Spatial Studies and Environmental Humanities

In the wake of the spatial turn and the rise of ecocriticism in the late twentieth century, the question of what literary texts and other art forms have to say about the spaces and environments of the planet (and beyond) has moved from the periphery to the centre of literary and cultural studies. Many of the cutting-edge developments within recent literary and cultural theory – such as geocriticism, dark ecology, geopoetics, mobility studies, object-oriented ontology, post-phenomenology, and the debates around the Anthropocene – revolve around spatial and environmental concerns. By drawing our attention to the potential of art to shape and challenge our perspectives on the physical world, these approaches complicate the (post-)structuralist and postmodernist focus on pure textuality.

To date, however, spatial and environmental perspectives on literature and culture are rarely combined. The Research Group on Spatial Studies and Environmental Humanities unites a number of researchers who aim to push the boundaries of spatial and environmental theories. They examine the ways in which cultural texts and narratives are entangled with the emerging environmental and spatial concerns of contemporary society. They engage with the potential of literature and other forms of cultural production to explore spatialities and ecologies that challenge human understanding and decentre humanity; conversely, they offer perspectives on human activity as a driving force of planetary-scale environmental change.

As a science of texts, literary and cultural studies are well equipped to analyse the changing meanings and imaginaries attached to space and the environment. Working across disciplines as well as national and cultural boundaries, the members of the group promote the importance of literary and cultural studies as a necessary complement and counterpoint natural and social science approaches to global spaces and ecologies. As such, they make an important contribution to the analysis of pressing environmental and geospatial concerns at a time when climate change, global migration and geopolitical conflicts fill the headlines.

The Research Group on Spatial Studies and Environmental Humanities focuses on:

  • spatial and environmental challenges;
  • the links between spatial and environmental poetics, politics, ethics and histories;
  • watery, oceanic and archipelagic imaginaries;
  • urban spaces and environments;
  • gendered spaces;
  • the ways in which literature and other art forms can rethink the relationship between human and non-human actors;
  • the production of space by human, non-human and inanimate actors and forces, and their interaction;
  • complex and entangled spaces and environments;
  • new questions about different spatial and temporal scales;
  • how cultural texts and narratives are entangled with the emerging environmental and spatial concerns of contemporary society;
  • translated spaces and environments
  • communication and learning in virtual environments


Lieven Ameel, TUNI
Olga Andreevskikh, TUNI
Withold Bonner, TUNI
Ana Calvete, UH
Hunter Dukes, TUNI
Minna Chudoba, TUNI
Charlotte Coutu, TUNI
Anna-Tina Jedele, TUNI
Hanne Juntunen, TUNI
Kaisa Koskinen, TUNI
Eeva Kuikka, TUNI
Pekka Passinmäki, TUNI
Mika Perkiömäki, TUNI
Laura Pihkala-Posti, TUNI
Maarit Piipponen, TUNI
Juha Raipola, TUNI
Saara Ratilainen, TUNI
Tarja Rautiainen-Keskustalo, TUNI
Faeze Rezaii, UTU
Johannes Riquet, TUNI Head of research group
Arja Rosenholm, TUNI
Airin Tegelman, TUNI
Sanna Turoma, TUNI
Markku Salmela, TUNI
Essi Vatilo, TUNI
Meeria Vesala, TUNI
Jenni Ylönen, TUNI


The Changing Environment of the North: Cultural Representations and Uses of Water (CEN), (2017-2021). Academy of Finland, Consortium University of Tampere, PI Arja Rosenholm & University of Eastern Finland, PI Markku Lehtimäki.

Andreevskikh: Digital Queer Diasporas and Migration in/from Post-Soviet Spaces: (Re-)Negotiating Borders.

Eeva Kuikka: Human-Animal Relations in Soviet-Russian Literature 1920-2000s. Academy of Finland.

Juha Raipola:
Contemporary Eco-Dystopian Fiction and Non-Human Agency. Finnish Cultural Foundation.

Johannes Riquet (in collaboration with Daniel Graziadei, Britta Hartmann, Ian Kinane and Barney Samson):
Island Poetics.

Johannes Riquet (collaborative):
Mediated Arctic Geographies. Academy of Finland, 2019–2023.

Laura Pihkala-Posti:
Multimodal, Interactive and Gamified Language Learning Concepts. Emil Öhmann Foundation, Tampereen yliopisto, Emil Aaltonen Foundation, Tekes.

Maarit Piipponen (in collaboration with Helen Mäntymäki and Marinella Rodi-Risberg): Detection across Borders: Mobility, Liminality, and Transgression in Crime Narratives.

