Elina Valovirta is a collegium fellow at the Turku Institute for Advanced Studies and the Department of English, University of Turku, Finland. She is the author of Sexual Feelings. Reading Anglophone Caribbean Women’s Writing through Affect (Rodopi 2014) and she has co-authored two volumes as well as published articles in journals such as The Feminist Review, Sexuality and Culture, The European Journal of Cultural Studies and The Journal of Commonwealth Literature. Valovirta is also a senior lecturer at the Department of English (on leave of absence 2022-2024) and holds the title of Docent at the University of Eastern Finland.
I teach courses on literary studies and academic writing, including the MA thesis seminar. I also supervise PhD theses and engage in curricular development thanks to my university teacher's pedagogical qualifications.
My research interests include Anglophone Caribbean literature, academic work, gender, sexuality, reader theory, affect, feminist pedagogy, and romance writing. My current project (TIAS 2022-2024), Romancing the Caribbean, studies the conjuncture of sea and sexuality in Caribbean literature and culture in an effort to generate more ecologically sustainable views on both Caribbean seascapes and sexualities. Through an eclectic corpus of Caribbean women’s writing and popular romance fiction set in the Caribbean, the project focuses on the affective, emotional and gendered nature of the ways in which the literary market has romanced the Caribbean and its seas in recent years.
Framing the phenomenon of Caribbean as a historical, cultural and geographical site of desire through the concept of romance, this study proposes that a process of recycling in the region occurs in the form and manner of romancing the Caribbean. This romancing is inextricably linked to questions of water and the seascape – in the form of, e.g., cruise ship tourism and transactional sex, but also cultural products like literature, as is the case in this study. Romance and romancing, envisioned as a genre and a verb, here highlights and helps interrogate how the oft-co-occurring dimensions of the sea and sex in literary and genre fiction, then, becomes central for questions of sexual liberation and identity-formation. Ultimately, the aim of this interrogation is to produce more sustainable knowledge of the Caribbean and its seascapes from the critical point of view of feminist human-sea studies as a field of the humanities.