In the wake of the spatial turn and the rise of ecocriticism in the late twentieth century, the question of what literary texts and other art forms have to say about the spaces and environments of the planet (and beyond) has moved from the periphery to the centre of literary and cultural studies. Many of the cutting-edge developments within recent literary and cultural theory – such as geocriticism, dark ecology, geopoetics, mobility studies, object-oriented ontology, post-phenomenology, and the debates around the Anthropocene – revolve around spatial and environmental concerns. By drawing our attention to the potential of art to shape and challenge our perspectives on the physical world, these approaches complicate the (post-)structuralist and postmodernist focus on pure textuality.

To date, however, spatial and environmental perspectives on literature and culture are rarely combined. The Research Group on Spatial Studies and Environmental Humanities unites a number of researchers who aim to push the boundaries of spatial and environmental theories. They examine the ways in which cultural texts and narratives are entangled with the emerging environmental and spatial concerns of contemporary society. They engage with the potential of literature and other forms of cultural production to explore spatialities and ecologies that challenge human understanding and decentre humanity; conversely, they offer perspectives on human activity as a driving force of planetary-scale environmental change.

As a science of texts, literary and cultural studies are well equipped to analyse the changing meanings and imaginaries attached to space and the environment. Working across disciplines as well as national and cultural boundaries, the members of the group promote the importance of literary and cultural studies as a necessary complement and counterpoint natural and social science approaches to global spaces and ecologies. As such, they make an important contribution to the analysis of pressing environmental and geospatial concerns at a time when climate change, global migration and geopolitical conflicts fill the headlines.

 

The Research Group on Spatial Studies and Environmental Humanities focuses on:

  • spatial and environmental challenges;
  • the links between spatial and environmental poetics, politics, ethics and histories;
  • watery, oceanic and archipelagic imaginaries;
  • urban spaces and environments;
  • gendered spaces;
  • the ways in which literature and other art forms can rethink the relationship between human and non-human actors;
  • the production of space by human, non-human and inanimate actors and forces, and their interaction;
  • complex and entangled spaces and environments;
  • new questions about different spatial and temporal scales;
  • how cultural texts and narratives are entangled with the emerging environmental and spatial concerns of contemporary society;
  • translated spaces and environments
  • communication and learning in virtual environments

 

Members:

Withold Bonner, UTA

Ana Calvete (UH)

Hanne Juntunen, UTA

Eeva Kuikka, UTA

Toni Lahtinen (UTA)

Pasi Metsä (UTA)

Mika Perkiömäki (UTA)

Laura Pihkala-Posti (UTA)

Maarit Piipponen (UTA)

Juha Raipola (UTA)

Johannes Riquet (UTA Head of research group)

Arja Rosenholm (UTA)

Markku Salmela (UTA)

Essi Vatilo (UTA)

 

Projects

The Changing Environment of the North: Cultural Representations and Uses of Water (CEN), (2017-2021). Academy of Finland, Consortium University of Tampere, PI Arja Rosenholm & University of Eastern Finland, PI Markku Lehtimäki

Mika Perkiömäki: Meanings of the River in late Soviet and early post-Soviet Russian Prose. Emil Aaltonen Foundation

Eeva Kuikka: Human-Animal Relations in Soviet-Russian Literature 1920-2000s. Academy of Finland

Juha Raipola: Contemporary Eco-Dystopian Fiction and Non-Human Agency. Finnish Cultural Foundation

Johannes Riquet (in collaboration with Daniel Graziadei, Britta Hartmann, Ian Kinane and Barney Samson): Island Poetics

Johannes Riquet: Arctic Passages and Transnational Geopolitics (collaborative)

Pasi Metsä: Immersed in Provocative Poverty. Mathias Rosenlund and ‘Kopparbergsvägen 20’ in Dialogically Produced Cultural Spaces. [working title]

Laura Pihkala-Posti: Multimodal, interactive and gamified language learning concepts. Emil Öhmann Foundation, Tampereen yliopisto, Emil Aaltonen Foundation, Tekes (Doctoral Thesis Project)

Toni Lahtinen: Environmental Risks, Dystopias and Myths in Contemporary Literature, (2017-2020) Academy of Finland

Maarit Piipponen (in collaboration with Helen Mäntymäki and Marinella Rodi-Risberg): Detection across Borders: Mobility, Liminality, and Transgression in Crime Narratives.

