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Katarina Koskiranta

Salli Katarina Koskiranta
Born January 23, 1962

Master of Arts (Finno-Ugrian Ethnology), University of Helsinki

Amanuensis, Ethnology and Folkoristics, University of Helsinki, 2010-

Amanuensis, Ethnology, 2004–2010, Folkloristics, 2004 and Finnish Literature, 1997–2004
Assistant, Department of Ethnology, 1992-1993, Hourly-paid Teacher, 1991–1998 and 2001–2004
Office Secretary, Department of Ethnology, University of Helsinki, 1990–1991
Research Assistant/Researcher, Workers’ culture project, National Board of Antiquities, 1989–1990 and 1994–1995

Photo: Mika Federley
Written by Katarina Koskiranta (Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta, ed.)
Translated by John Calton

Then the Laughing Virgin made a complete amanuensis out of me!

The amanuensis for the Finnish Literature Department, Irja Rane won the Finlandia Prize for Fiction with her novel Naurava Neitsyt (‘The laughing virgin’) in the autumn of 1996. I was on the fourth floor of the Main Building, buzzing along the corridors and in the department for years, doing different jobs, and because I was relatively free, i.e. on a grant, I took care of Irja’s position for a month.

By the spring of 1997 it had become clear that the winner of the Finlandia prize would be better off somewhere other than a 9-to-5 job. The professor of Finnish Literature Auli Viikari asked me if I would be interested in substituting for Rane for an unspecified period of time. At that time my postgrad studies weren’t really going anywhere, and a regular salary sounded like a good idea, so I took the job.

The ‘substitution’ lasted three years I was appointed in my own right to the post of amanuensis for Finnish Literature in 2000. When the long-serving ethnology department amanuensis Dr Sinikka Mäntylä retired in 2004 I applied for and got an amanuensis post in my own subject. Since I was also supporting the folkloristics amanuensis in 2010, I can proudly claim that I have been an amanuensis from mother to daughter (i.e. Professor Viikari to Professor Tarkka).

The job description of the amanuensis in these 18 years has changed considerably. In the 1990s the position included office secretarial work, with various current issues, maintaining the department library and archives and all manner of secretarial tasks. The amanuensis was responsible for financial, personnel and syllabus matters. In the new century financial and personnel matters were transferred to the large department’s office.

The bulk of my working time goes on student counselling and supervision, curriculum and syllabus planning with the teachers, along with all sorts of communication, both within house and beyond. No one gets hired as an amanuensis any more, since nowadays these tasks are carried out by study planners.

Amanuenses Koskiranta and Aaltonen at a recreational day.​
Amanuenses Koskiranta and Aaltonen at a recreational day.​


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