Thursday 18 January 2018, 14.00-16.00 – Intersections of narrative studies and urban studies

Seminar. E325 (Minerva, Kaivokatu 12)

Jason Finch: “Mediations and Representations of Mass Housing: Visions versus Phenomenologies?”
Lieven Ameel: “Narrating Urban Futures: Cities at the Water in Fictional and Non-fictional Texts.”

A vital dimension of contemporary literary studies is increased engagement with real-world issues such as social policy and planning. Practitioners including urban historians and policy-makers gain understanding of aspects of human experience not readily available otherwise in collaboration with literary scholars. Also, techniques originating in literary studies can be used productively to read texts not conventionally labelled literary, including municipal plans and oral histories preserved in archives. On 18 January, SELMA presents two speakers with links to the Centre who work in this interdisciplinary area, and on the frontier dividing academic and extra-academic social analysis. Lieven Ameel and Jason Finch are founder members of the Association for Literary Urban Studies (ALUS), the most recent international conference of which was ‘(Im)Possible Cities’ (University of Tampere, 2017). They have jointly edited two volumes arising from the work of the Association and are editors of the Palgrave series Literary Urban Studies (http://www.springer.com/series/15888).

Jason Finch’s paper reports on research into English cities often seen since the mid-twentieth century as being in post-industrial decline or crisis. The contemporary United Kingdom is characterized by extreme inequality of regions, reflected in public health statistics and voting patterns. Public housing is most often now viewed as a space of failure, whether design flaws or politicized neglect are blamed. But it could be rethought via the interaction between literary and urban studies as  the heart of a rejuvenated city. The urban regions in focus are those with Liverpool and Birmingham as their head cities. Instead of working via city novels, these urban regions are examined through diverse textual materials. The focus is on two different periods: both immediately preceding and immediately succeeding that of mass council housing in the UK (1970s-2000s). Books published between the 1910s and 1960s and authored by the City of Liverpool showcased its achievements providing public housing and, ultimately, shaping the city in a much more profound way. These are the visions. The experiences are the work of a writer (Lynsey Hanley) and a photographer (Rob Clayton) about peripheral council estates in the Birmingham city region. The paper negotiates boundaries and trajectories both historical and topographical, bridging the gulf between top-down and bottom-up views of the city.

Lieven Ameel will presents the research project he is embarking on at the Turku Institute for Advanced Studies (2018-2020). The project analyses narratives of the post-industrial urban waterfront from two distinct, but intermingling perspectives. A first point of focus is on how narrative fiction frames the experience of the waterfront in transformation, and how literature presents possible futures and alternative courses of action in the face of crises. Second, the project will analyse how, in planning and policy documents of the waterfront, the simultaneous possibility of alternative storyworlds structures the way planning narratives are shaped. This research project is interested, in particular, in how competing alternative storyworlds organize the narrative dynamics in both contemporary literary narratives and policy documents, juxtaposing desirable with undesirable storyworlds, and identifying moments of agency – the possibility to act towards a particular future. Three case studies will be addressed: the development of post-industrial waterfronts in Antwerp (Belgium), Helsinki (Finland) and New York City (US) in the period 1990–2040. Drawing on methodologies from literary and narrative studies, the analysis of crisis narratives in the context of three post-industrial harbours will gain new understanding of how urban crises and their solutions are couched in narrative terms. The specific emphasis on storylines related to the threat of rising sea levels in both sets of data adds further focus and, in terms of impact, further urgency.


Thursday 15 February, 13-14.30 – The afterlife of hope: Cultural memory beyond the traumatic

Guest lecture by prof. Ann Rigney (University of Utrecht)
Turku University E223 (Kaivokatu 12, Minerva)

In this paper, which is part of a larger project on the cultural memory of protest, prof. Rigney challenges the primacy of the traumatic paradigm in cultural memory studies by highlighting the role played by memory in social movements and in the transmission of hope for a better future. She makes her argument with special reference to the long term commemoration of the Paris Commune of 1871, particularly in the decades following its defeat.

