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Janne Saarikivi

Janne Santeri Saarikivi
Born May 29, 1973, Helsinki

Bachelor of Arts 1996, Master of Arts 1998, Licentiate 2003, PhD 2006 (Finno-Ugrian languages), University of Helsinki

Helsinki Collegium research fellow 2014–2017, University of Helsinki
Acting professor of Finno-Ugrian languages 2009–2014
Postdoctoral researcher 2006–2008, University of Helsinki
Researcher 2008, Centre for Advanced Study at the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters
Visiting lecturer of Finnish language and culture 2004–2006, University of Tartu
Acting university lecturer (Finno-Ugric studies) 2003–2004, Doctoral student 1999–2003, research assistant and civilian service 1995–1999, University of Helsinki

Publications, research projects and other academic activity

Awards and special achievements:
Society for the Study of Finnish Language article prize 2002
Best Doctoral Dissertation Prize 2007
Member of the Young Researcher Society of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters 2009
Member of the editorial boards of several international journals in, inter alia, Russia, Estonia and France

Photo: Eija Saarikivi
Written by Janne Saarikivi (Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta, ed.)
Translated by Matthew Billington

My best memories from the University of Helsinki

All that is best at the University of Helsinki involves the meeting of people, meandering, unhurried discussions between people from different fields, coffee rooms, parties. That's why I find it horrifying that during my time at the University, it has been turned into a results factory.

It's only 23 years since I first walked through the door of the Main Building. During freshers’ week we were told that at the Faculty of Arts you should study widely and deliberately and attend all kinds of lectures, even those that had no bearing on your own field. Back then the very thought of HOPS (Personal Study Plan), the multiple reporting of publications, and continuous evaluation would have been inconceivable.

I am still a rebel. I always say in my classes that graduating isn't exactly a bad thing, but if my audience are at the University primarily to get a degree they are in the wrong place. The university is a community of scholars centred on wisdom and education; degrees and learned publications are merely a by-product of the university. You don't have to go to university to find an occupation, and the academia isn't so much a profession as a way of life.

Photo: Eija Saarikivi

In any case, the University of Helsinki is my homeland. You don't choose your homeland, and it doesn't necessarily treat you well, but you can't stop loving it. I love the buildings in the City Centre Campus of the University of Helsinki, I love its professors and students. I love the smell of old books, I love the thought of reading a book on the same spot where M. A. Castrén had read it before me. I love the young people who want to know everything and demand the impossible of themselves, but I also love those who abandon their studies because their life is full enough already.

Whenever I visit other universities I silently compare them to the University of Helsinki, and rarely does the University of Helsinki come out second best. Today I am especially in love with the Main Library and its café. Within these walls I'd be content to spend the rest of my life, but I doubt the present Government will stand for it. I don't have permanent tenure. I do not think I need tenure, but some sort of continuity would be nice. I am concerned whether academic expertise will count for anything much longer in this world of homogenisation and pandering to the lowest common denominator.




















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