Kristo Siig is a PhD student in History. He completed his MA studies in Archaeology at the University of Helsinki. In his doctoral research Kristo studies the hillforts and settlement structure of Northern Estonia during the Late Iron Age. His aim is to discuss the functions of hillforts and the relationship to their surroundings, i.e. were hillforts simply defensive structures or also centres of power or marketplaces, what were the hinterlands of hillforts like and what all of this says about the Iron Age society. In order to answer these questions, he mainly uses different quantitative spatial methods.

James Montgomery Baxenfield is a PhD student in History. He completed his MA in Comparative History of Eastern, Central, and Southeastern Europe at Central European University, Budapest. James researches Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian history, with a specific focus on the concept of Latvian-Lithuanian federation. His doctoral research traces the phenomenon of Latvian-Lithuanian federation from the period of national awakening until the final decades of the twentieth century.

Karl Peeter Valk is a PhD student in History both at Tallinn University and at Sorbonne University, where he received his MA degree in Medieval History. His research focuses on the writings of Philippe de Mézières, a fourteenth-century French writer who spent his life serving and advising a number of potentates all over Europe and the Middle East. Although diverse in nature, his extant literary works are all concerned with the spiritual and political reform of Christendom, culminating in a general crusade and the establishment of an ideal Christian society where the borders between the earthly and the heavenly cities become blurred. Using the methods of intellectual and cultural history, Karl Peeter studies Mézières’ ideas and sources as well as the rhetorical strategies by which he sought to transform the world around him.

Andre Kruusmaa is a PhD student in History. He completed his MA in History at Tartu University, while he has also spent some time doing research at UNCG and Vilnius University. His research largely focuses on pro-slavery and pro-serfdom ideas and movements during the era of abolition and emancipation in the context of the Southern states, British Empire and the Russian Baltic provinces.

Karl Hein is a PhD student in History. He completed his MA studies in Theology and Religious Education at Tartu University. He has joined the research project "Estonian Environmentalism in the 20th century: ideology, discources, practices" and is writig his PhD thesis about the animal rights movement in Estonia during the Interwar period (1918-1940). 



Miriam Rossi is a PhD student in Studies of Cultures. She completed her MA studies in Russian and English languages and literatures at the University of Pavia (IT). Miriam Rossi's doctoral research focuses on poetry translation in uncensored spaces during Late Soviet Union. The research deals in particular with the phenomenon of the Leningrad "samizdat", a clandestine circulation of texts, where particularly during the eighties translation activities flourished and the figure of the underground poet-translator emerges as the main agent of this cultural practice. Involving translation history, poetry translation and comparative literature, Miriam Rossi's research adopts various theoretical frames, from Pierre Bourdieu to Alexei Yurchak, investigating also poet-translators' meta-texts.



Madli Mihkelson is a PhD student in Studies of Cultures. She completed her MA studies in Cultural Theory at Tallinn University. Her main research interest is Soviet Estonian graphic design with a specific focus on poster art in the 1980s as a hybrid cultural phenomenon. She investigates the repositioning of poster art within the art field and analyses the expression of this process in the visual means of the posters and their communicability by using the theoretical instruments of semiotics and visual rhetoric. The aim of her research is not only to find new information on the phenomenon itself, but also on the potential methods of analysing the poster as a multimodal medium and the applicability of these methods.

Mikhail Fiadotau is a PhD student in Studies of Cultures with a focus in anthropology. He holds an MA degree in Linguistics from Minsk State Linguistics University in Belarus. His research interests include media and design anthropology, game studies, and Japanese studies. Mikhail's dissertation explores the cultural heterogeneity of videogame creation and consumption practices, with a particular focus on the independent gaming communities in the Anglophone world and Japan. Mikhail has carried out research visits at Japan Foundation's Kansai Institute in Osaka, Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, and Leipzig University. He also teaches game design in Tallinn University School of Digital Technologies and has delivered workshops and guest lectures on the subject in Estonia and abroad.

Amel Kaabi is a PhD student in Studies of Cultures. The topic of her research is inscribed in the field of postcolonial and feminist studies. She is dealing with Assia Djebar who is subverting in her works the obliteration of the role of women from the male-centred postcolonial literary tradition in Algeria. In the aftermath of the colonial era, Assia Djebar was among the very first female authors to write. Her works deal with a myriad of themes that are around women’s bodies, identity quest and postcolonial issues where little space to women was granted as both voicing and voiced. Amel Kaabi attempts through her study of Djebar’s novels to enlighten the understanding of the Algerian female voice(s) in the postcolonial literature of a milieu that bears stings of its past, but is inseparable from its present.



Denis Kuzmin is a PhD student in the anthropological branch of Studies of Cultures. He gained his MA grade at Tallinn University in the area of Russian as a Foreign Language, and participating in prof. Irina Belobrovtseva’s grant he got his experience as a researcher and wrote his thesis on cultural studies topic. In his PhD thesis he studies Estonian North Caucasian diaspora and its people’s ethnicity and level of their transnationalism.
His research focuses on migration, cultural trauma, ethnicity, transnationalism, oral history and paradigm “own-other-strange-enemy”. Denis Kuzmin undertakes his study in the Centre of Excellence in Estonian Studies.



