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Personal profile

Description of research and teaching

Elina I. Hartikainen is Associate Professor in Anthropology at the University of Oslo. Her research examines the intersection of religion, politics, law, and race in Brazil through a focus on religions of African origins. In her past and current research, she has explored this conjuncture through the analysis of the Candomblé religion’s practitioners’ activist engagements with Brazilian state projects of participatory democracy and multiculturalism in Salvador, Brazil.

In 2023-2024 she will also be affiliated with the University of Helsinki as Visiting Scholar in order to conclude her Academy of Finland funded (2019-2024) research project “Secularism at the Intersection of Race and Religion: Afro-Brazilian Religions and the Prosecution of Religious Intolerance in 21stCentury Brazil.” The research project examines how the wide-spread adoption of “multicultural legal instruments” in Brazil has influenced efforts to prosecute acts of religious intolerance against Afro-Brazilian religions in the city of Rio de Janeiro in order to develop an anthropological understanding of the intersectional construction of religion and race in secular governance and law. Theoretically and methodologically, her research draws on a combination of socio-cultural and linguistic anthropological approaches to political and legal processes.

She holds a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Chicago, and MAs in Anthropology from the University of Helsinki and Social Sciences and Anthropology from the University of Chicago. Previously, she has worked as an Academy Research Fellow (akatemiatutkija) in Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Helsinki (2019-2023), a Core Fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (2016-2019), and Earl S. Johnson Instructor in Anthropology in the University of Chicago’s Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences (2013-2016).

She has served as editor of Suomen Antropologi: The Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society (2017-2020), board member of the Finnish Anthropological Society (2018-2021), and coordinator of the ELAN (European Association for Social Anthropology Linguistic Anthropology Network) works-in-progress workshop series (2020-2021). Currently, she is a member of the editorial board of the journal PoLAR: Political Anthropology Review, and the scientific board of Conexões e Ideias, a book series of Editora Hucitec.

Education/Academic qualification

Anthropology, Ph.D., Univ Chicago

Award Date: 30 Aug 2013

External positions

Pesquisadora Doutora Junior, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Museu Nacional, Departamento de Antropología

28 Jun 2019 → …

Fields of Science

  • 5143 Social and cultural anthropology
  • Linguistic and Semiotic Anthropology
  • Religion and Politics
  • Anthropology of Religion
  • Identity Politics
  • Race
  • Brazil
  • Candomblé
  • Legal Anthropology
  • Secularism

International and National Collaboration

Publications and projects within past five years.