Professor Emeritus of Comparative Religion
School of History, Cultural Research and Art Studies
20014 University of Turku
Tel. 358-2-333 5241
Cell phone: +358-40-5498918
Born August 22, 1948
Place of Birth: Nousiainen, Finland
Place of Residence: Turku, Finland
Children: Riku Viljami (b. 1978), Veera Johanna (b. 1983), Tuomo Samuel Valtteri (b. 1997)
1977 BA University of Helsinki
1980 MA University of Helsinki
1987 Lic. Phil. University of Helsinki
1996 Ph.D. University of Helsinki
Sept. 1, 2015 Professor Emeritus
1998– 2015 Full Professor of Comparative Religion, University of Turku, School of History, Culture and Arts Studies
1983–1984 Assistant in Comparative Religion, University of Helsinki
1984 Assistant in Folklore, University of Jyväskylä
1985-07.85 Assistant in Social Anthropology,University of Helsinki
1985–1991 Research assistant, The Academy of Finland, Council for Arts and Humanities
1991–1992 Lecturer in Comparative Religion, University of Turku
1993–1994 Lecturer in Comparative Religion, University of Helsinki
1995–1997 Research Fellow in Folklore, University of Helsinki
1997–1998 Acting Professor of Comparative Religion, University of Turku
Supervisor of doctoral dissertations
Anne Puuronen, Rasvan tyttäret. Etnografinen tutkimus anorektisen kokemustiedon kulttuurisista jäsennyksistä, 2004.
Outi Fingerroos, Haudatut muistot. Rituaalisen kuoleman merkitykset Kannaksen muistitiedossa, 2004.
Tiina Mahlamäki, Naisia kansalaisuuden kynnyksellä: Eeva Joenpellon Lohja-sarjan tulkinta, 2005.
Tarja Kakko, Kurissa ja Herran nuhteessa. Luterilainen kasvatusaate 1900-luvun vaihteen Suomessa, 2005.
Teemu Taira, Työkulttuurin arvonmuutos työttömien kerronnassa, 2006.
Minna Opas, Different but the Same. Negotiation of Personhoods and Christianities in Western Amazonia, 2008.
Kati Mikkola, Tulevaisuutta vastaan. Uutuuksien vastustus, kansantiedon keruu ja kansakunnan rakentaminen, 2009.
Seija Ronimus, ”Vartiossa maailmaa vastaan – Tutkimus Jehovan Todistaja -yhteisöstä eronneiden kokemuksista”. 2011.
Timo Himanen, Cultural Diversity, Social Cohesion, Religion. Core Values, and Educational Policies in Four European Nations. 2012.
Teemu Mantsinen, Helluntailaiset luokkakuvassa. Uskontokulttuuri ja yksilön luokka-asema Turun Helluntaiseurakunnassa. 2014.
Anu Isotalo, Mistä on hyvät tytöt tehty? Somalitytöt ja maineen merkitykset. 2015.
Memberships and Positions of Trust
Member of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters, 2011―
President of the Finnish Society for the Study of Religion, 2006—2011
Vice-President of the European Association for the Study of Religion, 2008—2010
Vice-President of the Finnish Society for the Study of Religion, 2000 — 2006
The Vice-President of the Council for the Finnish Literature Society, 2002 – 2007
A Representative of the Council for the Finnish Literature Society, 2000 — 2007
The Board of Porthan–Society, Turku, November 2006—
A Member of The International Society for the Folk Narrative Research, since 2005—
The Board of Kalevala Society, Helsinki, 28.2.2001 — 28.2. 2004
A member of the Kalevala Society, Helsinki, since 2000—
The Board of the Finnish Society for the Study of Religion, since 1988–
The Board of the Kalevala Institute at the University of Turku, 1998 — 2010
The Board of the Finnish Anthropological Society, 1985 — 1988
Secretary General of the International Conference on Circumpolar and Northern Religion, arranged by the Dept. of Comparative Religion at the University of Helsinki and the International Association for the History of Religions (IAHR), held in Helsinki, May 13―19, 1990.
Secretary of the Finnish Anthropological Society, 1982 — 1984
A Member of The Finnish Literature Society, since 1983
A Member of The Finnish Society for the Study of Religion, since 1981–
A member of The Finnish Anthropological Society, since 1976–
Suomen Tietokirjailijat ry., since 2002–
Editor of Academic Publications:
Chief Editor:Temenos. Nordic Journal of Comparative Religion, 2004–2011
Editorial Board memberships:
Encyclopedia of Uralic Mythologies. Editors-in-Chief: Anna-Leena Siikala, Vladimir Napolskikh, Mihály Hoppál. Academy of Finland, Helsinki University, Russian Academy of Sciences, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
Fieldwork in Religion. Equinox. Chief Editors: Chris Partridge and Ron Geaves (see webpage: http://www.equinoxpub.com/journals/edboard.asp?jref=55)
Consulting Editor. Christopher Partridge (General Editor), The New Lion Handbook. The World’s Religions. Third Edition. Revised and Expanded. 495 pages. Oxford: A Lion Book. 2005.
