Tuija Pulkkinen


Description of research and teaching

I am currently working as Professor of Gender Studies at the Department of Cultures at the University of Helsinki (2008–). During 2011-2015 I acted as Academy Professor of the Academy of Finland leading the academy professor project Philosophy and Politics in Feminist Theory. Previously, I have worked for five years as Professor of Gender Studies at the University of Jyväskylä where I also had a permanent position as a professor of Political Theory.

For the past ten years I have been actively leading cross-generational research teams: I was a vice leader of the Finnish Centre of Excellence in Political Thought and Conceptual Change (2006-2011), and presently I work together with early career scholars within the Politics of Philosophy and Gender (PPhiG) research team within which we explore various topics of feminist thought, always with a political accent.

 My areas of specialization include

* feminist theory and philosophy

* political thought

* history of concepts

I am a multidisciplinary scholar, originally trained in the areas of philosophy, history, and politics, with feminist and queer interests. I started as a scholar of Hegel and of political theory (Valtio ja vapaus [The State and Freedom/Liberty], 1989), and have since studied closely many other thinkers and texts, among them Jean-Francois Lyotard, Hannah Arendt, Judith Butler and Jacques Derrida. In my early career I worked on the icon of Finnish nineteenth century nationalist thought, the Hegelian philosopher J.V. Snellman. Since that time I have been interested in the patterns of political thought and democratic theory. I have also studied the history of political concepts, such as the concept valtio (the State) in Finnish.

In Finland I was among those with an early interest in the 20th century French philosophy (Derrida, Foucault), and keen on developing postmodern anti-foundational thought. I was internationally among the first to take serious interest in Judith Butler’s work. I published on this work in the early 1990s, and later also co-translated Butler’s Gender Trouble into Finnish.

My current research continues and develops further the work I conducted in my academy professor’s project Philosophy and Politics in Feminist Theory (2011-2015) concentrating on contemporary feminist theory. In my own work I study the main figures of current feminist theory, such as Luce Irigaray, Elizabeth Grosz, Judith Butler, Rosi Braidotti, and Adriana Cavarero with an approach that I call ‘politics of philosophy’. I pay attention to the scholars’ attachments to different philosophical traditions, the ensuing conceptual conflicts, and how these conflicts are textually played out. In addition to my own work the project funds the work of seven PPhiG team members for different periods of time.

I strongly value international contacts in my area of study. In the early 1990s I spent four years at the University of California Santa Cruz to work on my book The Postmodern and Political Agency (1996). I then worked for a year at the philosophy department at University of Greifswald, Germany in 1998–1999, visited Minnesota AFS in 2002, and spent two years 2007–2009 at the University of Manchester, CRESC. Most recently I visited in 2012 for half a year University of Paris 8 Gender Studies. The PPhiG team currently entertains close connections to many institutions abroad, including Paris 8 (Gender Studies), University of London Birkbeck College (BIGS), and to Kingston University (CREPH). 

I have concluded supervision of 16 doctoral students in multiple different disciplines and universities, and I currently advise 8 doctoral students in Helsinki. I am also currently the director of the national Doctoral Programme of Gender Studies (2012–2015), as well as the director of the new Doctoral Programme in Gender, Culture and Society (SKY) within the University of Helsinki (2014–).

I am an advisory board member of journals such as Nora and the new Comment S’en Sortir. I have also worked for many years as a co-editor of the journal Redescriptions – Political Thought, Conceptual Change and Feminist Theory, which started as a Finnish publication, yet has steadily gained in international weight. Redescriptions will be published as a Manchester University Press Journal beginning in 2014.

I am also a board member of International Association of Women in Philosophy (IAPh) and in 2010-2017 the president of the Finnish Gender Studies Association (SUNS) 


Highlighted publications

  1. Hegel’s Philosophy and Feminist Thought: Beyond Antigone?

    Pulkkinen, T. (ed.) & Hutchings, K. (ed.) 2010 New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 288 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportAnthology or special issue

  2. Siveellisyydestä seksuaalisuuteen: poliittisen käsitteen historia

    Pulkkinen, T. (ed.) & Sorainen, A. (ed.) 2011 Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura. 312 p. (Historiallinen arkisto; no. 133)

    Research output: Book/ReportAnthology or special issue

  3. Ashgate research companion to the politics of democratization in Europe: concepts and histories

    Palonen, K. (ed.), Pulkkinen, T. (ed.) & Rosales, J. M. (ed.) 2008 Aldershot: Ashgate. 421 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportAnthology or special issue

  4. The Postmodern and Political Agency

    Pulkkinen, T. 2000 rev. ed. ed. Jyväskylä: SoPhi. 230 p. (SoPhi)

    Research output: Book/ReportBook

  5. Feelings of Injustice: The Institutionalization of Gender Studies and the Pluralization of Feminism

    Pulkkinen, T. Sep 2016 In : Differences. 27, 2, p. 103-124 22 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  6. Political representation

    Pulkkinen, T. 2016 The Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Race, Ethnicity, and Nationalism. Stone, J., Routledge, D. M., Rizova, P., Smith, A. D. & Hou, X. (eds.). London: Wiley Blackwell, p. 1658-1660 3 p.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  7. The Returns of Antigone: Review of Tina Chanter and Sean D. Kirkland (eds)The Returns of Antigone. Interdisciplinary Essays.

    Pulkkinen, T. K. 2015 In : Hypatia. Emancipation Special Issue

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

View all (122) »

Highlighted activities

  1. International Association of Women Philosopher (IAPh) (External organisation)

    Pulkkinen, T. (Board member)

    Activity: MembershipMembership or other role in national/international committee, council, board

  2. Association for Women's Studies in Finland (SUNS) (External organisation)

    Pulkkinen, T. (Chair)
    Jan 2011Dec 2013

    Activity: MembershipMembership or other role in national/international committee, council, board

  3. Director of the Doctoral Programme in Gender, Culture and Society (SKY)

    Pulkkinen, T. (Director)
    1 Jan 2014 → …

    Activity: ExaminationDirector of doctoral programme

  4. Director of Gender Studies Doctoral Program (Finnish National PhD programme)

    Pulkkinen, T. (Director)
    1 Jan 201231 Dec 2015

    Activity: ExaminationDirector of doctoral programme

  5. Keynote lecture: "Feminism and Philosophy – a Matter of History and Politics" in Symposium Feminist Philosophy: Time and History.

    Pulkkinen, T. (Speaker: Keynote)
    15 Mar 201617 Mar 2016

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventPublic Talks

View all (509) »

Highlighted projects

  1. Academy Professor

    Pulkkinen, T.


    Project: Research project

  2. PPHIG/Redescriptions

    Pulkkinen, T.

    Unknown funder


    Project: Research project

View all (9) »


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