Riikka Miettinen

Historical research helps us to understand the present and the factors and processes that shape societies. I’m interested on marginalized people and the formation of their positions and life courses in the past. In my current project I’m studying the social history of insanity, disability and poor relief, with a focus on the interconnections between religion, welfare and the experiences of those considered mentally deviant in early modern (ca. 1550–1800) Sweden and Finland. In particular, I’m examining the early modern ‘welfare systems’ and the role of religion in the everyday lives of the insane. The research produces new information about the experiences, agency and participation of mentally impaired people and their lives in the local communities before the institutionalization of the insane and the birth of the modern Nordic welfare states. Alongside this, I’m working on history of disabled people, and history of poverty and suicides in the contexts of early modern Sweden and Finland.

I work as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in The Centre of Excellence in History of Experiences at Tampere University. I completed my PhD degree in history at Tampere University in 2015.


Photo: Tampere University/Jonne Renvall