Suvi Karila
Project Coordinator

Department of Computing

+358 29 450 2780

+358 50 597 6320

Vesilinnantie 5


Office: 456J

Areas of expertise
Atheism; nonreligion; United States; cultural history; gender history


Currently, I work as a project coordinator at the Department of Computing. My main focus is AI Academy, a center of University of Turku for artificial intelligence research and education.

I’m also a PhD candidate of cultural history at the University of Turku. I began my studies at the University of Turku in the fall of 2008 in comparative literature. My minor subjects included North American Studies, comparative religion and cultural history, which later became my new major subject. I graduated from the Department of Cultural History in the fall of 2013 and began my doctoral studies shortly after in 2014. My Master’s Thesis focused on atheism and human rights in the philosophy of Ernestine L. Rose (1810–1892). With my PhD dissertation I continue with same themes: I study the cultural history of female nonreligion under title "Your God is no longer mine" - Lived Nonreligion of Four Women in the Nineteenth-Century United States. In 2015-2016 I worked as a Visiting Fulbright Fellow at the History Department of Harvard University, collecting archival material for my dissertation.


My PhD project focuses on the cultural history of nonreligion: I study the lived unbelief of women in the context of the 19th century United States. Female unbelief in the 19th century is especially important to explore since unbelief was particularly problematic for women, as a significant part of “true womanhood,” the cultural construction of an ideal woman, was piety. I ask what kinds of spaces of agency the identity of an unbeliever opened and closed for women who questioned the very nature of woman as the more religious sex. How did women manage to combine womanhood and unbelief in their everyday life in this challenging context, how did they live unbelief? My research builds upon the texts written by women as well as the various freethinker periodicals, including the most long-lived publications The Boston Investigator and The Truth Seeker.

2018-2019, fall of 2019

Memory and Narrative seminar

Master's-level seminar for students of cultural history who are in the process of writing their thesis. I taught the seminar together with Liisa Lalu and Karoliina Sjö.


Battling over 'America': A Historical Look at the Culture Wars in the United States.

The course examined the basics of the "culture war" thesis, its main arguments and its most prominent criticisms, and then explore the historical dimensions of the tensions over “America” and “Americanness” that lie at the core of the “culture wars.” I taught the course together with Pekka Kolehmainen.


Last updated on 2021-15-10 at 02:17