Airin Tegelman: Spatial Narratives of Identity and Imagination in Music Memoirs of Post-Punk Manchester. Emil Aaltonen Foundation.

Recent publications (Selection)

2021 Perkiömäki Mika. Imagined Riverography of Late Twentieth-Century Russian Prose. PhD Dissertation. Russian Language and Culture. Faculty of Information Technology and Communication Sciences. Tampere University.

2021 Perkiömäki, Mika. Boris Šerginin pohjoinen. Idäntutkimus 28 (1), 3–19.

2021 Markku Salmela, Lieven Ameel and Jason Finch (eds.) Literatures of Urban Possibility. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

2020 Piipponen Maarit, Helen Mäntymäki and Marinella Rodi-Risberg, editors. Transnational Crime Fiction: Mobility, Borders, and Detection. Palgrave Macmillan, 2020.

2020 Välisalo Tanja, Maarit Piipponen, Helen Mäntymäki, and Aino-Kaisa Koistinen. “Crime Fiction and Digital Media.” The Routledge Companion to Crime Fiction, edited by Janice Allan et al., Routledge, 2020, 397-405.

2018 Riquet, Johannes and Elizabeth Kollmann (eds.) Spatial Modernities: Geography, Narrative, Imaginaries. London and New York: Routledge.

2018 Riquet, Johannes. The Aesthetics of Island Space: Perception, Ideology, Geopoetics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

2018 Lehtimäki, Markku, Hanna Meretoja and Arja Rosenholm (eds.) Veteen kirjoitettu – veden kirjoittamia: Veden merkityksiä kirjallisuudessa. Helsinki: SKS.

2017 Ameel Lieven, Jason Finch and Markku Salmela (eds.) Literary Second Cities. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

2017 Costlow, Jane, Yrjö Haila and Arja Rosenholm (eds.) Water in Social Imagination: from Technological Optimism to Contemporary Environmentalism. Amsterdam: Brill and Rodopi, 2017.

2017 Raipola, Juha: “Miksi Hotel Sapiens on olemassa? Leena Krohnin romaani postapokalyptisen fiktion lajikonventioiden valossa.” Pakkovaltiosta ekodystopiaan: Kotimainen nykydystopia. Eds. Saija Isomaa and Toni Lahtinen. Helsinki: Suomalainen klassikkokirjasto, 88-105.

Forthcoming publications

Andreevskikh, O. (forthcoming) Emotion as a tool of Russian bisexual and transgender women’s online activism: a case study. In Parker, H. and Doble, J. Gender, Emotions and Power, 1750–2020. London: University of London Press .

Eastern Europe and Eurasia in the Global Age: Narrating Geopolitics and Culture. Eds. S. Kaasik-Krogerus, S. Ratilainen & S. Turoma. Bloomsbury, forthcoming.

Perkiömäki, Mika. “Miksi me emme tuomitse Stalinia?” Neuvostomenneisyyden muistaminen viimeaikaisessa venäjänkielisessä dokumentaarisessa proosassa. In Anna Helle & Pia Koivunen (ed.), Neuvostoliitto muistoissa ja mielikuvissa. Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura: Helsinki. Forthcoming in August 2022.

Piipponen, Maarit. “Where’s the Empire? Loss, Geopolitical Agency and Imperial Longing in Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs Series.” Through a Glass Darkly: European History and Politics in Contemporary Crime Narratives, edited by Monica Dallasta et al. (forthcoming, Palgrave Macmillan 2022).

Piipponen, Maarit. “Ethnicity and Practices of Mobility in Earl Derr Biggers’ Charlie Chan Series.” Mean Streets Journal (forthcoming, 2022).

Riquet, Johannes and Heike Härting (eds.). Im/mobilities in the Planetary Now: Migration and Diaspora in World. Special issue of Transtext(e)s Transcultures 跨文本跨文化. 2023 (forthcoming, accepted).

Riquet, Johannes and the Mediated Arctic Geographies project. The Mediated Arctic: Poetics and Politics of Contemporary Circumpolar Geographies. 2023 (currently under review at Manchester University Press).

Turoma, Sanna & Mika Perkiömäki. “Streaming Chernobyl: Mediated Battles over the Geopolitics of an Ecological Disaster.” Submitted. Eastern Europe and Eurasia in the Global Age: Narrating Geopolitics and Culture. Eds. S. Kaasik-Krogerus, S. Ratilainen & S. Turoma. Bloomsbury, forthcoming.