Marika Räsänen profile picture
Docent, Faculty of Humanities
Academy Research Fellow, School of History, Culture and Arts Studies


+358 29 450 2232
+358 50 566 9298
Arcanuminkuja 1

Areas of expertise

material culture
church history
religious orders
Great Western Schism
religious reforms
late Middle Ages and the sixteenth century
Roman topography
Italian history and culture


I defended my doctoral thesis in the Department of Cultural History at the University of Turku in 2013. The thesis focused on the desires and demands addressed to Thomas Aquinas’s relics in southern Italy in the Late Middle Ages. I collected source material for the thesis when I worked at the Finnish Institute in Rome for four years as an assistente scientifico(2005–2009). After returning to Finland, I first worked as a researcher at the Turku Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies for several years, and then in the project Modus vivendi. Religious reform and laity in late medieval Europefunded by the Academy of Finland before and after my defence (PI Marjo Kaartinen). In recent years, I have had great opportunities to work abroad: short periods at the Department of Medieval History in the University of Wuppertal (Germany) in 2014 and at the Monash University in Melbourne as a visiting fellow of the ARC Centre of Excellencefor the History of Emotions (Europe 1100–1800). In the beginning of the year 2016, I moved with my family to Poitiers, France, where I conducted my research at the Centre d’Etudes Supérieures de Civilisation Médiévale (CESCM) until summer 2017. I was appointed as a postdoctoral researcher of the Turku Institute for Advanced Studies (University of Turku) in 2017, and the same year, I was conferred the title of docent. I have also been the vice director of Centre for the Study of Christian Cultures (CSCC) and a board member of Turku Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (TUCEMEMS) since 2017.


I am University Teacher of Cultural history. I mainly give courses from BA to MA level, but I also give lectures in optional courses. Topics that I am especially glad to give lectures on include the devotional life of laity in the Late Middle Ages, topography of the city of Rome (from the period of Etruscan kings to Risorgimento), and material culture (especially considering relics).


My research interests include cults of relics, the Great Western Schism, Dominican liturgy, hagiography, and the devotional life of laity in the Late Middle Ages and in the beginning of the Early Modern Period. My recent or current projects include: multidisciplinary and artistic project Touching, Tasting, Hearing, Seeing and Smelling: Sensory Experiences in the Feasts of St Thomas Aquinas (funded by the KONE Foundation in 2015-2018; we organized experimental chanting workshops and concerts, as well as published research monograph, The Medieval Offices of Saint Thomas Aquinas), project of editing medieval texts concerning the translation of Thomas Aquinas's relics in Toulouse (funded by the Finnish Cultural Foundation, 2019-2021) and Dominicans in  the Great Western Schism (as a part of the project Strategies of survival: The papal curia and ecclesiastical institutions of Rome in the Great Western Schism, led by Kirsi Salonen and funded by the Academy of Finland, 2019-2023). 


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