Bo Pettersson

Person

    Research areas

  • 612 Languages and Literature - Anglo-American literature, literary interpretation in theory and practice, literary theory, narrative studies, cognitive literary studies, aesthetics, interdisciplinary studies, interarts, Finland-Swedish literature
  • 6122 Literature studies
Further information on the affiliationProfessor of the Literature of the United States

Curriculum Vitae

Bo Pettersson

 

Department of Modern Languages

Postal address:

PL 24 (Unioninkatu 40)

FI-00014 University of Helsinki

FINLAND

Email: bo.pettersson@helsinki.fi

 

Current Position

Professor of the Literature of the United States

 

Education

BA (1979), MA (1983), Lic. Phil. (1986), PhD (1995) Åbo Akademi University
MA (1986) University of California, Berkeley

 

Areas of Research and Teaching

Anglo-American literature, literary interpretation in theory and practice, literary theory, narrative studies, cognitive literary studies, aesthetics, interdisciplinary studies, interarts, (Finland-)Swedish literature

 

Career

Research Assistant (Academy of Finland) 1986–1991

Assistant (English, Åbo Akademi University) 1989–1995

Acting Associate Professor (English, University of Turku) 1995–1996

Junior Researcher (Academy of Finland) 1996–1997

Associate Professor in the Literature of the United States (English, University of Helsinki) 1997–1998

Professor in the Literature of the United States (English, University of Helsinki) 1998–

Research Fellow, Helsinki Collegium of Advanced Studies 2001-2002

Senior Researcher, Academy of Finland 2006–2007

Senior Researcher at The Foundations’ Professor Pool 2012–2013

 

Teaching and Supervision

Teaching: Postgraduate level: Seminar (Language, Literature and Culture); Advanced level: Approaches to Literature (Literary Methodology), Seminar (American Literature, MA thesis seminar); Advanced and Intermediate levels: Various courses, mainly on Anglo-American fiction and poetry, literary theory, literary interpretation and interarts.

Supervision: Ten PhD theses completed (as main supervisor) and about half a dozen in the making. Oral or written comments on over a hundred other PhD theses, mainly through graduate schools, exchange and expert assignments. Main supervisor of about 6-12 and second reader of 5-10 MA theses each year.

 

Research

My research includes American literature (The World According to Kurt Vonnegut. Moral Paradox and Narrative Form, 1994), the relation between cognition and literary interpretation (Cognition and Literary Interpretation in Practice, ed. with Harri Veivo and Merja Polvinen, 2005) and how identity comes across in narratives (Narrative and Identity. Theoretical Approaches and Critical Analyses, ed. with Birgit Neumann and Ansgar Nünning, 2008). I have also co-edited the selected works of Johan Ludvig Runeberg, the Finnish national poet (JLR. Johan Ludvig Runeberg i urval, chair of editorial board, 2004).

In recent years I have studied literary contexts, the relation between mimesis (literary representation) and genre, especially in realist fiction, science fiction and postmodern fiction; how metaphors can be extended into narratives; imagination in literature; literary studies and teaching; plotless novels; the linguistic turns in the humanities; addressivity and hypothetical expressions in poetry; defamiliarisation and surprise in fiction; literature as a textualist notion; context in literary studies; the bridging of narratology and hermeneutics; the relation between rhetorical figures and narratives; various kinds of unreliability in fiction; and animals in literature. In doing so, I have discussed authors such as Nicholson Baker, William Blake, Bo Carpelan, Kate Chopin, Junot Díaz, Emily Dickinson, T. S. Eliot, Stanisław Lem, Magnus Mills, Edgar Allan Poe, August Strindberg and H. G. Wells. My most recent monograph is How Literary Worlds Are Shaped. A Comparative Poetics of Literary Imagination (De Gruyter, 2016), a study of a wide variety of literature across cultures and ages.

For other recent publications see the University of Helsinki database TUHAT.

 

Assignments and Conferences

University of Helsinki: In charge of literary research and teaching in English (1997–), Head or Associate Head of the Department of English (later the English Unit) (2001–2011), Deputy Member of the Faculty Council of the Faculty of Arts (2010–2017) and Director of the research community Interfaces between Language, Literature and Culture (2010–), Member of the Network for Scholars in Language and Literature (2012-), Member of The Doctoral Programme for Philosophy, Arts and Society (2014-).

National: Member of The Runeberg Society in Åbo [Turku] (Chair 2000–2006), The Finnish Graduate School/Doctoral Programme for Literary Studies (Director 2003–2006, Vice Director 2007–2011), The Society for Swedish Literature in Finland (Board Member 2000–2011), The Literary Studies Committee of The Society for Swedish Literature in Finland (Chair 2000–2011, Vice Chair 2011–) and The Fulbright Center (Finland) (Board Member 2008 –; Chair 2009–2011). Membership on Finnish editorial boards include the Åbo Akademi University periodical Finsk Tidskrift (2000–2008) as well as the publishing series Skrifter utgivna av Svenska litteratursällskapet i Finland (2000–2011) and Tampere Studies in Literature and Textuality (2001–).

