Expertise

Narrative theory, embodied cognition, phenomenology of reading, feminist theory, trauma studies, ethics of reading, modernist and contemporary literature

Contact

anna.ovaska@tuni.fi / anna.ovaska@gmail.com

Links to research portals

ORCID Academia.edu Researchgate

About

I am a literary scholar working in the intersections of narrative theory, feminist theory, embodied cognitive science, and medical humanities. My publications deal with the affective, embodied and political dimensions of reading, and narrative representations of pain and (mental) illness. I have written, for example, about psychosis, depression, and trauma in literature; first-person narrators; languages of pain; close reading; unconscious and embodied norms; political emotions; and Finnish and Anglophone modernist and contemporary fiction.

I work currently at Narrare (Centre for Interdisciplinary Narrative Studies) at Tampere University. My post-doctoral project, Reading Experiences of Pain (Kone Foundation, 2020-2023), centers on literary portrayals of pain and develops embodied and political theory of text-reader interaction. I am also editor of Finnish philosophical magazine niin & näin.

Bio

I have a background in literary studies, philosophy and gender studies, with a PhD in Finnish and English literature from University of Helsinki and Justus Liebig University, Giessen, and M. Soc. Sc. in political philosophy from University of Helsinki.

I defended my doctoral dissertation Fictions of Madness in February 2020. The thesis investigates experiences of mental illness and trauma in four Finnish first-person narrated modernist novels. It focuses on the ways modernist texts invite readers to imagine unusual and unsettling experiences, and shows how they portray mental illness as embodied and entangled with the world and socio-cultural norms and narratives.

For niin & näin, I have curated theme issues on, e.g., “The Unconscious” (2019), “Political Emotions” (2018), “The Embodied Mind” (2017), “Self-narratives” (2016), “Philosophers of gender difference” (2013), and “Madness” (2013).

Before my PhD, I worked at Finnish-African Cultural Centre Villa Karo in Benin and Finland, and as a teacher of Finnish language for foreigners. I enjoy multicultural cities, remote islands and lighthouses.