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Personal profile

Description of research and teaching


Docent in Gender Studies, University of Helsinki (since 2015); Research Fellow at Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (September 2016-August 2018).

NB. Since September 2018, I've been working as Academy Research Fellow at Tampere University (venla.oikkonen@tuni.fi).



My research project at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies focused on vaccines as embodied technologies. The project examines the ways in which affective investments and intensities organize debates about vaccines in culture and society. Building on cultural studies, gender studies, and science and technology studies, I approach vaccines as technologies that not only reflect but also reshape material relations, cultural emotions and intersectional differences.


In 2012-2016, I worked as Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Researcher. My project interrogated how population genetics has refashioned belonging since the 1980s. While the project focuses on national narration, it also explores competing forms of belonging such as ethnic, regional or personal belonging. The project starts with the premise that technological and theoretical developments in population genetics have challenged the concepts of history/prehistory and global/local on which narratives of national, ethnic or regional belonging are usually predicated. I ask how narratives of national or communal beloning negotiate these changes, and how the mutually embedded histories of race, gender, and sexuality shape the forms of belonging that have emerged with population genetics. My new book Population Genetics and Belonging (Palgrave Macmillan 2017) explores these questions.


My first monograph, Gender, Sexuality and Reproduction in Evolutionary Narratives was published by Routledge in May 2013. The book examines the current popularity of evolutionary psychological explanations of gender and sexuality by analyzing their commitments to and revisions of the Darwinian narrative tradition. Through a range of popular, literary and scientific texts, the book identifies instabilities and inconsistencies in current evolutionary discourse, opening evolution up for feminist and queer revision.


I have also edited (with Sari Irni and Mianna Meskus) a book on gender and technoscience, Muokattu elämä (Moulded Life), published by the Finnish academic press Vastapaino in 2014.





  • Member of the Steering Committee, Nordic Network for Gender, Body, Health
  • Member of the Steering Committee, Gender Studies Master's Program, University of Helsinki 

Twitter: @venla_oikkonen


Fields of Science

  • 616 Other humanities
  • Gender Studies
  • Cultural Studies
  • 5200 Other social sciences
  • Science and Technology Studies
  • 518 Media and communications
  • popular science
  • science communication
  • 6122 Literature studies
  • feminist literary theory
  • feminist narrative theory
  • science and literature