My research focuses on the traumatic cultural memory of slavery in contemporary African American literature. I also teach two advanced level option courses in English Language and Culture.
The political and social meanings of literature are at the very center of my research. I’m particularly interested in identities and the related intersectional phenomena, problems, and categories, such as those of race, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender. My research is, to an extent, based on Fredric Jameson’s views on the political significance of literature and culture. I have constructed my own version of the dialectic of ideology and utopia, which Jameson introduced, but left somewhat vague. The main idea is that utopia is much more than an idealistic vision of a perfect society of happiness. In my view, it is more rewarding to think of utopia as an impulse or desire, constructed in our efforts to solve problems. In literary texts, this happens both on the level of form and content. Related to these issues are also the concepts of space, mobility, and borders. My field is the literature of African Americans and the black diaspora, but these theoretical premises provide possibilities to probe into a large variety of other texts and phenomena. My current research project focuses on the representations and imaginary resolutions of the cultural trauma of the memory of slavery in contemporary African American literature.
School of Humanities, Foreign Languages and Translation Studies
+358 50 465 7514
Kilpeläinen, Pekka. 2021. When the Utopian Impulse "Fails": Queer Spatialities of Traumatic Cultural Memory in Randall Kenan's A Visitation of Spirits Amerikastudien 65 3: 299-323. 2021
Kilpeläinen, Pekka. 2020. Stephanie Li, Pan-African American Literature: Signifyin(g) Immigrants in the 21st Century American studies in scandinavia 51 2: 127-129. 2020
Transnational Voices of Resistance: Richard Wright and James Baldwin. Kilpeläinen, Pekka A / A Companion to World Literature: 1920 to Early Twenty-First Century: Social Justice. Volume 5a. 2020. 2020
Sex and the Twentieth-Century Novel. Kilpeläinen, Pekka / James Baldwin in Context. 2019. 2019
Kilpeläinen Pekka. 2016. At the Meetin' Tree: Reading, Storytelling, and Transculturation in Daniel Black's They Tell Me of a Home. European journal of American studies 11 2: 10. 2016
Kilpeläinen Pekka. 2016. Orjuuden muisto ei unohdu. KARJALAINEN. 19.03.2016. s.B4 2016
Kilpeläinen Pekka. 2015. Birgit M. Baudril, Betwixt, Between, or Beyond? Negotiating Transformations from the Liminal Sphere of Contemporary Black Performance Poetry. American Studies in Scandinavia 46 2: 91-94. 2015
Pekka Kilpeläinen. 2014. 'Like the Sound of a Crumbling Wall': Transcultural Spatiality in James Baldwin's Just above My Head. Atlantic Studies: Global Currents -: -. 2014
Pekka Kilpeläinen. 2014. James Baldwin's Gospel of Postcategorical Love: A. Scott Henderson, P. L. Thomas, James Baldwin: Challenging Authors. 181-196. 2014
Pekka Kilpeläinen. 2012. Mapping the Transcultural Impulse of Postcategorical Utopia: Modernity and Its Black Counterculture in James Baldwin's Just above My Head. Otherness: Essays and Studies 3.1: 1-13. 2012