Members of the Society

The Finnish Society for human-Animal Studies has more than 100 members. Members of the society can publish their research profiles in the society’s website.

Roni Grén, PhD, researcher
Organisation: University of Turku, Faculty of Humanities, Art History
Contact details: roni.gren (at)
Research Interests: Working on a postdoctoral research on the relations between the image of the animal and the modern theory of art.
Keywords: Theory of art, aesthetics, modern, animal art, concept of the animal, continental philosophy

Taija Kaarlenkaski, PhD
Organisation: University of Eastern Finland, Philosophical Faculty, Finnish Language and Cultural Research, Folklore Studies
Contact details: taija.kaarlenkaski (at)
Keywords: Cultural relationships between human beings and cows, gendered human-animal relationships, writing competition materials

Iiris Kasanen, DVM, PhD, veterinarian and researcher
Organisation: University of Eastern Finland, Laboratory Animal Center
Contact details: iiris.kasanen (at)
Research interests: I am doing research on issues relating to laboratory animal welfare. I am especially interested in combining natural sciences with an ethics perspective.
Keywords: rat, diet board, welfare, dietary restriction

Leena Koivusilta, (PhD, M.Soc.Sc, professor, docent)
Research profile in Academia

Tua Korhonen, PhD, Docent of Greek Literature
Organisation: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Arts, Department of Classical Philology
Contact details: tua.korhonen (at)
Research interests: My study, “Identification and Intimacy. The Empathic Human Animal Bond in Antiquity” explores the human-animal relations in Classical Antiquity, especially in the Greek world. Formely I have done research (side-studies) on, e.g., vegetarianism and animal lovers in Antiquity.
Keywords: Human-animal relations, human-animal bond in Antiquity, images of animals, human-animal boundary, representations of animals, animality and humanity

Saara Kupsala, PhD, Postdoctoral Researcher
Organisation: University of Helsinki, Department of Cultures, Gender Studies
Contact details: saara.kupsala (at)
Research profile: Reseachgate
Research interests: My research has focused on studying the status of farmed animals from sociological perspectives. In my PhD thesis (University of Eastern Finland, 2019), I examined Finnish attitudes to farmed animals and perceptions of animal mind drawing on sociological animal studies. My research has also covered the marketing strategies of the Finnish meat industry. In my current project, I examine cultural negotiations on vegan foods in large-scale catering settings.
Keywords: Sociological animal studies, critical animal studies, nonhuman animals as food

Otto Latva, PhD, Head of Research
Organisation: University of Turku, School of History, Culture and Arts Studies, Cultural History
Contact details: otto.latva(at)
Research interests: Dr. Latva is a historian, specialized in human-animal studies and the study of marine and environmental history. He has published several texts concerning the shared past of the humans and marine animals, and the historical perceptions of the marine environment.
Keywords: giant squid, deep-sea gigantism, how animals were seen and interpreted in the past, history of emotions, encountering the unknown, the other, history of mentalities, myth versus science

Riitta-Marja Leinonen, PhD, University Teacher
Organisation: University of Oulu, Cultural Anthropology
Contact details: riitta-marja.leinonen(at)
Research interests: I made my dissertation on Finnish horse culture, horsemanship skills and human-horse relationship. In addition I have investigated human-horse relationship at war and in logging sites and death of a horse.
Keywords: Anthropology of human-animal relations, human-animal communication, local knowledge and scientific knowledge, horse cultures, horsemanship skills

Philip Line, PhD
Organisation: Independent scholar. PhD from Leeds University, UK
Contact details: philip.line(at)
Research subject: My PhD concerned the medieval history of Sweden. Because I was interested in the historical relationship between humans and non-human animals in the ancient, medieval and modern eras, while I was doing my PhD I also researched the attitude of people to nature in the Middle Ages. I am carrying out further research into matters related to medieval animals, and writing a book about humans and animals in the Middle Ages with reference to modern studies in ethics, sociology and neuroscience
Keywords: Ancient world, Middle Ages, animals, philosophy, moral value of animals, history of human use of animals

Annika Lonkila, MSc, Junior Researcher, PhD student
Organisation: University of Eastern Finland, Department of Geographical and Historical Studies, Environmental Policy. Working as an external research at the Environmental Policy Centre of the Finnish Environment Institute in Helsinki.
Contact details: annika.lonkila(a)
Research interests: In my PhD project I study the introduction of genomic technologies into livestock breeding and the production of genomic knowledge. I examine market creation and the making of commodities, as well as the impacts of biotechnological development to animal ethics, the relationships between humans and non-humans, and dairy production more broadly.
Keywords: biotechnology, genomic selection, livestock breeding, cattle, dairy production, commodification, market creation,  science and technology studies

