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Outi Alanko-Kahiluoto

Satu Outi Kristiina Alanko-Kahiluoto
Born June 14, 1966, Helsinki

PhD 2007, Licentiate 1994, Master of Arts 1993 (comparative literature), University of Helsinki

Member of parliament, 2007–
Chairman of the Greens’ parliamentary group 2013–
Member of the parliamentary Social Affairs and Health Committee
Researcher, research associate and teacher 1993-2007, University of Helsinki, Institute for Art Research
Member of Helsinki City Council 2005–
Chairman 2015–, NYTKS (The Coalition of Finnish Women´s Associations)
Chairman 2015–, Green Women’s Association, 2015–
Member of the Council for Gender Equality (TANE)

Writing Otherwise than Seeing: Writing and Exteriority in Maurice Blanchot 2007. Doctoral dissertation.
Maurice Blanchot. “Kirjallisuus ja oikeus kuolemaan(‘Literature and the right to die’), Nuori Voima 6/01, 14-28, NVL, 2001.
Kirjallisuudentutkimuksen peruskäsitteitä (’Fundamental concepts of literary research’) ed. together with Tiina Käkelä-Puumala. SKS 2001.

Awards and special achievements:
Honorary award of Finnish Youth Cooperation – Allianssi for working for the benefit of youth as a Member of Parliament 2011
Allianssi award for the most pro-youth Member of Parliament 2013 and 2015
Cross of Merit of Disabled War Veterans for work for the benefit of Finnish disabled war veterans 2015

Photo: Veikko Somerpuro
Written by Outi Alanko-Kahiluoto (Tiia Niemelä, ed.)

Translated by Matthew Billington

My best memories from the University: study groups and communal living

My best memories from the University have to do with people. I came to know both my best friends and my future husband, Atro Kahiluoto, in the smoking room of the University Main Building. All through upper-secondary school, I had lived in a small village where I was the only young weirdo who loved poetry, Russian classics, and philosophy. At university I met fellow spirits and moved in with them. We named our common apartment “Kaivo ja Tähti” ('The Well and the Star'), partly after the street address, partly after a classic of 19th century Finnish literature. We set up discussion groups on aesthetics, literature, and philosophy, and through the years we ran various study groups. I remember belonging to study groups on Husserl, Heidegger, Derrida, and Nietzsche, at least.

Before the depression of the 1990s, hardly any of us thought of what we were going to do after graduation. When I enrolled to study general literature, our professor warned us new students about graduating too fast and leaving too many gaps in our education.

In recognition of earning a licentiate degree, the University of Helsinki served sparkling wine. Photo: Helena Peltonen.

During the depression of the 1990s, the idea of the bottom-line was introduced to the University under the government productivity scheme. Administrators were let go, teachers were assigned office duties, time sheets were introduced. Year after year we produced more theses with fewer staff, but still our funds continued to be cut. So the trend of bleeding university funding has continued unabated since the late 1990s. I feel privileged simply because I was able to begin my studies at the Institute for Art Research before holistic academic education or art became hollow phrases in Finnish politics.

The most memorable moments in my research career were international seminars and working abroad. I am especially grateful for the field trips and seminars of the multidisciplinary research team of the Finnish Institute in Athens led by Kirsti Simonsuuri in 1998–2001, the seminar on Maurice Blanchot at the Sorbonne University immediately after his death in 2003, and the public defence of my dissertation, where they flew in the leading Blanchot scholar, Michael B. Holland, from Oxford University to be my opponent.

The opponent congratulates the successful doctoral candidate as the custos, Professor Hannu Riikonen, smiles on. Photo: Atro Kahiluoto.


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