 

Recent Publications (Selection) 

2017. Laakso, Maria, Toni Lahtinen and Merja Sagulin (eds.) Lintukodon rannoilta: Saarikertomukset suomalaisessa kirjallisuudessa. Helsinki: SKS.

2017. Riquet, Johannes. “Island Spatialities.” The Routledge Handbook of Literature and Space. Ed. Robert T. Tally Jr. London: Routledge.

2017. Costlow, Jane, Yrjö Haila and Arja Rosenholm (eds.) Water in Social Imagination: from Technological Optimism to Contemporary Environmentalism. Amsterdam: Brill and Rodopi, 2017.

2017. Raipola, Juha: “Miksi Hotel Sapiens on olemassa? Leena Krohnin romaani postapokalyptisen fiktion lajikonventioiden valossa.” Pakkovaltiosta ekodystopiaan: Kotimainen nykydystopia. Eds. Saija Isomaa and Toni Lahtinen. Helsinki: Suomalainen klassikkokirjasto, 88-105.

2017. Isomaa, Saija and Toni Lahtinen (eds.) Pakkovaltiosta ekodystopiaan: Kotimainen nykydystopia. Helsinki: Suomalainen klassikkokirjasto.

2016. Costlow, Jane and Arja Rosenholm (eds.) Meanings and Values of Water in Russian Culture. London: Routledge.

2016. Perkiomäki, Mika. “Obraz reki v tvorčestve V. Rasputina (‘Vniz i vverkh po tečeniju’).” Russki tradicionalizm: istorija, ideologija, poètika, literaturnaja refleksija. Ed. Kovtun Natal’ja. Moskva: Flinta/Nauka, 178-188.

2016. Piipponen, Maarit and Markku Salmela. Topographies of Popular Culture. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

2016. Pihkala-Posti, Laura. & Salminen, O. Die kollaborative Lernplattform Wikispaces im finnischen Germanistikunterricht – Ergebnisse und Aussichten. In: Hg Tarvas Mari, Marten Heiko F. und Johanning-Radžienė Antje unter Mitarbeit von Irsfeld Andine Frick Christian, Nowodworska Anna, Nowrousian Schirin, Probst Inga und Schönemann Martin. Beiträge des 10. Nordisch-Baltischen Germanistiktreffens (Tallinn, 10.–13. Juni 2015). Triangulum. Germanistisches Jahrbuch 2015 für Estland, Lettland und Litauen. Einundzwanzigste Folge (2015). Bonn 2016, 173-192

2015. Raipola, Juha. Ihmisen rajoilla: Epävarma tulevaisuus ja ei-inhimilliset toimijuudet Leena Krohnin Pereat munduksessa (Doctoral Thesis). Acta Electronica Universitatis Tamperensis: 1548. Tampere: Tampere University Press.

2015. Ameel Lieven, Jason Finch ja Markku Salmela (eds.) Literature and the Peripheral City. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

 

Forthcoming Publications

2018. Riquet, Johannes and Elizabeth Kollmann (eds.) Spatial Modernities: Geography, Narrative, Imaginaries. London and New York: Routledge, 2018.

Lehtimäki, Markku, Hanna Meretoja and Arja Rosenholm (eds.) Veteen kirjoitettu – veden kirjoittamia: Veden merkityksiä kirjallisuudessa. Helsinki: SKS.

Ameel Lieven, Jason Finch and Markku Salmela (eds.) Literary Second Cities. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.