Literary Studies provides an in-depth understanding of Western literature and culture as well as wide-ranging expertise in the analysis and interpretation of texts. Recent developments have extended the field of study beyond the analysis of literary fiction (narrowly understood) to include also the analysis of such genres as comics, video games, children’s picture books, and more. Contemporary society has become thoroughly mediatized and text-based, and literary studies at Tampere University reflects these shifts in twenty-first century culture by incorporating also the analysis of text types that are typical of contemporary culture. Understanding societal developments requires an in-depth theoretical and historical understanding of the formation, transmission, and interpretation of meanings. Literary studies provides tools to critically examine the cultural representations and discourses that make sense of the world around us and that produce our understanding of reality, identity, and power. The Degree Programme is deeply involved in multidisciplinary research of contemporary culture and society.
Teaching and research in literary studies focuses on a wide range of subjects, historical as well as contemporary, in Finnish literature and other Western literatures. In the course of their Bachelor’s, Master’s and doctoral studies, students can specialise in various approaches, theories and methods. The Degree Programme in Literary Studies at Tampere University focuses, in particular, on text analysis skills that have a wide range of applications for studying different cultural and social phenomena. Students also have the option to complete the literary studies module that is required for the qualification of Finnish language subject teacher. Literary Studies also manages Kriittisiä tutkielmia (Critical studies, only in Finnish), the publication series for Bachelor’s and Master’s level students. The Degree Programme also hosts several research projects and is the home of Narrare: Centre for Interdisciplinary Narrative Studies at Tampere University.
Welcome to our scientific community!
Researchers in literary studies carry out research on a variety of historical and contemporary topics. Our key theoretical starting points are in narrative studies, the research of genres and affects, ecocriticism, and urban humanities. Our researchers are active in a number of international networks, and several of their research projects apply multidisciplinary approaches. We have a large and lively group of doctoral candidates, with a research seminar that is active all year round.
Literary studies is home to the international multidisciplinary centre Narrare: Centre for Interdisciplinary Narrative Studies, which focuses on the study of narrative form and on the role of narrative in society. The research centre collaborates with other leading research centres in Europe and the United States. Narrare conducts joint research projects, publishes cutting-edge research, organises researcher exchanges, conferences and symposia, and provides interdisciplinary doctoral training. Narrare also collaborates with various communities and professional groups outside the university.
Literary studies researchers are also involved in the organisation of such multidisciplinary research networks as the Association for Literary Urban Studies (Lieven Ameel) and the ENSCAN: Ecocritical Network for Scandinavian Studies¨ (Juha Raipola). The degree programme also organises an annual autumn seminar, where students and researchers popularise literary studies for the general public.
The Degree Programme in Literary Studies and the Narrare centre are conducting the following research projects:
Voices of Democracy: The Will of the People by the People and by Their Representatives (VODE), led by Matti Hyvärinen, is an Academy of Finland-funded research project (2017–2021). The Voices of Democracy project is exploring the way people’s representatives and the nation have conceptualised and debated democracy in different contexts. The analysis of extensive textual data – including stories, speeches and parlance – is providing a comprehensive understanding of the ways by which the nation and people’s representatives understand, share and discuss the nature and development of democracy in Finland over the past decades. The project connects scholars from politics, history, literary studies, and sociology with data processing experts. The aim is to understand the narrative and discursive means of speaking about politics, which produce both political contents and one’s own and others’ actions. The project is testing and developing statistical and grammatical methods of data processing and combining them with multidisciplinary narrative research in order to develop better quantitative and qualitative analyses in the study of large textual data.
The Instrumental Narratives: The Limits of Storytelling and New Story-Critical Narrative Theory (2018-2022) consortium, led by Maria Mäkelä, is an umbrella for projects at Tampere University and the Universities of Turku and Helsinki. The consortium is developing ideas and analytical instruments that will equip researchers, professional groups and non-academic audiences with skills to navigate contemporary social and textual environments that are dominated by storytelling. The project puts contemporary literary fiction in dialogue with the manipulative stories that spread around the internet in order to reveal the dubious relationship that some narratives have with identity, truth, politics, and complex systems such as climate change. The project uses narrative theory to develop new approaches to the dark side of storytelling that are suitable for different disciplines and for non-academic debates. In this work, the project takes advantage of story-critical themes and techniques offered by works of contemporary literature.
