Personal profile

Research Interests

Religion; humanitarianism; ethnicity & nationalism; migration; morality; Artificial Intelligence; social robots; anthropology of science; archives and anthropology.

Research Statement

I am a social anthropologist, focusing on the study of religion (specifically Christianity), humanitarianism and ethnicity. I am particularly interested in the relationship between Christianity, morality and social engagement, as well as the interlinking of religious belonging, religious practice and social action. I have conducted fieldwork in Finland and Romania, focusing on the process of religious mobilisation and religious activism among the Roma.

Other

Before coming to Queens, I lectured in Social Anthropology at the University of St Andrews (2017-2019), from where I also received my PhD degree (2017), having previously completed an MA in Economy, State and Society (IMESS) at SSEES, University College London (2012), an MA in Economic and Social History, University of Helsinki (2012) and a BA in Sociology, Babes Bolyai University (2009). I have also worked as a researcher at the University of Helsinki (Centre for Nordic Studies, Department of World Cultures, 2015-2016) and as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of St Andrews (School of History, 2018-2022).

Research Focus

My primary interest lies in the study of religion (specifically Christianity), ethnicity/nationalism, migration and humanitarianism. My research broadly focuses on the experience of religious belonging and religious practice, with a particular interest in the relationship between Christianity, morality and social engagement. I have conducted fieldwork in Finland and Romania, having previously researched the experience of religious mobilisation among the Finnish Kaale (or, as they are more widely known, the Finnish Roma). Within it, I explored the ways in which Western Pentecostalism re-shapes understandings of social relevance and ideas of development among Roma communities, primarily within the practice of trans-national missionary work, with a focus placed on the role of religious humanitarianism in this process. This shaped my further interest in the study of religious humanitarianism and the ways in which ideas of social engagement connect to specific understandings of social inequalities.

 

I am also interested in the study of ethnicity, migration and social mobilisation more broadly, and have conducted research on the interaction between Romanian Roma migrant worker and Finnish Roma in Finland, exploring the ways in which experiences of migration are shaped at the interaction of societal structures, community belonging and inter-group relations. In addition to this, I am interested in ways of interlinking anthropological approaches to historical methods, with a focus placed on archives as a source of both data collection and ethnographic fieldwork, in order to better understand the ways in which history is not only written but re-written through processes of collecting and classifying. To this end, I have been part of a large ERC project, "RomaInterbellum", based at the University of St Andrews (School of History), exploring processes of Roma civic emancipation during the interwar period, and looking at the manifestations of Roma mobilisation at since the start of the 20th century in Finland and Romania. As an outcome of that, I have co-edited (with Sofiya Zahova and Aleksandar Marinov) a large volume on Roma literature, titled "Roma Writings in History" (Brill, 2021), which challenges previously held stereotypes that Roma lack their own literature, and seeks to integrate Roma literary production within the history of mainstream literature.

A more recent research focus concerns the relation between religion and science (or techno-science) and how developments in Artificial Intelligence challenge notions of the moral, the sacred and religious. In this, I am particularly interested in the ways in which technological developments (particularly the emergence of social robots, sex robots and care robots) re-shift our understanding of social relations and social life.

Particulars

I have been part of several international and inter-disciplinary research projects. From 2015-2018, I was part of the Academy of Finland funded project, Roma and Nordic Societies, anthropologists, researching the intersection of broader state policies concerning Roma minorities in the Nordic countries and the everyday experiences of living with state directives, which led to the publication of a Special Issue in the Journal of Finnish Studies, of which I was a co-editor. I have also been part of a Kone foundation project ‘Divergent Fates: travelling circus people in Europe during National Socialism’ (2017) and, in 2018, I  joined an ERC Advanced Research Grant, “RomaInterbellum”, at the University of St Andrews, and contributed to the production of three manuscripts: “Roma Voices in History” (2021, Brill), “Roma Writings in History” (2021, Brill, of which I was a co-edior) and “Roma Portraits in History (2022, Brill).

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