Kristiine Kikas is a doctoral candidate in Studies of Cultures. She holds a master’s degree in Comparative Literature and Cultural Semiotics from Tallinn University. Kristiine’s research belongs to the field of affect studies and it explores the possibilities for non-representational reading of poetry. Being grounded in the philososphy of Gilles Deleuze, specifically in his theories of experiencing art and literature, the aim of the work is to map the ways in which the language of poetry affects the reader besides and simultaneously with semantic meaning. 





Jaana Davidjants is a PhD student in the department of Studies of Cultures. She completed her MA in political science, at Goldsmiths, University of London. Jaana's research concerns the amateur material from crisis zones (as e.g Aleppo's siege), with her further focus being on Western media and the way the material of distant suffering was framed there. Her professional background is in visual communication. She has mainly collaborated with artist-activist collectives and smaller NGO-s working in the area of human rights.

Louise Sträuli is a PhD student in Studies of Cultures. After graduating from the Erasmus Mundus Master in ‘Global Markets, Local Creativities’, Louise joined the research Project ‘Public Transport as Public Space in European Cities: Narrating, Experiencing, Contesting’ (PUTSPACE), within which her doctoral research is embedded. Beyond the question of what distinguishes public transport as public, Louise aims to uncover the tensions between everyday mobility experiences and planning-related mobility narratives. In particular, she examines the development of policies regarding safety and fares, the experience of ticket controls and practices of fare evasion, and the influence of digital media on the use of public transport. To this end, she combines analyses of policies and online communities with qualitative interviews and (mobile) ethnographic methods.

Main Uddin is a doctoral student in Anthropology. He completed his Bachelor and Masters in Anthropology from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh and M.Phil. in Anthropology from Jahangirnagar University, Bangladesh. His academic interest focuses on mobility and migration, refugee, transnationalism, globalization, Diaspora, climate change, gender issue and South Asia as region. His doctoral study explores the continuity and changes in the discourse and practices of traditional gender roles of men and women in a patriarchal Muslim society in rural Bangladesh following international migration of men leaving their women counterparts in the place of origin. The study is an ethnographic account which investigates whether the changes are temporal for migration period and what happens to the practices when the husbands permanently return. The study contextualizes structure and agency of practice theory to understand how patriarchal structure influences individuals and how individuals play role to transform the structure in exchange through their mobility, activity and resistance.  

Alina Poklad is a PhD student in Studies of Culture. She completed an MA at Tallinn Technical University in IT and business management before earning an MA at Tallinn University in Slavic Languages and Cultures. Her PhD research topic is disability studies. She focuses on the image of disabled people in Russian culture. In her work, she investigates why Russian society still perceives people with disabilities as "other" and why the representation of these people in Russian culture is still stigmatized, despite changing attitudes in other European countries. Alina Poklad uses theories and frameworks of various authors in the disability studies field to analyze these questions.

Eva-Liisa Linder is a PhD student in Studies of Cultures. She holds a MA in theatre studies from Tartu University and works as a theatre researcher and lecturer at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre. Her research focuses on contemporary Estonian theatre as a creator of the public sphere and a participant in ethical and national discussions. The comparative analysis into theatre’s role in Estonia and other European countries reveals different types of the theatrical public sphere, which have contributed to the development of society and functioned as soft power. The interdisciplinary research is based on performance analysis and critical theory of the Frankfurt school, combining social and theatre studies.

Hirohisa Koike is a PhD student in Studies of Cultures. He completed his MA studies in Imaging Arts and Sciences at Musashino Art University in Japan, then worked as an artist-researcher at L’école des beaux-arts de Nantes Métropole in France. His primary research examines the role of delay and desire in photography, based on the conceptual legacy of Roland Barthes and Jacques Derrida. He works as a photographer and lectures the history and theory of photography at the Estonian Academy of Arts.

Bernadette Ščasná completed her MA in Literature, Visual Culture and Film Studies at Tallinn University. Now she is a PhD student in Studies of Culture, specifically in the project ″Translating Memories″. In this project, the members are focused on the aesthetic media of memory in the context of memory cultures and politics while aiming to offer a comparative and transnational view on the entangled histories and memories of Central and Eastern Europe in relation to the totalitarian regimes. The main aim of her research is to analyze the relationship between fact and fiction in different representations of the socialist regime and the Holocaust. The main subjects of her research are books and films originating in Slovakia and the Czech republic that are dealing with these crucial historical events.

Ksenia Shmydkaya is a PhD student in Studies of Culture. She holds MA degree in Modern and Contemporary History from Lomonosov Moscow State University and M2 degree in History and Anthropology from Panthéon-Sorbonne University (Paris 1). Her current research focuses on the historical fiction created by women writers in the interwar Europe. Among her scholarly interests are gender history, life-writing, Eastern European feminisms, and relationship between literature and historiography.