Lotta Luhtala, MA, Ph.D. Candidate
Organization: University of Eastern Finland, Finnish Language and Cultural Research, Literature
Contact details: lotta.luhtala (at)
Research profile: :
Research interests: The title and topic of my doctoral dissertation is The Theory and Method of Vegan Readership. Intersectional Connections in Vegan Fiction. I study intertwined relations of veganism, non-human animals, gender and the environment in Finnish and international narrative fiction and societal discourses.
Keywords: Veganism, vegetarianism, animal philosophy, critical animal studies, human-animal studies, literature, fictional animals, animal rights, power relations, mainstream culture, counterculture, values, ethics, ecofeminism, ecocriticism, genders, human-animal relations

Heta Lähdesmäki, MA, Researcher, PhD student
Organisation: University of Turku, School of History, Culture and Arts Studies, Cultural History
Contact details: heta.lahdesmaki(at)
Research interests: I am working on a doctoral thesis concerning the power relationship between humans and wolves in the 20th century Finland.
Keywords: power, human-animal interrelationship, conservation, hunting, human-animal conflicts, representation of wolves, animal agency

Kreeta Ranki, PhD
Organisation: Unversity of Turku, Philosophy
Contact details: kreeta.ranki (at)
Research profile: Academia
Keywords: philosophical animal research, animal consiousness, the difference between animals and humans, animal welfare

Outi Ratamäki, D.Soc.Sc, Docent
Organisation: University of Eastern Finland, Joensuu
Contact details: outi.ratamaki(at)
Research profile: Academia
Keywords: Humna-Animal Studies, large carnivores, animal policy, governance

Erika Ruonakoski, PhD, Senior Lecturer
Organisation: University of Jyväskylä, Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy
Contact details: erika.e.ruonakoski(at); erika.ruonakoski(at)
Research interests: The experiences of empathy and difference in the human-animal relationship. My approach is phenomenological.
Keywords: phenomenology, perception, empathy, experience of difference, encounter, reciprocity, embodiment, symbols in non-human communication, temporality, mirror tests, Merleau-Ponty, Husserl, Stein

Maria Helena Saari, MA, postgraduate student
Organisation: Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, Master in Animal Law and Society. Research Group (
Contact details: mariahelenasaari (at)
Research interests: I am currently undertaking a wide range of research concerning animal exploitation, the ethical standing of animals in modern society and their status in legal systems around the world. My thesis focuses on humane education as an important tool for changing the moral standing of animals, offering a method to change the paradoxical representation of animals and as a way of fostering a positive and compassionate human-animal relationship.
Keywords: humane education, ethics, animal rights, the moral and legal standing of animals, representation of animals, empathy, human-animal relationship

Nora Schuurman, MSc, PhD
Organisation: University of Eastern Finland, Karelian Institute
Contact details: nora.schuurman (at)
Research interests:My doctoral dissertation concerns human-animal relations and knowledge in horsekeeping and conceptions of equine welfare
Keywords: human-animal relations, horsekeeping, equines, knowledge, expertise, animal welfare

Tarja Salmela, D. Soc.Sci, Post-doctoral scholar
Organization: University of Lapland, Multidimensional Tourism Institute
Contact details:, Twitter: @TarjaSalmela
Research profile:
Research topics: I am a feminist scholar with a background in organization and management studies. I work currently as a postdoctoral researcher in Finnish Academy project ”Envisioning proximity tourism with New Materialism” (2019-2023) ( My research is guided by feminist philosophy, especially feminist new materialisms and ecofeminism. I work currently with topics of care, death and rhythms of life within the multispecies collectives in Finnish forests. I also produce feminist #anifemail performance art together with my colleague Susanna Hast.

Salla Tuomivaara, Sociologist, Ph.D
Organisation: University of Tampere, Faculty of Social Sciences, Sociology
Contact details:; Website:
Research interests: My doctoral dissertation Searching for the roots of exclusion: animals in the sociologies of Westermarck and Durkheim explores the forms in which animal and animals appear in the texts of the classical era of sociology and the sociological themes that bring animals into them. It searches for the significance of the human–animal boundary in sociological theory construction from a historical perspective.
Keywords: Sociology of human-animal relations, animal–human dualism / human-animal boundary, representations of animals, animality and humanity, history of sociology.

Sari Ung-Lanki, M.Soc.Sc., PhD student
Organisation: University of Jyväskylä, Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy
Contact details: sari.ung-lanki(at)
Research interests: I am working on a doctoral dissertation concerning human-animal boundaries and boundary work in modern biotechnology
Keywords: humanity, animality, boundary work, biotechnology, posthumanism, sociology of human-animal relations, science and technology studies

Selina Väliheikki, MA Textile design, MA student
Organisation: Aalto University of Architecture, Art and Design, Department of Art, MA student in Curating, Managing and Mediating Art (CuMMA)
Contact details: selina.valiheikki(at)
Research interests: Working on a Master’s thesis about inter-species encounters, fellow beings and cohabitation under a working title ”How can we travel together?”
Keywords: encounters, fellow beings, representation, learning

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