Maria Mäkelä, Samuli Pekkola and Jari Stenvall lead the Tarinat tietotekniikan toteutuksessa project (2019–2022) (Stories in the implementation of information technology, INFOSTORY) which is taking a critical look at narratives as part of the development of information systems and applying narrative methods to develop information systems and the management of organisations. The project is funded by the Emil Aaltonen Foundation.
Anna Ovaska’s Reading Experiences of Pain: Enactive and Critical Perspectives on Suffering in Narrative Fiction (2020-2023) project explores the interaction between literary texts and readers from the perspective of narrative representations of physical and emotional pain and trauma. The aim is to develop an embodied and situated theory of reading and text-to-reader interaction, as well as new critical and socially conscious practices of close reading with the help of theories of the enactive philosophy of mind, the phenomenology of reading and neo-formalism. The project is funded by the Kone Foundation.
Hanna Roine’s Academy of Finland-funded postdoctoral fellow project CO-SPEC, Drawing the Possible into the Present: Entanglements of Human and Computer in Speculation (CO-SPEC, 2020–2024) started at Narrare in the autumn of 2020.
The Arctic hysteria – strange Northern emotions project led by Riikka Rossi explores affects and emotions in narratives about Finland as part of the North, and investigates the cultural mentality created by these narratives. The focus is on negative and ambivalent emotions described in and triggered by imaginaries of the North and the Finnish North which are studied with the help of multidisciplinary research on affects. The project is funded by the Kone Foundation (2020-2022).
It is possible to complete Bachelor’s degrees and Master’s degrees in the Degree Programme in Literary Studies. The Doctoral Programme in Literary Studies leads to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Our degree programmes provide up-to-date and diverse expertise in various areas, approaches, theories, and methods of literary studies. Our teaching also includes courses on topics that respond to contemporary social phenomena and societal change. At all levels of study, we emphasise text analysis skills that have a wide range of applications for studying different cultural and social phenomena. Students also have the option to complete the literary studies module that is required for the qualification of Finnish language subject teacher. We offer teaching mostly in Finnish.
Welcome to our degree programmes!
The study coordinator of literary studies is Camilla Pynninen-Kangas
Degree Programme in Literary Studies (in Finnish): https://www.tuni.fi/fi/tule-opiskelemaan/kirjallisuustieteen-koulutus
Master’s Programme in Literary Studies (in Finnish): https://www.tuni.fi/fi/tule-opiskelemaan/kirjallisuustieteen-maisteriohjelma
Doctoral Programme in Literary Studies https://www.tuni.fi/en/study-with-us/doctoral-programme-literary-studies
Every year, the degree programme of literary studies organises events that are open to the general public. The autumn seminar on literary studies is held at the University in October or November, and a presentation of the books shortlisted for Finland’s most prestigious literary award, the Finlandia Prize, is organised at the Tampere City Library. In a public event organised each spring, the Unto and Kerttu Kupiainen Foundation offers awards for the best Master’s degree theses in literary studies at Tampere University. There are also regular public Studia Generalia lecture series. You are also welcome to our dissertation defence events which are open to the public!
The degree programme communicates with its alumni and alumnae via an email list. By joining the email list, you can keep tabs on what is happening in both the student organisation and the degree programme.
Via the email list, you will receive information on, amongst others, new doctoral dissertations in literary studies, the annual autumn seminar of the degree programme, the public Studia Generalia lecture series and the annual presentation of the books shortlisted for the Finlandia Prize. Alumni and alumnae, in turn, are encouraged to tell us about their career paths and about job and internship opportunities. Joining the email list does not carry any obligations.
If you wish to join the list, send a message to Saija Isomaa (saija.isomaa [at] tuni.fi).