Dr Eva Johanna Holmberg

PhD, FRHistS, Title of Docent in Cultural History (University of Turku)

  • PL 59 (Unioninkatu 38)




Research activity per year

Personal profile

Description of research and teaching

Dr Eva Johanna Holmberg (she/her), FRHistS, is a University Researcher in the Department of Philosophy, History, and Art Studies at the University of Helsinki and a senior researcher of the Academy of Finland research project Experiencing Agony: Pain and Embodiment in the British Atlantic World, 1600–1900 (2022-26). In this project she will focus on the long seventeenth-century experiences of the discomforts and ailing of mobile English people, following their suffering footsteps to India, the Eastern Mediterranean, and the Atlantic world. She is also kicking off a new research project on the embodied experiences of long-distance travel in the early modern period.

Holmberg's research interests include renaissance cross-cultural encounters, early modern race-making, Anglo-Ottoman exchanges, and the cultural history of mobility – including its bodily, sensory and emotional experiences. She is the author of three books. Her first monograph explored contemporary Jews in early modern English imagination, Jews in the Early Modern English Imagination: A Scattered Nation (Ashgate, 2012, nowadays available from Routledge). Her second book, British Encounters with Ottoman Minorities in the Early Seventeenth Century: 'Slaves' of the Sultan, was published by Palgrave in 2022 in the series Early Modern Cultural Studies, 1500-1700, edited by Jean Howard and Holly Dugan. You can watch the book launch here. Her third book, entitled Writing Mobile Lives, 1500-1700 (2024) is an open access Cambridge Element in Travel Writing and can be downloaded here.

Holmberg has edited a theme issue for Renaissance Studies, 'Renaissance and Early Modern Travel: Practice and Experience, 1500-1700' (Renaissance Studies vol. 33, no. 4., 2019). Her articles have appeared in Huntington Library Quarterly, Cultural & Social History, Renaissance Studies, Studies in Travel Writing, and several edited collections and handbooks. She is currently editing (together with Sara Norja and Kirsty Rolfe) Richard Norwood's (1590-1675) 'Confessions' for the Hakluyt Society. Norwood's 'Confessions' is a fascinating spiritual autobiography of an early modern mariner, mathematics teacher and a land surveyor of Bermuda. The new edition will reveal exciting aspects of Norwood's manuscript for the very first time, that have until now been hidden under ink smudges.

Holmberg is a Trustee and a council member of the Hakluyt Society and a co-convener of the longstanding Institute of Historical Research seminar, Society, Culture, and Belief, 1500-1800. She has held research fellowships at Birkbeck, QMUL, NYU Medieval and Renaissance Center (MARC), Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (Core Fellow in 2013-2016), and University of Sussex. From 2016 to 2022 Holmberg was an Academy of Finland Research Fellow after receiving a major five-year mid-career research grant from the Academy of Finland. Her project focused on the entanglements of manuscript travel writing and life writing in seventeenth-century Britain, and has yielded several peer-reviewed publications.

Holmberg has taught at the University of Turku, Queen Mary University of London, and University of Helsinki, where her courses have focused on early modern cultural history, history of emotions and senses, cross-cultural encounters and travel, and historiography and methodology of cultural history. She is a supervisor for the Doctoral Programme in History and Cultural Heritage and is interested in supervising graduate and postgraduate students working on early modern Britain and the wider world, with a special fondness for transcultural and interdisciplinary renaissance and early modern studies. She has completed the basic studies, including teacher and supervisor training in university pedagogy (25 credits) and in feminist pedagogy (25 credits) in the Finnish Gender Studies network, HILMA.

Holmberg tweets @EvaJohannaH and blogs as a team member of the AHRC-funded research collective Medieval and Early Modern Orients, a decolonial project that seeks to further knowledge and understanding of the early interactions between England and the Islamic Worlds. https://memorients.com She can also be found on BlueSky with the handle @evajohannaholmberg.bsky.social

External positions

Visiting Fellow, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK

1 Sept 2016 → …

Fields of Science

  • 615 History and Archaeology
  • Cultural History
  • early modern history
  • cultural encounters and exchanges
  • history of travel
  • Early Modern England
  • Renaissance studies
  • Christian-Muslim relations
  • Jewish history
  • life writing
  • mobility

International and National Collaboration

Publications and projects within past five years.