Ann Rigney is Professor of Comparative Literature at Utrecht University and founder of the Utrecht Forum for Memory Studies  She has published widely in the field of nineteenth and twentieth century memory cultures, including most recently The Afterlives of Walter Scott: Memory on the Move (Oxford UP, 2012). She is co-editor of Mediation, Remediation, and the Dynamics of Cultural Memory (De Gruyter 2009; with A. Erll), Commemorating Writers in Nineteenth-Century Europe (Palgrave, 2014; with J. Leerssen) and Transnational Memory: Circulation, Articulation, and Scales (De Gruyter, 2014; with C. De Cesari). She has recently started a new project on cultural memory and protest movements.


Friday 16 February 2018, 10-12 – Four sheets of text/stories: Visualisation as an embodied exercise in research pedagogy

Guest lecture By prof. Libora Oates-Indruchová (University of Graz)
Turku University E221 (Kaivokatu 12, Minerva)

The lecturer will present a series of photographs that was created as a result of the search for a productive method of analysing and representing research data from a project on a politically and emotionally sensitive topic. In other words, visualisation was used as an aid to develop a method of research writing. The project concerned scholarly censorship, self-censorship and publishing under the repressive conditions of Central European state socialism between 1969 and 1989. Semi-structured interviews with scholars active both then and at the time of the interviews (2003-2009) lay at the core of the research. The interviews were emotionally charged, filled with tensions and contradictions, and in the current social atmosphere also controversial. These complications presented an ethical issue of how to represent the narrators, while preserving the polyphonic quality of the interview material. The process of coming to grips with the data and their problems involved engaging myself with the materiality of the transcripts and treating them as physical story elements. Prof. Oates-Indruchová created visual compositions centred on the transcripts that foregrounded the research process and its relation to storytelling. Afterwards she took the concept as the premise for representing the narrators in the written output, in which she drew on narratology, feminist methodologies and grounded theory. The resulting text, accompanied by the photographs, consists of dramatised „imagined conversations“ structured loosely as a quest narrative that tells the story of a research „quest“ to understand the intricacies and dilemmas of individual academic lives under state socialism through the haze of memory, pain and vested interests.

Libora Oates-Indruchová is Professor or the Sociology of Gender at the University of Graz in Austria. Her research on late state socialism covers gender and social change, discourses of gender, the body, gender history, history of social sciences and censorship was published, among others, in the Slavic Review, SignsMen & Masculinities and Europe-Asia Studies. She co-edited the volume The Politics of Gender Culture under State Socialism: An Expropriated Voice (Routledge 2014) that was awarded the BASEES Women’s Forum Book Prize.


8-11 March 2018 – Fiction and facts in narratives of political conflict

Symposium. University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway
By the research network Narrative and Memory: Ethics, Aesthetics, Politics (see details).


16-17 March – Comics & Society

Symposium. University of Turku/Nordic Summer University.

What are comics and what is their role in society? Once regarded as silly entertainment or a cause for juvenile delinquency comics have today made their way to the museums, schools and academia as a form of cultural heritage, subject of education, and interest of critical inquiry. The interdisciplinary symposium will explore how comics take part in making sense of societies, social phenomena, and societal changes in the Nordic region and beyond. The symposium includes a keynote lecture, academic presentations, and an artist round table with Finnish comics artists at the city library.

Keynote lecture by Dr. Rebecca Scherr (University of Oslo): “Graphic scenes from Juarez: Representing sexual violence in Phoebe Gloeckner’s La Tristezza”

Artist round table “History and Conflict in Comics” with Ainur Elmgren, Reetta Laitinen, Mika Lietzén, and Hanneriina Moisseinen

Thematic sessions on various topics including “Understanding History through Comics”, “Political Imagination” & “Empowerment and Social Participation”

Please see the complete programme here.

You are all warmly welcome! Students can receive 3-6 ECTS by taking part in the symposium.


