Manipulating nature - case studies in environmental history and philosophy


“Manipulating nature - case studies in environmental history and philosophy” research group focuses on environmental history and philosophy in a socio-political context. It scrutinises and elucidates the questions concerning the relationships between environmental and social values (e.g., well-being, diversity, and critical ecopolitical evaluations), and their political applications in the process of western modernisation from the 17th century to the present day. The group carries out case studies on the borderlines of nature, science and technology, economy, and culture.


Adjunct professor, senior lecturer Kari Väyrynen, the PI of the group, analyses the romantic critique of civilisation at the turn of the 18th and 19th century and the early Marxist ecology (1840–1860). His recent interest in material metaphysics, modalities and modal explanations in science also touches on many methodological problems in today’s environmental research.


PhD, Adjunct professor Jarmo Pulkkinen studies the role of rhetoric and metaphors in the interpretation of the history of modern science between the 17th and 19th century and Nobel Prize-winning scientist A.I. Virtanen’s agricultural chemistry and its technological applications.


PhD, Academy Research Fellow Esa Ruuskanen’s research has two foci: the aesthetic, economic, political and scientific appraisal of Baltic and Nordic peatlands and wetlands from the 18th century to the present day; and the changing conceptions of energy generation and consumption and their environmental and health effects in post-war Finland and Japan.


MA Mari-Anne Virkkala’s doctoral research concentrates on Kant’s concept of sublimity and its relation to the concept of nature. Kant’s concept of sublimity introduces the idea of wild nature already in the period of the Enlightenment and shows that European values concerning nature were not uniform.

Last updated: 16.10.2013