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

    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).


        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…)

          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.


          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.


            Essi Varis

            PhD candidate in literature, University of Jyväskylä

            fictional characters, cognitive narrative studies, speculative comics and graphic novels, posthumanism, geek culture, Frankenstein, the methodologies of narrative studies
            Essi Varis completed her licentiate's degree in literature at the University of Jyväskylä in 2013, and has worked as a doctoral researcher at her home department (of Music, Art and Culture Studies) ever since. Her compilation dissertation, which she is set to defend in early 2019, explores the challenges cognitive narrative studies and comics storytelling set to the current theoretical understanding of fictional characters. These explorations suggest a new enactive theory of fictional characters as paradoxical Frankensteinian creatures that are forever suspended between different texts, readers, meanings and interpretations. In the future, Varis aims to investigate the tools and possibilities speculative and multimodal fiction can offer to speculative thinking more generally.


            Hanna-Riikka Roine

            Postdoctoral researcher, Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies

            narratology, digital media, speculative fiction, worldbuilding, rhetoric, fandom

            Hanna-Riikka Roine is a researcher interested in all things speculative in art and entertainment. She works as a research fellow in the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies 2017–2020, and also as a researcher within the iNARR consortium and its Helsinki team (lead by Merja Polvinen), which works towards a theoretical frame for how speculative techniques push against the limits of narrativity. Her expertise lies in the thorough understanding of contemporary narrative theory, game and digital media studies, and the many forms of communality in the contemporary culture. Hanna-Riikka’s dissertation, which she defended in 2016 at the University of Tampere, demonstrated that as a rhetorical and communicative practice, worldbuilding accounts for the specific appeal of speculative fiction across media, but also for the aspects of engagement with fiction in general. She also worked as one of the founding editors-in-chief of Fafnir – Nordic Journal for Science Fiction and Fantasy Research until the end of 2016, and taught courses from fantasy and science fiction to narratology and digital media. (more…)

              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, a former member of the Finfar board, and a member of the Academic Advisory Board for 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), is supervisor to several dissertation projects focusing on SF literature, and currently leads a research project focusing on speculative fiction within the Instrumental Narratives consortium, funded by the Academy of Finland for 2018-2022. Her favourite writers include Tolkien (of course), Catherynne M. Valente, Ted Chiang and China Miéville. (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.


                    If you are looking for an expert in a particular topic, you can also contact the manager of this page at In addition to the experts presented here, Finfar hosts a league of other scholars.