Leila Koivunen profile picture
Professor, Cultural History and European and World History
Professori, Yleinen historia / Professor, European and World History


+358 29 450 3449
+358 50 328 9844
Vatselankatu 2

Areas of expertise

History of cultural interaction, 19th and 20th centuries, relations between Europeans and other cultures, , history of images, history of mobility, especially journeys of exploration
history of colonialism, relation of Finnish people to colonialism
history of science and knowing
global knowledge
book history, illustration history, material culture
culture of display


I work as a professor of European and World History with a special emphasis in global history and history of cultural interaction. I defended my doctoral thesis in 2006 and was awarded the title of docent in 2007. I have previously worked as an assistant, senior assistant, university lecturer and postdoctoral researcher (Academy of Finland).


Typical teaching year: Master’s seminar, supervision of MA and doctoral students, lecture course on a changing topic and participation in jointly taught courses.


My research interests include the history of European imagination and representation of the non-Western world, the culture of display and the processes of knowledge formation.

My doctoral dissertation (2006) traced the roots of stereotyped European imagery of Africa by focusing on the practices of visual representation and illustration processes in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Recently, I conducted research on history of collecting and displaying “exotic” material cultures in Finnish context. I am also interested in the history of Finnish involvement in colonial activities during the period of Russian rule and the ways in which attitudes closely connected to colonial settings were mediated to Finland.

See the webpage of the University of Turku History of Colonialism Research Group: https://utuhicorg.wordpress.com/


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Reino Kero 1939-2020 (2020)

Historiallinen Aikakauskirja
Koivunen Leila, Syrjämaa Taina
(B1 Kirjoitus tieteellisessä aikakauslehdessä)