Maarit Leskelä-Kärki
FT, dosentti

Department of Cultural History

+358 29 450 3416

+358 50 328 8582

Arcanuminkuja 1


Tutkimusprojekti Uuden etsijät

SELMA: Centre for the Study of Storytelling, Experientiality and Memory

Areas of expertise
cultural history (1800-1900); gender history; history of writing; literature; biographical research; autobiographical sources; history of religions; esotericism;


I work as the University Lecturer at the Department of Cultural History. During a period in Spring 2022 I act as the professor of the cultural history (fixed term.)

I have worked at the Department of Cultural History since 1998, and I have held various positions: lecturer, co-ordinator, PhD scholar, university teacher, senior lecturer). I did my PhD in a project on the cultural history of women’s writing (2001–2005) which was funded by the Academy of Finland, and I defended my thesis Kirjoittaen maailmassa. Krohnin sisaret ja kirjallinen elämä (The Krohn sisters: Lives in Writing) in 2006. During my doctoral studies, I also worked as a visiting researcher at Liverpool John Moores University. In 2009–2012, I worked as a postdoctoral scholar at the Turku Institute for Advanced Studies. Since 2013, I have worked as Senior Lecturer at the Department. I have also been the vice director of SELMA: Centre for the Study of Storytelling, Experientiality and Memory since 2015. I am also the chari of the Finnish Historical Society (2020–2021) and the chief editor of the National Biography of Finland (2020-2022). Outside academia, I am one of the founding members of the literary society of Aino Kallas, and I am currently acting as the chair of the society.


My research is focused on the cultural history of the
19th and 20th centuries, gender history, history of writing and literature,
biographical research, and life writing studies. Another important research
field is the history of religiousness and esotericism. I am currently leading a
research project funded by the Kone foundation called Seekers of the New: Esotericism and the transformation of religiosity
in Finland during the era of modernisation, 1880–1940(2018–2020).
In 2020 I published an extensive edited anthology on the uses of diary material in historical research (Päiväkirjojen jäljillä. Historiantutkimus ja omasta elämästä kirjoittaminen). Currently I am working with several biographical projects, eg. on Finnish writer and spiritualist Helmi Krohn.

I am also active in international life writing studies network IABA ( International ASsociation for Biography and Autobiography), and organising the next IABA-World conference in Turku. Due to the global pandemic in 2020 the conference has been postponed in 2022.


I teach courses from BA level to PhD level, and I am currently responsible for MA studies, MA seminar, and supervising MA students. I am also part of the supervisor team for doctoral studies together with the professors, and supervise PhD-students in the field of cultural history, both at the University of Turku and in Tampere. I have been leading the research group Gender, Textuality and Writing together with Kirsi Tuohela since 2009. In connection to SELMA I arrange special courses and organise seminars and events.

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Last updated on 2022-29-06 at 02:39