JMC Personnel

Dr. Benita Heiskanen
Professor of North American Studies, Director

Docent of North American Studies, University of Helsinki
Docent of American Studies, University of Turku

Tel.  +358 (0) 29 450 2205
​Email: benita.heiskanen[at]utu.fi
Office: Publicum Building, Room 262

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JMC - Benita Heiskanen

Biography

Benita Heiskanen received her Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 2004, and has since then worked in Ireland, Denmark, and Finland. Before joining the JMC, she was employed as Collegium Researcher at the Turku Institute for Advanced Studies (TIAS). Her recent publications include two journal issues, “Popularizing Politics: The 2016 U.S. Presidential Election,” in the European Journal for American Studies (coedited with Albion M. Butters) and “Disrupting Insecurities: Grassroots Interventions in North America,” in Comparative American Studies (coedited with Samira Saramo). Heiskanen is the author of The Urban Geography of Boxing: Race, Class, and Gender in the Ring (New York: Routledge, 2012; paperback 2014). Her peer reviewed publications include journal articles in Comparative American Studies, the JOMEC Journal: Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies; Middle Ground Journal: World History and Global Studies; American Studies in Scandinavia; European Journal of American Studies, European Journal of Cultural Studies; Diálogos Latinoamericanos; Auto/Biography; Journal of Sport History; and Wider Screen.

Heiskanen’s areas of interest include Transnational American Studies,  race and ethnicity in the United States, U.S. Latino/as, the U.S.-Mexico border region, USA-Cuba relations, US gun culture and politics, popular culture, and sport. Methodologically, she specializes in transdisciplinary research methods, ethnography, oral history, and visual analysis. Theoretically, she is interested in the geography of the body, space, and place; the ethics of looking; politics of visual culture; and race, class, and gender formations. She currently directs a four-year research project on Texas's ‘Campus Carry’ legislation, funded by the Academy of Finland and a three-year project on urban transformation in Havana, funded by the KONE Foundation. In addition, she directs a one-year project, funded by the Helsingin Sanomat Foundation, examining U.S. and Finnish media’s reporting of the 2018 high school shootings in Parkland, Florida. Her previous project examined experiences and representations of violence on the El Paso, Texas-Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua border between the United States and Mexico (both the femicides [feminicidio] that began in the 1990s and the so-called "drug war" of the 21st century). She is a columnist for Suomen Kuvalehti and a frequent commentator in Finnish media about U.S. history, society, and culture.​

Dr. María A. Gutiérrez Bascón
Postdoctoral Researcher

Email: maria.gutierrezbascon[at]utu.fi
Office: Publicum Building, Room 264

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JMC - María A. Gutiérrez Bascón

Biography

María A. Gutiérrez Bascón received her PhD in Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Studies from the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Chicago in 2018. Entitled “La Habana imaginada: Nostalgia, ruinas y utopía después de 1990,” her dissertation investigated the ways in which the city of Havana has been imagined since the fall of the Berlin Wall, with a particular emphasis on documentary film, literature, architecture and urbanism. Gutiérrez is currently working on a book manuscript based on her doctoral work, which she completed thanks to a Mellon Humanities Dissertation Completion Fellowship, awarded in 2016. From 2012 to 2017, Gutiérrez regularly taught Spanish language and Latin American literature courses at the University of Chicago. In 2014 and 2015, she served as program assistant for the University of Chicago Study Abroad program in Oaxaca, Mexico.

At the John Morton Center, Gutiérrez will be part of the CUBAFLUX research project, and will study recent experiences of urban transformation in Havana.

Dr. Reetta Humalajoki
University Lecturer

Tel. +358 (0) 29 450 3894
Email: reetta.humalajoki[at]utu.fi
Office: Publicum Building, Room 256

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JMC - Reetta Humalajoki

Biography

Reetta Humalajoki is an Academy of Finland Postdoctoral researcher. Her current project, titled "Transnational Indigenous Activism: Asserting Sovereignty in the Cold War United States and Canada, 1953-1975," examines national Indigenous organizations in both a comparative and transnational context. She is also interested in contemporary activist movements, U.S. and Canadian domestic policy, oral history, cultural appropriation, and popular representations of race.

Humalajoki completed her Ph.D. in History at Durham University in 2016, funded by the Osk. Huttunen Foundation and Finnish Cultural Foundation. She is currently revising her dissertation on the language surrounding the U.S. American Indian policy of termination for publication. She has articles forthcoming in Journal of American Studies and Cold War History. Her peer-reviewed article in the Western Historical Quarterly (Winter 2017) was awarded the Bert M. Fireman and Janet Fireman Award by the Western History Association. Before joining the JMC, Humalajoki taught at Durham University and the University of Newcastle. In 2017, she was Northumbria University’s Early Career Visiting Fellow in American Studies and a Visiting Research Fellow at the British Library’s Eccles Centre for North American Studies.