International Research Projects: Semiotics and Translation (publication in 2001), Network of Popular Imagination (2002), The Concept of Literature (2005), Why Literary Studies? Raisons d’Être of a Discipline (2011) and Nordic Network for Cognitive Approaches to Literature (2014-), Living in a Political World: Social Commentary from Singer-Songwriters to Rap (2016-).

Other International Assignments: The International Comparative Literature Association (Member of Committee on Literary Theory 2005–2011), The International Association of Literary Semantics (Board Member 2006–), Nordic Journal of English Studies (Member of Editorial Board 2002–) and Journal of Literary Semantics (Member of Editorial Board 2004–).

Conference Attendance and Organisation: Papers and plenary lectures at over 60 international conferences in Europe, the United States, Canada and South America. (Co-)organiser of over twenty conferences.

For recent assignments and activities see the University of Helsinki database TUHAT.

 

Current Memberships

Edith Södergran-sällskapet [The Edith Södergran Society]

The Finnish Critics' Association (SARV)
The Finnish Literary Research Society (KTS)
The Finnish Literature Society (SKS)
The Finnish Society for Sciences and Letters
The Finnish Society for the Study of English (FINSSE)

The Finnish Union of University Professors

The Fulbright Center (Finland) (Board Member 2008-2016)

Guarantors of the journal Nya Argus
The International Association of Literary Semantics (Board Member)
The International Association of University Professors of English (IAUPE)
Journal of Literary Semantics (Member of Editorial Board)
The Literary Studies Committee of The Society for Swedish Literature in Finland (Vice Chair)
The Nordic Association for American Studies (NAAS)
Nordic Journal of English Studies (Member of Editorial Board)
Runeberg-sällskapet i Åbo [The Runeberg Society in Åbo/Turku] (Honorary Member)
The Society for Swedish Literature in Finland (SLS, Honorary Member)

For memberships in research and other networks see Assignments and Conferences.

 

Prizes, Awards, Honours

1st Prize in the youth organization Svensk Ungdom’s Writing Competition 1980
ASLA-Fulbright Scholarship (UC Berkeley) 1985–1986
The Finnish Critics’ Association’s Prize 1998
The Oskar Öflund Foundation Prize (10 000 €) 2006
Member of The Finnish Society of Sciences and Letters 2010
Honorary Member of The Society of Swedish Literature in Finland 2013
Honorary Member of The Runeberg Society in Åbo (Turku) 2014

Certificate of Appreciation by the United States Department of State for Service on the Board of Directors of the Finland-U.S. Educational Exchange Commission 2016

Festschrift: Merja Polvinen, Maria Salenius and Howard Sklar (eds), Mielikuvituksen maailmat. Tieteidenvälisiä tutkimuksia kirjallisuudesta / Fantasins världar. Tvärvetenskaplig litteraturforskning / Worlds of Imagination. Explorations in Interdisciplinary Literary Research. Essays in Honor of Prof. Bo Pettersson. Turku, Finland: Eetos, 2017.

Latest publications

  1. Störst är kärleken

    Pettersson, B. J. O. 11 Jan 2018 1 p.Helsinki : HUFVUDSTADSBLADET

    Research output: ResearchOther contribution

  2. Huckleberry Finnin seikkailut: Yhteiskunta pilapeilissä

    Pettersson, B. J. O. 14 Dec 2017 Helsinki

    Research output: ResearchOther contribution

  3. "Att med bevarat skimmer bli skriven": Om fisk i modern svensk litteratur

    Pettersson, B. J. O. 29 Nov 2017 Modernitetens uttryck och avtryck: Litteraturvetenskapliga studier tillägnade professor Claes Ahlund. Möller-Sibelius, A. & Rudels, F. (eds.). Åbo/Turku, Finland: Föreningen Granskaren, p. 31-40

    Research output: ScientificChapter

View all (63) »

Latest activities

  1. FASA (The Finnish American Studies Association) Seminar 2017

    Pettersson, B. (Attendee)
    1 Dec 2017

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars

  2. Nya strömningar i barnlitteraturforskningen

    Pettersson, B. (Speaker: Presenter)
    1 Dec 2017

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars

  3. Confronting the Narratives of the Anthropocene

    Pettersson, B. (Speaker: Presenter)
    23 Nov 2017

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars

View all (201) »

Latest prizes

  1. Festschrift

    Bo Pettersson (Recipient), 17 Feb 2017

    Prize: Prizes and awards

  2. Honorary member of Runebergsällskapet i Åbo r.f.

    Bo Pettersson (Recipient), 23 Jan 2014

    Prize: Prizes and awards

View all (5) »

Education

Fil. toht., muu tai tuntematon luonnontieteellinen

ID: 31078