Administrative and expert positions
The Head of the School of Cultural Research at the University of Turku, 2004–2007
A Member of the Faculty Council, Arts and Humanities, University of Turku, 2007–2010
The Norwegian Research Council; Theology & Religious studies (September-October 2009)
Other expert positions
Appointed Opponent of the doctoral dissertation dr. Leila Jylhänkangas “Kiistoja kuolemasta.Tutkimus suomalaisesta eutanasiakeskustelusta” by the Faculty of Humanities, University of Helsinki, Finland, November 9, 2013.
Reference request in respect of Professor Kim Knott to a Professorship in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religious Studies at Lancaster University, August 2011
Examiner and opponent of the doctoral dissertation by Ph.D. Candidate Catherine Carter at the Department of Ethnography, University of Debrecen, Hungary, April 2005
A member in the advisory board for assessing Roald Kristiansen’s competence for the professorship in the History of Religions at the University of Bergen, Norway, January 2003.
An assessor appointed by the Governing Body of the Chester College for the suitability of Dr. Ronald Allen Geaves for the title of Professor of Religious Studies at Chester College, UK, May 2002
Appointed Opponent of the doctoral dissertation, dr. Taina Kinnunen “ Pyhät bodarit. Yhteisöllisyys ja onni täydellisessä ruumiissa” by the Faculty of Humanities, University of Oulu, Finland, February 9, 2001.
A member of the steering group of the Research Project: Forests and the Good Life funded by the Metsämiesten säätiö Foundation. (see webpage: http://www.mmsaatio.fi/goodlife/index.html)
Assessor of docentships:
1998 Dr. Ilkka Pyysiäinen, University of Turku
2000 Dr. Tom Sjöblom, University of Turku
2003 Dr. Terhi Utriainen, University of Helsinki
1985 Hungary, Budapest and Debrecen, The Academy of Finland
1986 Hungary. Exchange scholarship between The Academy of Finland and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences
1992 Hungary. A bilateral research exchange grant by the Ministry of Education for ethnographic fieldwork in Hungary in collaboration with Mihály Hoppál and Martti Junnonaho.
1998 Hungary, Szeged and Debrecen: the Finnish, Hungarian, Estonian Folklore Symposium, April 3 – 5. 1998.
2000 Hungary, Debrecen, Eger-Nozvaj: the Finnish, Hungarian, Estonian Symposium on the Study of Religion, October 6-8, 2000.
2002 Guest lecturer at the University of Bergen, Norway, 13.3. – 16.3. (Seksjon for religionsvitenskap)
2005 The University of Leeds, The Dept. of Theology and Religious Studies, November 1st, Senior Seminar: ‘The relevance of the ‘sacred’ for the study of religion’; November 4th, Invited seminar on Perspectives on the “sacred (research students and staff)
2010 Doctor Honoris Causa of the University of Debrecen, Hungary. Awarded at the Awarding Ceremony Meeting of the University of Debrecen, June 5, 2010.
2007 Pro Ethnographia Medal of the Department of Ethnography at the University of Debrecen, Hungary, May 17, 2007
1997 Elias Lönnrot Award for the doctoral dissertation “The Making of Corporeal and Territorial Boundaries. ‘Sacred’ as a Cultural Category” (“Ihmisen ja maan rajat. ‘Pyhä’ kulttuurisena kategoriana), The Finnish Literature Society
1980 Award for the MA Thesis “The Scholarly Portrait of Uno Holmberg-Harva”; In Finnish: Uno (Holmberg-)Harvan tutkijakuva. The University of Helsinki, Faculty of Humanities.
1985 Finnmark, Norway, research project on the ethnohistory and oral traditions of the Finnish-speaking Kvens; project supervision dr. Lassi Saressalo
1986 Grue Finskog, Norway. Nordic project on the Forest Finns. Project description “Rapport från det förbererande fältseminariet i Finnskogen, Norge 19.-25.5.1986″ published in the magazine Siirtolaisuus (Migration), no. 4, 1987, pp. 34-37) by Veikko Anttonen, Kari Vesala, Per-Martin Tvengsberg, Juha Pentikäinen.
1987 Stockhom, Sweden. Nordic fieldwork symposium on the Forest Finn culture held between April 2 and 4. Paper given together with Ph.D. Kari Vesala “Skogsfinsk mentalitet enligt folkloristiska materialet” [Mentality of the Forest Finns according to Folklore data] (unpublished)
1988 Torsby, Sweden, Field-seminar on the Finns in Middle Scandinavia
1990 Nyskoga, Sweden. Fieldwork seminar on the Forest Finns, held in August 20.-24, 1990. Seminar paper titled “Begreppet ´pyhä’ (det heliga) i skogsfinnarnas kultur” [The notion of the ’sacred’ in the Forest Finn Culture] (unpublished)
1992 Joshkar-Ola, the Republic of Mari, Russia. Fieldwork and video documentation of sacrificial rituals among the Meadow-Mari population, July 1992. Video-edition titled as “In the Kitchen of God” on the sürem-sacrifical ritual held at the sacred grove outside Koramas and Tjodrajal villages in July 13, 1992
2011 Study and Fieldwork Trip to Fort Kotchi in Kerala; Madurai, Pondicherry and Mamallapuram in Tamil Nadu in South-India between 22.1.–11.2.2011.
Scholarships and research project grants:
2014 The Foundations’ Professor Pool Grant for a study leave between January 1st and December 31, 2014.
2002-03 Senior Fellow of the Academy of Finland between 1.8.2002 and 31.7.2003