Areas of expertise
My research has focused on the intellectual relationships between Scandinavia, Finland and the rest of Europe, particularly France, in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. My research crosses traditional borders between disciplines and languages and between local and global. As a cultural and intellectual historian, I am interested in identities, self-representations and social practices, circulations and transfers, conceptual history, and poetry and music as sources for historical research.
My current and recent research topics include the queer history of friendship and sexuality in the eighteenth century, the history of radical philosophy, intellectual networks and cultural cosmopolitanism, the practical and medical Enlightenment, historical biography, and opera.
My new research project Opera in the periphery? Åbo and Paris as musical capitals, 1790–1840 (The Society of Swedish Literature in Finland, 2024–2027) studies Turku (historically Åbo) and Paris as cities of music and theatre through the example of opéra-comique. The project studies how musical and theatrical life contributed to the birth of a bourgeois public sphere and new civic ideals, and it analyses the cultural interactions between a European metropolis and a regional centre from the viewpoint of entangled history and the circulation of ideas. The project employs four researchers from the University of Turku and the Åbo Akademi University. It is a sequel to the earlier project Comic opera and society in France and Northern Europe, ca 1760–1790 (Academy of Finland/University of Helsinki, 2013–2018), where I examined the role of French opéra-comique in the development of eighteenth-century public opinion and political identities in France and Scandinavia mainly from the perspective of Copenhagen and Stockholm.
Among my previous project, the Agents of Enlightenment. Changing the minds in eighteenth-century Northern Europe (Academy of Finland, 2017–2021) examined the role of local knowledge agents for the spread of new, evidence-based knowledge and radical philosophy in Finland and the Baltic area between 1740 and 1810.
Together with Johanna Ilmakunnas at Åbo Akademi University, I have also directed the project Tie meren yli - Vägen över havet (Municipality of Turku and Svenska Kulturfonden, 2019–2021), where we examined cultural, economic and human interaction between Turku and Uppsala from 1640 to 1828.