Friday 23 March 2018 – Knausgård workshop


Tuesday 17 April 2018, 12-16, E225 – Muistin tutkimus – Muistitietotutkimus – Oma/elämäkirjallisuus 

Turku University, Minerva, Kaivokatu 12

Muistia, muistoja ja muistamista tutkitaan monilla tieteenaloilla siinä määrin, että muistamiseen liittyvä tutkimus on eriytynyt etenkin kansainvälisillä tutkimuskentillä omiksi tutkimussuuntauksiksi: Memory Studies, Oral History ja Life Writing. Vaikka näillä tutkimussuuntauksilla on monia yhtymäkohtia, ne ovat kaikki syntyneet eri aikoina toisistaan erillään ja hyvinkin eri lähtökohdista. Tutkimussuuntausten erot ovat synnyttäneet tilanteen, jossa eri tutkimussuuntauksia edustavat tutkijat kohtaavat harvoin. Tilanteen korjaamiseksi on viime vuosina ryhdytty saattamaan näitä eri tutkimussuuntauksia edustavia tutkijoita yhteen pohtimaan, mitä voisimme oppia toisiltamme. Tutkitko sinä aihetta, jossa nämä eri tutkimussuuntaukset risteävät? Mietityttääkö sinua esimerkiksi yksityisen ja julkisen muistin kohtaaminen? Onko sinulla käytössäsi tutkimusaineisto, jonka käsittelyyn toivoisit uusia näkökulmia? Tervetuloa keskustelemaan SELMAn metodologiseen työpajaan.

Tilaisuus jakaantuu kahteen osaan. Aluksi Suomen Akatemian tutkijatohtori Ulla Savolainen (Helsingin yliopisto) johdattelee meitä aihepiiriin vierailuluennollaan. Työpajan jälkimmäisessä osassa keskustelemme aihepiiristä omien tutkimuskohteittemme pohjalta.


12.15–12.30 Anne Heimo, Turun yliopisto: Avaussanat
12.30–13.30 Ulla Savolainen, Suomen Akatemia/Helsingin yliopisto: Omakohtaista ja jaettua – Metodologisia pohdintoja muistitiedon ja kulttuurisen muistin tutkimuksesta

13.30–14.00 Kahvi
14.00–16.00 Keskustelua

Tilaisuus on avoin kaikille kiinnostuneille, mutta kahvituksen järjestämiseksi toivomme, että ilmoittaudut etukäteen Anne Heimolle (anheimo@utu.fi13.4.2018 mennessä. Samalla voit kertoa, jos sinulla on mielessä jokin tietty aihe tai kysymys, josta erityisesti toivoisit keskustelua työpajassa.

Ulla Savolainen
Omakohtaista ja jaettua – Metodologisia pohdintoja muistitiedon ja kulttuurisen muistin tutkimuksesta Esitelmässään Ulla Savolainen käsittelee muistitietotutkimuksen ja kulttuurisen muistitutkimuksen ominaispiirteitä, yhteyksiä ja eroja tiedon tuottamisen näkökulmasta sekä pohtii tutkimussuuntausten lähentymisen ja yhdistämisen mahdollisuuksia ja reunaehtoja. Näitä metodologisia näkökulmia tarkastellaan tapaustutkimuksen kautta, joka keskittyy Suomessa toisen maailmansodan jälkeen internoitujen henkilöiden haastatteluissa tuotettuun puheeseen sekä internointien julkisen muistamisen prosessiin. Ulla Savolainen työskentelee Suomen Akatemian tutkijatohtorina Helsingin yliopistossa, kulttuurien osastossa. Hänen folkloristiikan alan väitöskirjansa (Helsingin yliopisto, 2015) käsitteli Karjalan entisten lapsievakkojen muistelukirjoitusten poetiikkaa. Väitöksen jälkeisessä tutkimuksessaan (2015–2017) Savolainen tarkasteli Suomessa tapahtunutta Saksan ja Unkarin kansalaisten internointien (1944–1946) muistamista. Tutkimus oli osa kansainvälistä ”Livingmemories”-tutkimushanketta (ERA-NET RUS Plus-ohjelma). Savolaisen käynnissä oleva Suomen Akatemian tutkijatohtori-hanke (2017–2020) ”Kahlitsematon muisti” tarkastelee inkeriläisten ylirajaista muistelmakirjallisuutta. Hän on työskennellyt vierailevana tutkijana Frankfurtin Goethe-yliopistossa Frankfurt Memory Studies Platformissa (2016) sekä Tarton yliopistossa etnologian laitoksella (2017).


Friday 11 May 2018 – A joint symposium on storytelling & ethics

In collaboration with the Centre for Narrative Research, University of East London.