Dr. Henna-Riikka Pennanen
Postdoctoral Researcher

Tel. +358 (0) 29 450 3098
Email: henna-riikka.pennanen[at]utu.fi
Office: Publicum Building, Room 253

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JMC - Henna-Riikka Pennanen

Biography

Henna-Riikka Pennanen is a TIAS (Turku Institute of Advanced Studies) Post-Doctoral Researcher working at the JMC. Her research project "Rising Dragon, Rising Sun: A Century of Threat Perceptions of China and Japan in the United States" analyzes U.S. elite threat perceptions on China and Japan during three time periods from the turn of the 20th century to the present. The project contributes to international relations studies, U.S. cultural, political and social history, and transnational American studies.

Before joining the JMC in 2017, Pennanen received her Ph.D. in History from the University of Jyväskylä in 2015 and held fixed-term positions as Post-Doctoral Researcher and Project Coordinator in the Department of History and Ethnology at the University of Jyväskylä. In her doctoral work, Pennanen specialized in 19th century conceptual and intellectual history and history of U.S.–East Asian relations. At JMC, Pennanen has conducted projects on contemporary U.S.–East Asia relations and narratives of “the West.”

Nadia Nava Contreras
Project Researcher

Email: nadia.navacontreras[at]utu.fi
Office: Publicum Building, Room 261

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JMC - Nadia Nava Contreras

Biography

Nadia Nava Contreras holds a master’s degree in History of the Americas from Universidad Michoacana (Mexico) and currently is a PhD candidate in Social Sciences (political history) at the University of Helsinki. Her doctoral research deals with Mexican – Finnish relations from the last third of the 19th century to the 1970’s and revolves around the construction of mutual images, diplomacy and cooperation projects.

At the John Morton Center, Nadia Nava Contreras is part of the CUBAFLUX research team and is interested in studying the ways in which Havana residents perceive, live, cope and represent the rapid urban changes the city is facing.

Pekka Kolehmainen
University Teacher

Tel.  +358 (0) 40 73 119 72
Email: pmkole[at]utu.fi
Office: Publicum Building, Room 254

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JMC - Samira Saramo

Biography

Pekka Kolehmainen's Ph.D. dissertation explores the use of rock as an idea in U.S. political media and public discussions during the 1980s and 1990s and the ways in which it was linked to critique and debate around contemporary culture. His interest lies in the cultural processes of Reagan-era United States, the cultural history of U.S. conservatism, and the connections between popular culture and politics. At the JMC, Kolehmainen is part of the Campus Carry research project where he conducts analysis of the Campus Carry debates through both social and regular media.

Jaakko Dickman
Research Assistant

Email: jaakko.k.dickman[at]utu.fi
Office: Publicum Building, Room 261

 

 

JMC_Jaakko Dickman

Biography

Jaakko Dickman is a graduate student at the Department of Media Studies in the University of Turku. He is currently working on his master’s thesis “Breitbart as an Affective Community: Case Capitol Hill Riots,” revolving around the role of emotions in the processes of interpretation in the current right-wing online news comment sections.

At the JMC, Jaakko is assisting with the Cuba in Flux: Visualizing Urban Transformation in Havana research project.

Valtteri Leinonen
Intern

Email: valtteri.e.leinonen[at]utu.fi
Office: Publicum Building, Room 252

 

 

JMC_Valtteri Leinonen

Biography

Valtteri Leinonen is completing his master’s degree in Media Studies at the University of Turku, with a minor in North American Studies and Philosophy. In his master’s thesis, he will be investigating the role of online forums, dedicated to celebrities, in disseminating political ideology among users. The case study involves the online forum r/elonmusk and will focus on the followers of the billionaire-entrepreneur in question.

At the JMC, Leinonen is responsible for social media management, the creation of promotional and visual materials as well as event organization.

Advisory Board & Council 2019–

JMC Advisory Board 2019–2023

Benita Heiskanen, Professor of North American Studies, University of Turku

Nina Tynkkynen, Associate Professor, Political Science Unit, Åbo Akademi University

Hannu Salmi, Academy Professor, Cultural History, University of Turku

Henri Vogt, Professor of Political Science, University of Turku

 

JMC Council 2019–2022

Chair

 

Vice Chair

 
Eero Hokkanen

Senior Specialist
Eero Hokkanen
Ministry of Transport and Communications

Minna Ruckenstein Associate Professor
Minna Ruckenstein
Center for Consumer Society Research, University of Helsinki
Helsinki Center for Digital Humanities
       

Members

     
Minna Aila EVP, Marketing and
Corporate Affairs
Minna Aila
Konecranes
Mika Akkanen

Manager of International Affairs
Mika Akkanen
City of Turku

       
Ulla Bergström Director
Ulla Bergström
Stoa Cultural Centre
 
Seija-Liisa Eskola Creative Director and Head of Scripted
Seija-Liisa Eskola
Warner Bros. Finland
       
Lena Grenat Executive Director
Lena Grenat
SAM
Markku Henriksson Professor Emeritus
Markku Henriksson
University of Helsinki
       
