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About me

Dr. Saara Särmä is a feminist, an activist, an artist and a researcher. She’s interested in politics of visuality and image circulation, feminist academic activism, and laughter in world politics. Saara is the creator of “Congrats, you have an all male panel!” and co-founder of the Feminist Think Tank Hattu, which has empowered numerous women in Schools of Daring and Cursing Soirées. Her doctoral dissertation in International Relations (University of Tampere, 2014) focused on internet parody images and developed a unique and innovative art-based collage methodology for studying world politics, which her postdoctoral project (at Tampere University 2019-2023) Making Meaning out of Meme-making expands. Recently, she worked at Finnish National Defence University researching Hybrid Terrorizing. In her artistic work, Saara is engaged in several projects aiming at countering the effects of hatemail and online misogyny. She is committed to making both academia and the world kinder and better places.

Research career

Researcher in Understanding Nordic Digital Order (UNDO) - Digitalisation of Policing in the Nordics, Activism, and Surveillance Oversight, project funded by the Kone Foundation. 2024-2025.

Postdoctoral researcher. Making Meaning Out of Meme-making – the Politics of Online Image Circulation (MEMEPOL). Fundend by the Academy of Finland. 2019-2023.

Postdoctoral researcher in Hybrid Terrorizing (HYTE) - Developing a New Model for the Study of Global Media Events of Terrorist Violence, project funded by the Academy of Finland. At National Defence University. 2017-2019.

Selected publications

2024. ”It came to my attention…” in Writing Saved Me shine choi, Cristina Masters, Marysia Zalewski, Swati Parashar (eds.) Rowman and Littlefield.

Forthcoming 2024 with Juha Vuori “Arts-based methods in IR: what knowledges become possible” in Handbook of Knowledge and Expertise in International Politics Birgit Poopuu (eds.) Oxford University Press.

2023 with shine choi, Cristina Masters, Marysia Zalewski, Michelle Lee Brown, Swati Parashar. Ripping, Cutting, Stitching – Feminist Knowledge Destruction and Creation in Global Politics. Rowman & Littlefield.

2021. “How do we make IR more joyful?” Journal of Narrative Politics (8):1, pp. 35-40.

2020. Underbelly: Making online hate visible. New Perspectives 28:1, 128–141.

2020. “Collaging as an empowering art-based method for IR” 
in Strausz Erzsebet, Shine Choi, & Anna Selmeczi (eds.) Critical Methods in Studying World Politics: Creativity and Transformation. New York: Routledge, Interventions series.

2019 with Anni Kangas, Daria Krivonos, and Inna Perheentupa “Smashing containers, queering the international through collaging”. International Feminist Journal of Politics 21(3), pp. 355–382. 

2018. “Collaging Iranian missiles - Digital security spectacles and visual online parodies” in Vuori, Juha & Rune Saugmann Anderssen (eds.) Visual Security Studies - Sights and Spectacles of Insecurity and War. New York: Routledge, New Security series, pp. 150-171.

2017. “Nuclear wannabes and the worldly relevance of artistic methods” in a forum “A Bridge too far”? On the scholarly impact of worldly relevance for International Relations edited by Andrew Hom. International Studies Review 19(4): 692-721.

2016. “Congrats, you have an all male panel! A personal narrative” International Feminist Journal of Politics 18(3), pp. 470-476.

2016. “Collaging Internet Parody Images – An Art-Inspired Methodology For Studying Visual World Politics” in Hamilton Caitlin & Laura J. Shepherd (eds) Understanding Popular Culture and World Politics in the Digital Age. London: Routledge, pp. 175-188.

2016 with Marjaana Jauhola. “Reflecting Realities and Creating Utopias - Early Career Feminists (Un)Doing International Relations in Finland” in Thwaites, Rachel & Amy Pressland (eds.) (2016). Being an Early Career: Global Perspectives, Experiences, and Challenges. London: Palgrave, pp. 141-165.

2014. Doctoral dissertation Junk feminism and nuclear wannabes - collaging parodies of Iran and North Korea. Acta Universitatis Tamperensis: 1961. Tampere University Press.  

2012. “Feminist interdisciplinarity and gendered parodies of nuclear Iran” in Aalto Pami, Sami Moisio & Vilho Harle (eds) Global and Regional Problems: towards an Interdisciplinary Study. Aldershot: Ashgate, pp. 151-170.

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