This symposium will mark the UK launch of six new books. From war photography to literature, to everyday lived experience, to Holocaust testimony, each of these books deals with questions of the relationship between ethics and storytelling, be it in real or fictional contexts. Analyzing how narratives enlarge or diminish the spaces of possibilities in which we act, think, and re-imagine the world together with others, these books explore the ethical potential and risks of storytelling. The afternoon will combine panel presentations, author Q & A, and open discussion, and will conclude with a reception.


Monday 28 May 2018 Milloin kirja on rasistinen?

Seminaari. Janus (Sirkkala, University of Turku.)
Tapahtuma Facebookissa



Thursday 22 November, 13-18 – Elämä ja fiktio -seminaari (IN FINNISH)

Miten elämästä tehdään fiktiota? Saako elämästä ylipäätään tehdä fiktiota ja kenen ehdoilla se tapahtuu? Mikä on eettinen vastuumme menneisyyden ihmisistä tehdessämme heistä taidetta? Minkälaiseksi elämän ja fiktion välinen suhde muotoutuu autofiktiossa, entä omaelämäkerrassa, päiväkirjassa, romaanissa tai vaikkapa kirjeenvaihdossa? Tässä iltapäiväseminaarissa pohdimme elämän ja fiktion suhdetta niin eri kirjoittamisen muodoissa kuin taiteen (kuten teatterin ja elokuvan) tekemisen prosesseissa. Puhujina on niin tutkijoita kuin eri taiteenalan tekijöitä.

Päivä päättyy Ooppera Skaalan Monologi-koneoopperaan, tulkintaan runoilijan elämästä, teoksessa Edith Södergran – Vierge Moderne, Aurinkobaletin tiloissa klo 19 (lipun hinta 30/20 e, varaukset ilmoittautumisen yhteydessä.)

Voit ilmoittautua tapahtumaan ja varata itsellesi lipun illan esitykseen 9.11. mennessä täältä


13.15 Avaus, elämäkertatutkija, kulttuurihistorian dosentti Maarit Leskelä-Kärki

13.30 “Näytelmän henkilö – historia, aika, esitys”, dramaturgi Seppo Parkkinen

14.30 “Pitsihattu likalätäkössä”, taiteilija-tutkija, filosofian tohtori Elina Saloranta

15.15 Kahvitauko

15.45 “Autofiktio, Knausgård ja meidän Knasu”, kirjallisuusterapeutti, kirjallisuudentutkimuksen dosentti Päivi Kosonen

16.30 “Eläytyminen kirjailijan metodina. Ellen Thesleffin fiktiivinen päiväkirja”, kirjailija Pirkko Soininen

“Fiktio elämäkertatutkijan välineenä”, tutkija-tietokirjailija Hanna-Reetta Schreck

17.15 “Volter ja Hilja – kirjeistä kirjaksi ja draamaksi”, viulisti, elämäkertatutkija Laura Kokko


Monday 19 November 2018, 8.30-17.30 – Imagining city futures across disciplines

Symposium. Agora lecture hall XXII (University of Turku)

Co-Organized by Turku Institute of Advanced Studies

This one-day symposium brings together researchers of future narratives from across disciplines. Its focus is on representations of city futures across a range of genres, from literary fiction to futures scenarios, policy, and urban planning. It aims to examine the language, narrative frames, and metaphors with which future cities are told, and the implications of such discursive strategies.


09.00-09.10 Welcome & introduction

09.10-10.10 Keynote: Paul Dobraszczyk

Paul Dobraszczyk is a teaching fellow at the Bartlett School of Architecture in London. His most recent book project is Future Cities, Architecture and the Imagination (Reaktion, 2019). He has published widely on visual culture and the built environment, with recent books including The Dead City: Urban Ruins and the Spectacle of Decay (IB Tauris, 2017); London’s Sewers (Shire, 2014); and Function & Fantasy: Iron Architecture in Long Nineteenth Century (Routledge, 2016). He is also a visual artist and photographer.