Taina Iduozee ARC Director
Taina Iduozee
Embassy of the United States
Juha Itkonen Author
Juha Itkonen
 
       
Soili Kangaskorpi Director, Unit for North America
Soili Kangaskorpi
Ministry for Foreign Affairs
Ulla Koski President
Ulla Koski
Helsingin Sanomat Foundation
       
Teemu Leinonen Associate Professor of New Media Design and Learning
Teemu Leinonen
Aalto University
Juan Carlos Moya


Juan Carlos Moya
Business Investment Solutions
JCM Consulting

       
Mary McDonald-Rissanen Researcher, Writer, Lecturer
Mary McDonald-Rissanen
 
Terhi Mölsä Chief Executive Officer
Terhi Mölsä
Fulbright Finland Foundation
       
Mette Nordström Journalist
Mette Nordström
YLE
Alexandra Pasternak-Jackson Chief Executive Officer
Alexandra Pasternak-Jackson
Amcham
       
Jussi Ropo Chief Financial Officer
Jussi Ropo
Barona
Sampo Ruoppila Research Director
Sampo Ruoppila
University of Turku
       
Laura Saarikoski Managing Editor
Laura Saarikoski
Helsingin Sanomat
Leena Svinhuvud Educational Curator,
Board Member
Leena Svinhufvud
Design Museum, Jenny and
Antti Wihuri Foundation
       
Elina Talonen-Lintunen Executive Director, Fundraising
Elina Talonen-Lintunen
Youth for Understanding Finland
Juha Vuori Professor
Juha Vuori
Tampere University
       
David Yoken Lecturer
David Yoken
Turku University of Applied Sciences
   

 

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Board & Council 2017–2018

JMC Board 2017–2018

Chair

 

Vice Chair

 
Juha Vuori Professor
Juha Vuori
University of Tampere
Sampo Ruoppila Research Director
Sampo Ruoppila
University of Turku
       

Members

     
Taina Iduozee ARC Director
Taina Iduozee
Embassy of the
United States
Elina Mainela-Arnold Professor
Elina Mainela-Arnold
University of Turku
       
Terhi Mölsä Chief Executive Officer
Terhi Mölsä
Fulbright Finland
Foundation sr
Lauri Rapeli Director of Research
Lauri Rapeli
Åbo Akademi University
       
Minna Ruckenstein Senior Researcher
Minna Ruckenstein
Consumer Society
Research Centre,
University of Helsinki
Hannu Salmi Professor
Hannu Salmi
University of Turku

 

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JMC Council 2017–2018

Chair

 

Vice Chair

 
Arja Suominen

SVP, Communications
and CR
Arja Suominen
Finnair

Marjatta Hietala Professor Emerita
Marjatta Hietala
University of Tampere
       

Members

     
Minna Aila EVP, Marketing and
Corporate Affairs
Minna Aila
Konecranes
Jari Ala-Ruona Founder
Jari Ala-Ruona
Aion Sigma
       
Seija-Liisa Eskola
Head of Productions
and Scripted
Seija-Liisa Eskola
Warner Bros. Finland
Kjell Forsen CEO
Kjell Forsén
Vaisala
       
Lena Grenat Executive Director
Lena (Hartikainen) Grenat
SAM
Veera Heinonen Director, Communications and
Public Affairs
Veera Heinonen
Sitra
       
Markku Henriksson Professor Emeritus
Markku Henriksson
University of Helsinki
Eero Hokkanen Communications Manager
Eero Hokkanen
Arctia
       
Kari Huhta Journalist
Kari Huhta
Helsingin Sanomat
Jenni Isola Director, Membership Services
Jenni Isola
Amcham Finland
       
Kristina Kaihari Counsellor of Education
Kristina Kaihari
Finnish National Agency
for Education
Elina Kalkku Under-Secretary of State
Elina Kalkku
Ministry of Foreign
Affairs of Finland
       
Saara Kankaanrinta CEO and Co-Founder
Saara Kankaanrinta
Soilfood
Ulla Koski President
Ulla Koski
Helsingin Sanomat Foundation
       
Tanja Kotro Director of Strategy
Tanja Kotro
Viima Solutions
Jarno Limnell Professor
Jarno Limnéll
Aalto University
       
Tuomo Lähdesmäki Chairman,
Board of Directors
Tuomo Lähdesmäki
Turku University Foundation
Mette Nordström Journalist
Mette Nordström
YLE
       
Minna Nurminen Board Member
Minna Nurminen
Kone Foundation
Leena Svinhuvud Educational Curator,
Board Member
Leena Svinhufvud
Design Museum, Jenny and
Antti Wihuri Foundation
       
Elina Talonen-Lintunen Executive Director, Fundraising
Elina Talonen-Lintunen
Youth for Understanding Finland
Jussi Valtonen Author
Jussi Valtonen
       
Keijo Virtanen Professor Emeritus
Keijo Virtanen
University of Turku
   

 

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