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Tuomas Heikkilä

Tuomas Mikael Heikkilä
Born January 26, 1972, Helsinki

Master of Arts 1996, Licentiate 1997, and PhD 2002 (general history), University of Helsinki
European Diploma in Medieval Studies 1997 (Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana)

Docent in general history 2003–, University of Helsinki
Docent in general history and church history 2006–, University of Helsinki
Docent in Finnish history 2013–, University of Turku
Director, Finnish Institute in Rome (Villa Lante), Rome
University lecturer of general history and church history 2003, 2005–07, 2010–13, University of Helsinki
Principle investigator of the Studia Stemmatologica­ research network 2009–12
Principle investigator of the Kirjallinen kulttuuri keskiajan Suomessa (‘Literary culture in medieval Finland’) research project 2006–11
Visiting Research Fellow, Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study, Uppsala 2010
Professor of general history 2004 and 2008–09, University of Helsinki
Commissioner 2001–07, Institutum Romanum Finlandiae Foundation
Research fellow 2007, Academy of Finland
Senior research associate in European history 2004 and research associate 1999–2003, University of Helsinki
Researcher 1998–2001, Diplomatarium Fennicum, National Archives of Finland
Researcher of general history, 1997–98, University of Helsinki

Publications, research projects and other academic activity

Research themes: monasteries in the High Middle Ages, the cult of saints in the medieval period, literary culture in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, computer-assisted stemmatology, digital humanities, the period from late Antiquity until the Renaissance.

Awards and special achievements:
Luminous Middle Ages Prize 2012, awarded by the Society for Medieval Studies in Finland
Head Marshal of the conferment ceremony of the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Helsinki, 2010
Lauri Jäntti Foundation honorary award 2010
Winner of the Vuoden kristillinen kirja (‘Christian book of the year’) prize (together with Liisa Suvikumpu) 2009
Invited to reside in the University of Helsinki’s apartment Tiedemies-kunniakoti (‘Honorary scholarly home’) 2006
Finnish Science Book of the Year prize 2005
The Yrjö Koskinen medal 2006
Vuoden historiateos (annual prize for the best work of history) 2005
Finnish Academy of Science and Letters scholarship for an outstanding doctoral dissertation 2003
Doctor Primus 2003
Snellman Foundation prize for an outstanding master’s thesis 1997

Written by Tuomas Heikkilä (Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta, ed.)
Translated by Matthew Billington

A source-based, multidisciplinary approach, without forgetting the audience

Tuomas Heikkilä has considered it a matter of honour to research themes that are as different as possible. This is apparent in the fact he is a docent in three disciplines: general history, Finnish history and church history. Geographically, his research has stretched from the Nordic countries to Rome and from France to Germany, chronographically from late Antiquity until the 19th century.

For Dr Heikkilä the starting point has always been careful investigation of the original source material, whether it be texts on saints scattered among European libraries, documents in the Vatican’s secret archive or half-forgotten fragments of parchment belonging to the National Library of Finland.

The emphasis on sources has created the need for a multidisciplinary approach. Dr Heikkilä has been one of the scholars of early Finnish history who has introduced computer-aided research methods to the toolbox of humanities researchers. Furthermore, his source-based approach has led him into the second branch of digital humanities: the digitisation of sources and the construction of databases. Dr Heikkilä has played a central role in laying the earliest foundation of Finnish digital historical research in the Diplomatarium Fennicum, Codices Fennici and Fragmenta membranea projects.

In addition, he has extensively sought help for humanities research from the natural sciences; he is presently leading a project which is studying medieval fragments of parchment using radiocarbon dating and stable isotope dating.

Popularising science in its ever growing complexity is important to Dr Heikkilä. He has published half a dozen monographs intended for the general reader on his research themes and has received numerous awards.

Picture: Tuomas Heikkilä’s archive



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