10.15-11.45 Forecasting, future visions and planning

    • Forecasting to ensure the safety of society (Vesa Valtonen)
    • Ecological city visions and their impact on the development of Chinese cities (Outi Luova)
    • Zoning Versus Private Action: Planning Texts and Urban Futures in St Louis and Houston, 1910–1960 (Jason Finch)
    • Future visions of the region Kotka-Hamina, created during the planning of the master plan (Kaisa Granqvist)

11.45-13.00 Lunch

13.00-14:30 City futures across media

    • Thirty Years of Imaginary Los Angeles. Climate Change and the Retrofitted Megalopolis in Blade Runner (1982) and Blade Runner 2049 (2017) (Kimi Kärki)
    • Reading for Ruins: On the Post-Apocalyptic Tense and Context (Jouni Teittinen)
    • The flood of 1862 in Viennese humorous magazines: Jokes and cartoons about natural catastrophe as means of urban improvement (Heidi Hakkarainen)
    • Participatory design fiction and future cities (Johanna Ylipulli)

14:30-16 Agency & city futures

    • Agency in Urbanizing Finland (Hanna Heino)
    • From co-creation to agency in urban futures (Kaisa Schmidt-Thomé)
    • Agency, Voices and Visions for Preferable Futures: Ethnographic research on the World Heritage Site Suomenlinna (Pauliina Latvala-Harvilahti)
    • Small Island States and their Little Capitals: Lessons for Climate Resilience? (Milla Vaha)

16.00-17.00 Coffee and roundtable

Please register by 12.11. via this link.

Organizer: Lieven Ameel / lieven.ameel@utu.fi / blogs.helsinki.fi/urbannarratives.

Should you request more information about the event, please contact directly the coordinator, Lieven Amel (lieven.ameel@utu.fi).


Wednesday 7 November, 10-16 – Trauma studies workshop

by Colin Davis, Royal Holloway, University of London & University of Turku
University of Turku (10-14: E225 & 14-16: E119, Minerva, Kaivokatu 12)

While ‘trauma’ once referred to a physical wound requiring medical treatment, the term has now mutated and spread so that our entire global culture is sometimes characterized as traumatic or post-traumatic. Modern trauma theory grew out of the medical and legal concerns of the nineteenth-century industrial revolution, but in the twentieth century it became increasingly psychological as trauma was theorized in response to the experiences of soldiers returning from the two World Wars and the Vietnam War. In the humanities, trauma theory is linked to the effort of literary critics and theorists, such as Cathy Caruth and Shoshana Felman, to show that poststructuralist and psychoanalytic practices could elucidate experiences and works which are of the most raw ethical importance, such as those referring to the Holocaust or other cases of terrible historical suffering. There is, though, no easy consensus about the history, causes, meaning and applicability of the theory of trauma.

This workshop addresses some of the questions that trauma studies currently faces from different directions. Trauma studies has been accused of privileging a naively literal view of trauma’s psychic imprint and neglecting competing theories; by focussing on the impasse of the individual psyche it risks entailing a withdrawal from the social field; by its focus on catastrophic events, much of trauma theory seems to ignore the traumatizing processes and structures to which women, various ethnic groups and other underprivileged people are subjected to on a daily basis; by stressing the unspeakability of traumatic may devalue the endeavors of those who have an urgent story to tell and overlook the possibility of empathy; it can be seen to encourage a victim culture; and it seems to be fixated on melancholia and the endless repetitiveness of acting-out rather than the healing processes of mourning and working-through. Moreover, with its foundation in the medical and legal concerns of the industrialized West during a particular period of its development, can it then be applied to other periods and cultures, or do such periods and cultures call into question the universalizing inclinations of some work in trauma studies? What are the benefits and limits of the concept of trauma in addressing legacies of violence in the contemporary world? How should we rethink the notion of trauma in the light of recent debates on the inadequacy of the perpetrator–victim binary in dealing with these legacies?

The workshop explores the current state of trauma studies, its challenges and its potential, and its future directions, in dialogue with other interdisciplinary fields of research such as cultural memory studies and narrative studies. We invite both theoretical papers and critical discussions of particular applications of trauma theory.

The workshop is meant for MA students and researchers of all stages, including PhD students. In Comparative Literature, the workshop fits the study module “Cultural Memory and Trauma Studies” and PhD studies.


