnectedness of humans and nonhumans in daily, lived spaces, focusing especially on the history of companion animals. She has also examined methodological and theoretical issues of animal history, especially regarding animal agency and multispecies society and family. She has led a four-year research project funded by the Academy of Finland on animal agency and is currently leading another project, UNSUS, focusing on animal industries and the historical formation of currently prevalent unsustainable practices. In this project, Syrjämaa examines multispecies interactions by focusing on the triangle of humans – tame animals – ticks from the point of view of historical spatiality. She studies spatial multispecies practices both indoors (homes) and outdoor (for example, gardens, seaside). Furthermore, she investigates other more-than-human actors entangled in the same network such as grass, boots, and lawnmowers as well as human (mis)conceptions of actors (alders).

Nina Tynkkynen, Åbo Akademi University: Tynkkynen is an associate professor in public administration and governance at Åbo Akademi University. Her research focuses on marine environmental governance and climate change as well as on the politics of environmental knowledge. In this project, she will study how the risks posed by ticks are defined in Finnish newspapers and the evolution of the tick as an environmental problem and risk.

Suvi Rytty, University of Eastern Finland: Rytty is a historian specialized on the history of medicine and health. In this project, she examines tick-borne diseases from the historical and cultural perspective. Firstly, she focuses on the public debate concerning tick-borne diseases, especially the disputes between laymen and health professionals caused by diverging disease conceptions. Secondly, she examines the public debate and actions around the TBE-vaccine (tick-borne encephalitis) concentrating on the differences of opinion over the perceived health benefits and potential risks.