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Find a scholar!

Finfar brings together scholars working with science fiction, fantasy and other related areas. Here you can see some of our people.

Aino-Kaisa Koistinen

project researcher, University of Jyväskylä

speculative fiction, crime fiction, Nordic Noir, feminist posthumanism, ecocriticism, cultural studies, media culture, popular culture, television, gender and queer studies, feminist theory, violence in art and the media

PhD Aino-Kaisa Koistinen is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Her research interests include cultural studies (especially media culture and popular culture), science fiction (especially television), gender studies and posthumanism. She defended her PhD thesis The Human Question in Science Fiction Television: (Re)Imagining Humanity in Battlestar Galactica, Bionic Woman and V in 2015. Koistinen has experience in working in different projects, such as the Finnish sub-project of The World Hobbit Project (University of Jyväskylä, in 2016), Abusive Sexuality and Sexual Violence in Contemporary Culture (University of Jyväskylä, in 2012–2014) and Transmedia Literacy (University of Jyväskylä, in 2015). She is a board member of The Finnish Society for Science Fiction and Fantasy Research (Finfar) and one of the editors-in-chief for the peer-reviewed journal Fafnir – Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy Research. She is also one of the organizers of The Monster Network ( focusing on promoting studies on monsters or the monstrous and an affiliate member of the Posthumanities Hub (University of Linköping, Sweden, She has been published, for example, in the peer-reviewed journals NORA—Nordic Journal of Feminist and Gender Research and Science Fiction Film and Television.


    Jyrki Korpua

    lecturer, University of Oulu

    fantasy, myth, Tolkien, Platon, the Bible, comic, utopian and dystopian literature, literary history

    Korpua defended his doctoral dissertation in the University of Oulu in November, 2015. His doctoral thesis, Constructive Mythopoetics in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Legendarium, is the first doctoral thesis on Tolkien's literature to be published in a Finnish humanities faculty. The thesis focuses on the construction of Tolkien's texts and his fantastic universe.

    Since 2005, Korpua has acted as lecturer and researcher of literature in the University of Oulu, as well as a part-time lecturer in the University of Turku (2014-2015). During the past years, he has presented his research in national and international conferences and held dozens of lectures and lecture series on literature and film studies: "The Bible and literature", "Utopias and dystopias", "History of comics", "History of fantasy", "The Fiction or J. R. R. Tolkien", among others. (more…)

        Sanna Tapionkaski

        senior lecturer, University of Jyväskylä

        children’s and young adult fantasy, fan studies, language and gender, identity, critical discourse studies, feminist discourse studies, narrative studies, culture studies, literary studies, (new) media discourses

        My research is situated in the area of identity, language and children and youth cultures. My earlier research investigated discourses of identity and power in children’s fantasy literature, focusing on intersections of gender and age but also touching upon sexuality, class, ethnicity and nationality. My continuing interest is in narratives that rewrite, challenge and question stereotypes and conventional representations of gendered identities and power structures. In my current research I have been interested in online, transnational fan cultures where fans, inspired by fictional narratives, negotiate and perform their identities in creative ways through their fan practices. Apart from fantasy books, I am currently interested in animated series and games produced and marketed for children but attracting adult fans as well.


            Irma Hirsjärvi

            project coordinator in the University of Jyväskylä

            Irma Hirsjärvi, PhD, works as a researcher in the University of Jyväskylä (The Research Centre for Contemporary Culture) in the Academy of Finland project Populism as movement and rhetoric.

            Hirsjärvi has acted as one of the Finnish representatives in the EU COST-Action IS090 project (Participation in/through media, Work Group 2), member in the Baltic region Young people reading fantasy project, as well as coordinator and researcher in The Global Comparative Youth Media Participation project (Academy of Finland 2009-2013). She is one of the founding members of The Finnish Society for Science Fiction and Fantasy Research (FINFAR), and member of the board in the peer-reviewed journal Fafnir (Nordic Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy).


              Katja Kontturi

              postdoctoral researcher, University of Jyväskylä

              comics, fantasy, Disney, postmodernism, therapeutical possibilities of comics, comic blogs

              Katja Kontturi, PhD, defended her doctoral dissertation in the University of Jyväskylä in December 2014. Her thesis of contemporary culture studies, Duckburg - the Gate between Two Worlds: Don Rosa's Disney Comics as Postmodern Fantasy received vast publicity in media. Kontturi analyzed how comics depict fantasy with both text and image. In addition, she studied various postmodern narrative means such as intertextuality and metalepsis. In her dissertation, Kontturi developed an analysis model for comics which is compatible for teaching comic narration and comic reading skills in primary schools.

              Kontturi has published several articles and taught a course of comics history, theory, analysis and interpretation in literary studies between 2013-2015. She is a member of NNCORE, FINFAR and Finnish Comics Society. She's also one of the editors of the peer reviewed Scandinavian Journal of Comic Art.


                  Merja Polvinen

                  Senior lecturer, English philology, University of Helsinki

                  SF literature; cognitive approaches to literary studies; literature and science

                  Merja Polvinen is a long-term SF-fan, and a member of the board in both Finfar and Fafnir. Her PhD research focused on the dialogue between literature and science, and in her post-doc work she has analysed the possibilities offered to literary studies by the cognitive sciences. Merja has taught SF-courses at the University of Helsinki (as well as once at the Fudan University in Shanghai), and is supervisor to several dissertation projects focusing on SF literature. Her favourite writers include Tolkien (of course), Catherynne M. Valente, Ted Chiang and China Miéville.


                    If you are looking for an expert in a particular topic, you can also contact the Secretary of the Society at In addition to the doctors presented here, Finfar hosts a league of graduate students and undergraduates.