Tuesday 6 November 2018, 14.30-16.15 – Identity work (Instrumental narratives: The limits of storytelling and new story-critical narrative theory, 2018-2022)

Project launch. University of Turku (E225, Minerva, Kaivokatu 12)

This kick-off event will introduce and discuss SELMA’s new Academy of Finland project IDENTITY WORK: NARRATIVE AGENCY, METANARRATIVITY AND BIBLIOTHERAPY, which is part of the Consortium INSTRUMENTAL NARRATIVES.  The sub-project of the team in Turku focuses on the uses and abuses of narrative in the construction of lives and identities. Over the past few decades, the notion of “finding one’s own narrative” has pervaded the culture at large. In response, contemporary narrative fiction has increasingly come to reflect on the problematic uses of narrative in identity work. Our team brings into dialogue contemporary story-critical fiction and the broader uses of narrative in contemporary consumer culture in which narrative identity is often understood in narrow, limiting, and commercially motivated ways. It examines the relationship between narrative and identity from two interlaced perspectives: in relation to 1) metanarrativity and 2) the uses of narrative in promoting wellbeing.

The project will be introduced by the PI of the Turku team, Hanna Meretoja, and the sub-projects of the teams in Tampere and Helsinki will be briefly introduced by their PIs, Maria Mäkelä and Merja Polvinen. After the introductions, the aims and key issues of the Turku team will be discussed in a roundtable by the project members Marta Cenedese, Colin Davis, Johanna Kaakinen, Eevastiina Kinnunen, Päivi Kosonen, Anu Laukkanen, Maarit Leskelä-Kärki, Nena Mocnik and Jouni Teittinen.

Read more about the project on our webpage.


Tuesday 30 October 2018, 9-16, Janus – The cost of bearing witness: Secondary trauma & self-care in field-based social research

Workshop. University of Turku, Minerva, Kaivokatu 12

Co-Organized by Turku Institute of Advanced Studies

The workshop addresses the emotional and psychological impact that conducting field research in contexts that go “under the skin” of a researcher, because they come so very close to one’s own difficult experiences, or they involve severely traumatized participants. Recording and analyzing such evidence may be traumatizing and have adverse effects upon the mental health of researchers in social research. As opposed to clinicians (psychotherapists, social workers) and personnel professionally trained in coping with trauma, field researchers in social/anthropological research are rather poorly equipped to cope with the overwhelming traumatic narratives from their research group.This workshop brings together various experts, scholars and practitioners with the background in social and anthropological research to share first-hand experiences from the field and to brainstorm and collect ideas, and suggestions to develop techniques to assist in preventing or minimizing the trauma transfer.


9.00-9.15 (Janus) Opening & Welcome

9.15-10.00 (Janus) Leaving the pain behind: Field work research in sensitive settings (Key address by prof. Helena Ranta)

10.15.-11.15 (E123 & E323) Navigating professional & personal: Secondary trauma & preventive measures (Workshop)

11.15-11.45 Coffee break

11.45-12.45 (Janus) Surviving field research: Dangers, risks, challenges (Round table with Satu Lidman, Elise Feron & Panu Pihkala; moderated by Nena Močnik)

13.00-14.00 (E121 & E323) Self-care & coping with secondary trauma (Workshop)

14.00-15.00 (hall in front of Janus) Concluding remarks & reception

The call for journal articles is now open. Please see more informationCall for Journal Articles.pdfhere.

Workshop is free, but places are limited (up to 50 participants). Please register by October 21st 2018 here​. Light refreshments will be served. All participants are welcomed to join the reception after the event.


26-28 September 2018 – #NeverAgain: Teaching transmission of trauma and rememberance through experiential learning 

In a new EC Europe for Citizens (European Remembrance) funded project we aim to address the concealed hatreds, prejudices and normalized oppressions that are learnt through the unhealed and transmitted traumas perpetuated in our everyday lives through seemingly harmless everyday practices. In the next 18 months we will develop and deliver 4 clusters of local events within their communities to test experiential learning tools (ELT) in order to experience the harmful effects of transmitted collective traumas and how they impact the continuation of hatreds and vengeance today. Events will bring together around 450 students, teachers and citizens and additional 500 community members as invited audiences and will influence numerous other individuals by using event hashtags on the social media and online platform. The processes and outcomes will be presented “#NeverAgain: Teaching Transmission of Trauma and Remembrance through Experiential Learning”, a workshop-based conference in June 2019, hosted by University of Turku, where we aim to attract between 50-100 professionals and young people from across Europe, from a variety of disciplines and fields of work: from universities, NGOs, public bodies like museums and memorial houses, community workers and individuals. In the dissemination phase, we will develop and launch a transnational blended education platform, offering different in-class experiential didactic methods and online webinars and didactic videogames.

