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Leena-Maija Rossi

Born July 5, 1962, Valkeakoski

PhD (art history and women’s studies) 1999, University of Helsinki
Fulbright scholar, New York University 1990–91
Master of Arts (art history) 1987, University of Helsinki

Executive Director 2011-16, Finnish Cultural Institute in New York
Professor of gender studies 2011, University of Helsinki
Lecturer in gender studies 2010, University of Helsinki
Lecturer in women’s studies, 2003–09 University of Helsinki
Research Doctor 2000–03, Academy of Finland, University of Helsinki
Research Doctor, 1999–2000, Academy of Finland, University of Art and Design Helsinki
Project researcher 1996-98, Academy of Finland, University of Helsinki
Docent 2000, University of Helsinki
Docent 2002, University of Turku

Research fields:
Gender and sexuality, visual culture from art to media culture, multiculturalism and intersectionality

Academic activity

Magister Bonus, the Student Union of the University of Helsinki’s prize for teaching excellence, 2009
The Finnish Art Society’s art book of the year prize 1995

Photo: Kari Sainio
Written by Leena-Maija Rossi (Kaija Hartikainen ed.)
Translated by Matthew Billington

My best moments at the University of Helsinki

There were countless best moments at the University of Helsinki – I would say, overall, that the years 1996-2009, when the Kristiina Institute flourished as an inspiring environment of interdisciplinary work for both research and teaching, were the best. During that time I finished my doctoral thesis and the widely read book Heterotehdas (Hetero Factory) and had the time, as a university lecturer, to train a sizeable crowd of critics of the mainstream gender system and heteronormativity as well as critical viewers of imagery.

Everyday life at Kristiina was inspiring and the festivities bubbly. We always celebrated when someone was granted funding or published their research. I also enjoyed the non-hierarchical and egalitarian work culture we had. I have done my best to maintain that same spirit in my current work as well.

Aili Nenola (left), Leena-Maija Rossi, Minna Uimonen Photo source: Kristiina Institute photo archive.

One of my saddest memories was the moment I found out that I was ineligible for a leave of absence for my fixed-term job as the director of the New York institute. My contract ended and I was forced to empty my office at the University. But I have never regretted my choice and believe I’ll return to research work.

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