Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen

principal investigator

Research projects

  • Project date 1.5.2014–1.5.2014
  • Head of research Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen
  • Language n/a

The main aims of the project are the following: a) to create a new research collectivity on indigenous peoples that would be organized from the Faculty of Humanities, Helsinki University. b) to understand better current grass root challenges of indigenous peoples c) to identify new contacts at the Helsinki University and internationally d) to create new study modules. e) to integrate creativity and epistemology of indigenous people in the methods and contents of the research and teaching activities.

  • Project date 1.1.2014–1.12.2016
  • Head of research Pirjo Virtanen
  • Language n/a

The project examines indigenous and Afro-American peoples’ ways to create new cognitive models for producing power. People from these backgrounds have been active in designing new education systems, engaging in politics, and creating new religious intersubjectivity in Latin America. We stress a ‘not-yet’ consciousness, modes of attention to the fact that something has still to happen or become. The proposed project focuses on agency constructions in different social, cultural, religious, and political contexts and the ideas of imagined (home)places and spaces based on indigenousness, ethnicity, and religion as they may affect people’s future transformation. We examine agencies including both human and non-human subjects. The global influences, technology, new contacts, new knowledge, and state policies are important factors in creative processes the actors can use for their agency construction.

  • Project date 1.1.2013–1.12.2017
  • Head of research Pirjo Virtanen / Sidney da Silva Facundes
  • Language n/a

Os objetivos e metas da pesquisa são os seguintes: 1) Objetivo Geral a. Reconstruir a história dos povos aruák antes do contato com os não-índios e depois do contato na Bácia Purus; 2) Objetivos específicos a. Pesquisar a organização política no passado e hoje. b. Pesquisar os processos corporais e educação ligados às negociações interétnicas. c. Comparar líderes e porta-vozes no passado e hoje. d. Pesquisar a participação nas organizações indígenas e na política indígena. e. Determinar o papel histórico das línguas indígenas nas mudanças sofridas. f. Tornar os conhecimentos do passado obtidos através da pesquisa acessíveis aos povos estudados através da publicação de dicionários, livros de ensino de escrita e conversa, e coletâneas de mitos história.

  • Project date 1.9.2011–1.8.2015
  • Head of research Martti Pärssinen
  • Language n/a

The "United in Diversity: Monumental Landscapes, Regionality, and Cultural Dynamism in Pre-Columbian Western Amazonia" (2011–2015) is a multidisciplinary project focusing on cultural dynamics of the prehistoric indigenous populations in the southwestern Amazon. The geometric earthworks connected by road systems, identified by Brazilian and Finnish researchers in the Upper Purus River Basin, have contributed to formulate a new perspective of Amazonian civilizations. The primary objectives of our project are to reconstruct the cultural, economic, ethnic, and demographic processes involved in the occurrence of the geometric earthwork tradition in the Brazilian states of Acre and Amazonas. The project is sponsored by the Academy of Finland.

  • Project date 1.12.2009–1.12.2014
  • Head of research Pirjo Virtanen
  • Language n/a

In Latin America indigenous peoples have turned into significant political actors. This project examines how the new forms of indigenous leaderships connect to the questions of power, and consider how they are interpreted from a native point of view. The studied groups are two Arawak-speaking groups living in Western Amazonia, Brazil. In looking at the way these two groups view their spokespeople and create new political, cultural, and economic partnerships, the aim is to explore the Amerindian way of producing different bodies, authority, and agency. The research also addresses historical changes of leadership as part of other social and political processes in the past and present. The main research questions are the following: 1) What are the new forms of leadership in Amazonian native communities? 2) How can acting in new interethnic networks be understood as a new type of human-to-human relation in Amazonian sociocosmology? 3) How have social roles hold by the young indigenous people changed their communities? 4) What are the differences between young female and male native leaders? 5) How have Amazonian leaderships changed taking into account environmental changes, economic, political, social, and legal processes?