Selma & project partners from from Denmark, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Romania, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, and Italy invite also local collaborators. Please send your inquiries directly to the project coordinator, Nena Mocnik (nena.mocnik@utu.fi).


Monday 24 September 2018, 14-16 – Narrating trauma – Genre & the question of time

Lecture by Anne Freadman, University of Melbourne, Australia.
E221 (University of Turku, Minerva, Kaivokatu 12)

In Time and Narrative, Paul Ricoeur argues that narrative is crucial to the human experience – indeed, the reality – of time. He both does, and does not, take genre into account in this argument, since it rests primarily on the difference between fiction and history. Yet this difference lies in the truth values of the two domains, rather than in the generic specificity of their writing and reading.

The lecture is drawn from lecturer’s long-term study of diaries written in the period of the Holocaust, by French Jews living under the Nazi Occupation. The narrative time of a diary is highly specific – fragmentary and discontinuous, written au jour le jour, with no capacity for foreseeing the future or for constructing the experience retrospectively – it contrasts most notably with memoirs and autobiography. What effect does this have on our understanding of trauma? Is genre epiphenomenal, or does it go to the heart of the matter?


27-29 August 2018 – Well-being in the information society – Fighting inequalities

WIS 2018, which looks for innovations and fresh ideas in the cross-section of urban living, information society and health as understood in a wide sense. Starting in 2006, this is now the seventh conference in its series. The overarching theme of the  WIS 2018 conference is “Fighting inequalities”. More about program, registration and venues see here.


Thursday 13 September 2018, 10-12 – But is it art? Heidegger, the interpretation of (moving) images, and early film narrative

Lecture by Colin Davis, Royal Holloway, University of London & University of Turku
Janus (University of Turku, Minerva, Kaivokatu 12) & LIVE STREAM

Behind the question ‘But is it art?’ lie other questions: what values, prejudices and cultural norms do we bring to play when we distinguish between art and non-art, or high art and low art, good art and bad art? What does it matter, what is at stake when we throw doubt on a work’s artistic status or worth? Heidegger’s essay ‘The Origin of the Work of Art’ epitomises a deeply-rooted Western respect for major art works whilst also formulating an exceptionally strong version of that respect. For him, great art speaks, if we know how to listen to it; and what it reveals when it speaks is truth. He demonstrates this through his interpretation of a painting by Van Gogh. Art, and pre-eminently poetry, turn out to be comparable in standing to the highest achievements of thought. But what of the art forms which Heidegger does not appear to revere, especially narrative forms such as film? In a Heideggerian perspective, can a film aspire to rank alongside the greatest works of art and poetry? As a technological innovation, it does not seem to share the qualities which Heidegger finds in great art. A sequence from an early film directed by Jean Renoir allows a discussion of these issues, and it offers its own response to Heidegger’s implicit critique.

Colin Davis is Professor of French and Comparative Literature at Royal Holloway, University of London, UK, and Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Turku. His research focuses mainly on connections between literature, film and philosophy, with particular interests in the modern French novel, ethics, ethical criticism, philosophical approaches to literature and film, hermeneutics, literary theory, cultural memory, trauma studies and Holocaust literature.  His books include Critical Excess: Overreading in Derrida, Deleuze, Levinas, Žižek and Cavell (Stanford University Press, 2010),  Postwar Renoir: Film and the Memory of Violence (Routledge, 2012), Traces of War: Interpreting Ethics and Trauma in Twentieth-Century French Writing (Liverpool University Press, 2018) and Storytelling and Ethics: Literature, Visual Arts and Power of Narrative (co-edited with Hanna Meretoja, Routledge, 2018).

Event will be livestreamed. Please join here.