Climate crisis and religious change in Sub-Saharan Africa

This anthropological research project explores the relationship between religion and the climate crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa. Understanding and mitigating anthropogenic climate change requires holistic and interdisciplinary research. Religion influences people’s attitudes and behaviours towards the environment, and hence the study of religion is an essential part of climate research. Sub-Saharan Africa is among the world’s regions hardest hit by climate change and it is simultaneously undergoing major religious transformations. In this context, religious institutions wield power in society, and religion offers many people an intellectual and moral lens through which to understand and respond to disrupted weather patterns and livelihoods. The research will be based on data collected by ethnographic methods on three locations: Ghana (West Africa), Cameroon (Central Africa), and Madagascar (East Africa). It will involve the major religious groups on the continent (Christianity, Islam, Indigenous religions).

Borderscapes within Folklore

The idea is to study the diversity of borders from the viewpoint of folklore and vernacular comprehension. The study applies the term ʽborderscapes.ʼ This refers to the diversity and the multivocality of borders in the sense that borders are approached here as cultural affairs for instance in terms of sociocultural inclusion and exclusion rather than merely geographical boundaries. The aim is to examine in what sense and why the diversity of borders appears within customs, local stories, jokes, and other folklore linked to the Finish-Russo borderland? Consequently, this project links to cultural, folklore, and border studies. In addition, it involves artistic practices, as I will make drawings and cartoons in tandem with the analysis. The artistic work on the one hand stands for reflecting the epistemological emphasis of my research endeavor, as well as yielding new interdisciplinary knowledge about the borders-folklore relations. On the other hand, my objective is to make independent artworks that link to the research. Thus, the artwork is truly directed to the public and thus the impact of the study reaches over and beyond academic boundaries. The results explain from the cultural-folkloristic viewpoint why and how inclusive and exclusive processes are entangled with borders. Moreover, the results reveal unknown aspects about folklore from the Finnish-Russo borderland and enable a new kind of critique of folklore studies and collecting.

Diversities of the Environmental Movement in Russia

‘Diversities of the Environmental Movement in Russia’ is an academic research project funded by Kone Foundation. We explore the on-going transformations of the environmental movement in Russia. We investigate the current state of the environmental movement, its different forms of action and recent changes in them, and the possibilities of the movement to have an impact on sustainable development. We analyse the transformations of the movement through three case studies: non-governmental organisations (NGOs) focussed on the conservation of biodiversity, alliances between environmental NGOs and indigenous groups, and eco-villages. All these different forms of the environmental movement operate through social networks in Russia and internationally, and in our research we analyse the recent changes in these networks.

Trees Near Us

“Trees Near Us” is an international and transdisciplinary research project, investigating the relationship of people with trees through science and art. It includes researchers from forest ecology, literature, and cultural anthropology, as well as professionals in the sound and photographic arts. The research is funded by the Finnish Kone Foundation on 2019-2023.

Research project is taking place in Finland and in the Netherlands. Finland and Netherlands represent contrasts in forest cover while still sharing a lot of similar cultural values. This combination makes them an interesting pair to compare how people feel about trees in their environment. Project is being led by the University of Eastern Finland and University of Turku (Finland) and Wageningen University (the Netherlands) are taking part to the study.