Elina Vuola


Description of research and teaching

Elina Vuola (born 1960 in Kankaanpää, Finland) is Academy Professor of the Academy of Finland at the Faculty of Theology, University of Helsinki since 2013. Her research project Embodied Religion. Changing Meanings of Body and Gender in Contemporary Forms of Religious Identity in Finland aims at developing 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 is 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).


Curriculum Vitae

Latest publications

  1. Saako uskontoja kritisoida?

    Vuola, E. I. T. 17 Oct 2016 In : Politiikasta.fi.

    Research output: General publicArticle

  2. Kaikkein kauneinta Jumalanäidille

    Vuola, E. I. T. 31 Aug 2016 In : Embodied Religion -tutkimushankkeen blogi.

    Research output: General publicArticle

  3. Uskonnon ymmärtämisen vaikeudesta

    Vuola, E. I. T. 24 Aug 2016 In : Suomen Akatemian blogit.

    Research output: General publicArticle

View all (123) »

Latest activities

  1. Lived Orthodoxy in Contemporary Finland: Eastern Orthodox Women and the Virgin Mary

    Vuola, E. (Speaker)
    19 Nov 2016

    Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation

  2. Why do we need to talk about religion and foreign policy?

    Vuola, E. (Speaker)
    14 Sep 2016

    Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation

View all (123) »


Teologian tohtori

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