Elina Vuola


    Research areas

  • 614 Theology - Religion and Gender, Religion in Latin America, Feminist theology, Liberation Theology, Religion and Conflict
  • 5203 Development Studies - Gender Studies, Latin American Studies

Description of research and teaching

Elina Vuola (born 1960 in Kankaanpää, Finland) is Professor of Global Christianity and Dialogue of Religions at the Faculty of Theology, University of Helsinki. In 2013-2017 she was Academy Professor of the Academy of Finland at the Faculty of Theology. Her research project Embodied Religion. Changing Meanings of Body and Gender in Contemporary Forms of Religious Identity in Finland developed an interdisciplinary research trajectory that combines research on religion as it is lived (ethnographic methods) with theological (textual) analysis in order to create a more comprehensive picture of how theology and religious identities interact, especially in contexts where these might be in tension with each other. The objective was to understand the complex relationship between certain Judeo-Christian religious traditions and their followers´ identities and sense of agency within them. The meaning of that heritage is largely debated and constructed over issues of women´s rights and sexuality.

Professor Vuola has also served as professor of Latin American studies (Department of World Cultures, University of Helsinki, 2008-11), university lecturer of missiology (Faculty of Theology, 2011-12) and gender studies (Department of Gender Studies, 2007) as well as in the following full-time research positions: Academy Research Fellow (Academy of Finland, 2002-07), Research Associate and Visiting Lecturer (Women´s Studies in Religion Program, Harvard Divinity School, USA, 2002-03), post-doctoral research fellow (Academy of Finland, 2998-2001) and doctoral researcher (Academy of Finland, 1991-94).

She is adjunct professor (docent) in Philosophy of Religion and Theological Ethics and Gender Studies at the University of Helsinki and at the Åbo Akademi University in Finland.

Besides Harvard, Professor Vuola has been a visiting researcher at the Department of Religious Studies at Northwerstern University (2014-15 and Departamento Ecuménico de Investigaciones (San José, Costa Rica, 1991-93 and 1999-2000) and at the Chicago Theological Seminary (Chicago, USA, 1991).

Before the current research project, she has been the responsible director of three research projects: Conflicts over Resources and Representations. Environmental and Human Rights Struggles in Nicaragua (Academy of Finland, 2000-03); Gender, Body, and Ethics in Late Christian Culture and Theology (Academy of Finland, 2002-05); and Women, Indians, Poor? The Construction of Gender in Latin America from the Perspective of Intersectionality (University of Helsinki, 2008-10).

Her doctoral dissertation Limits of Liberation. Praxis as Method in Latin American Libera­tion Theology and Feminist Theology (Helsinki 1997) has been republished as Limits of Liberation. Feminist Theology and the Ethics of Poverty and Reproduction (Sheffield Academic Press and Continuum, 2002) and translated and published in Spanish as Teología feminista, teología de la liberación. Los límites de la praxis (IEPALA Editorial, Madrid, 2000) and as La ética sexual y los límites de la praxis. Conversaciones críticas entre la teología feminista y la teología de la liberación (Editorial Abya-Yala, Quito, Ecuador 2001).

Professor Vuola has been teaching in different disciplines at the University of Helsinki (development studies, gender studies, Latin American studies, theology). This reflects the multidisciplinarity of her research. Besides liberation theology and gender studies in theology she has been aiming at more nuanced dialogue, both theoretically and practically, between disciplines: gender studies and study of religion, development studies and religion, as well as the interplay of religion and gender in Latin American studies.

Professor Vuola is a board member of the doctoral school of Theology and Religious Studies of the University of Helsinki since 2013. She also was a board member of the doctoral school of Gender, Culture and Society, 2013-2014). Outside the academic world, she served two terms as the spokesperson of Kepa (2012-15), the umbrella organization of over 300 Finnish non-governmental organizations working with issues of global development and social justice, and as a columnist at the weekly journal Suomen Kuvalehti (1997-99 and again 2013- ). She was the spokesperson of Helsinki Association of Women Researchers (2006-08) and The Finnish Association of Women´s Studies, Suomen Naistutkimuksen Seura, 1998-99).

Further information on the affiliationGlobaalin kristinuskon ja uskontodialogin professori, Professor of Global Christianity and Dialogue of Religions

Latest publications

  1. Coping with Loss of Homeland through Orthodox Christian Processions: Contemporary Practices among Setos, Karelians, and Skolt Sámi in Estonia and Finland

    Kalkun, A., Kupari, H. & Vuola, E., 11 Jun 2018, In : Practical matters. 11

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

  2. Mihin vaelletaan kun vaelletaan pyhiin? Ristisaatto yleiskristillisenä perinteenä ja ruumiillisena uskontona

    Vuola, E. I. T., 22 Mar 2018, Vaellus pyhiin : ristisaattoja idän ja lännen rajalla. Hentinen, H. & Vuola, E. (eds.). Helsinki: Kirjapaja, p. 37-57 21 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterGeneral public

  3. Procession as a Christian Bodily Practice: Orthodox Processions in Eastern Finland

    Vuola, E. I. T., 22 Mar 2018, 7 p. Helsinki : Kirjapaja.

    Research output: Other contributionResearch

View all (133) »

Latest activities

  1. Faculty representative

    Elina Vuola (Member of thesis committee / follow-up group)
    16 Dec 2017

    Activity: Examination typesMember of doctoral thesis committee / follow-up group

  2. Option or Evasion? Ecology, Gender, and Indigenous Peoples in Liberation Theology

    Elina Vuola (Speaker)
    10 Nov 2017

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk

  3. Routledge (Publisher)

    Elina Vuola (Reviewer)
    7 Nov 2017

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

View all (142) »

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