Meos Holger Kiik is a PhD student in the curriculum “Studies of Culture” conducting research in contemporary political philosophy. In 2017 he defended his MA thesis in philosophy in Tallinn University on „The Possibility of Justification of Democracy”. Now he is working on the problems of appealing to knowledge in the justifications of democracy and the concept of “reasonableness” in democratic theory with the working title “The role of „reasonability” and epistemic success in the conceptions and justification of deliberative democracy, and related problems.”

Authors such as John Rawls, Cristina Lafont, David Estlund, Snježana Prijić-Samaržija, Christian F. Rostbøll and others often are relevant to his work.

He is also working at TTK University of Applied Sciences as a lecturer of critical thinking and philosophy.

Mustafa Soysal is a PhD candidate in Studies of Cultures. His specialization is Theory of Culture. Mustafa did his BA in English Language and Literature and MA in English Literature and Cultural Studies at Cankaya University in Ankara, Turkey. His PhD dissertation analyses Wide Sargasso Sea, Voyage in the Dark and Good Morning, Midnight by Jean Rhys through the perspective of Existentialist philosophy. The work reads the first two novels as postcolonial novels. Therefore, his dissertation scrutinizes the relation between postcolonialism and existentialism. His main research interests are Magical realism, postcolonialism, existential sociology and postmodernism. Mustafa has delivered numerous courses ranging from Academic English to English for Special Purposes for different departments at Tallinn University.

Kalev Aasmäe is a PhD student in Studies of Cultures, focusing on Anthropology. He has completed a MA degree in Ethnology at the University of Tartu and also holds an MSc degree from the University of Copenhagen in Anthropology. In his PhD thesis he studies the everyday life of squatters in London after the ban of residential squatting, focusing on the topics of space, time, and mobility. Kalev is also a Junior Researcher/Lecturer at Stockholm School of Economics Riga/BICEPS, where he is working on a project on the „brain drain – brain gain“ process in the Baltics by studying human capital gain and loss resulting from mobility.

Aynur Rahmanova is a PhD student in Studies of Cultures. She completed her MA studies in semiotics at the University of Tartu with an analysis of Umberto Eco's novel The Name of the Rose as a deconstruction and critique of Mikhail Bakhtin's concept of carnival. Her doctoral thesis continues her work on carnival as a double-faced and binary structure which disguises authoritarian discourses as modes of social liberation. Rahmanova's research interests concern peripheral discourses in culture, namely Soviet political jokes and monsters in illuminated manuscripts.

Aleksandra Ianchenko is a doctoral candidate in Studies of Culture. She studied Fine Arts at Irkutsk Technical University, Russia and then obtained her second MA degree in Art Management at Russian State University of Humanities in Moscow and at Humboldt University in Berlin. Her current research is embedded within the project “Public Transport as Public Space in European Cities: Narrating, Experiencing, Contesting (PUTSPACE)”. As an artist, Aleksandra uses a range of creative mediums with the aim to understand atmospheres on urban public transport and the ways in which they can be changed through performative public art practice. 

Kristiina Varrone is a PhD student in Studies of Cultures. She has a BA in English (Tallinn University, 2006) and an MA in Conference Interpreting (Tallinn University, 2008). Throughout her studies, she has been fascinated with literature and literary theory. Her research is focused on contemporary Australian Aboriginal literature from an ecofeminist perspective. She is currently on maternity leave.

Yan Asadchy is a Ph.D. student in Studies of Cultures and Junior Researcher at CUDAN Open Lab. After graduating from the Human-Computer Interaction program at Tallinn University, Yan pursued his interest in understanding how people behave online. His work focuses on digital cultures, online communication, and self-representation in Online Dating. Yan uses a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods along with digital-only methods to understand how people interact across social media platforms and how platform affordances shape the way users represent themselves.

Mark Mets is a PhD student in Studies of Cultures. He completed his MA studies in Semiotics at the University of Tartu. In his doctoral research Mark studies the representations of other cultures and cultural transmission of those representations by analysing big data. His aim is to describe the different dynamics by which these representations of other cultures
change in order to better understand cultural transmission and cultural evolution.
Furthermore, this research evaluates to what extent specific methods of modelling cultural data contribute to a better understanding of cultural transmission and evolution in general. He achieves this by analysing specific datasets that demonstrate how representations of other cultures have changed throughout time and by looking for similarities and differences in patterns of change within and between these datasets. Mark is part of the Cultural Data Analytics (CUDAN) project.

Niklas Söderman is a PhD Student in Studies of Cultures. He completed his MA studies in East Asian Studies and MSSc studies in Political Science at the University of Helsinki. In his doctoral research at Tallinn University, Niklas studies Japanese and comparative philosophy, specialising in the philosophy of the Kyoto School and its intercultural approach to philosophy. His dissertation explores the idea of subjectivity in the philosophy of the Kyoto School, its relationship to the intellectual history of their period and its underpinnings in Buddhist philosophy. The research is focused particularly on the works of the School’s founder Nishida Kitaro and his student Nishitani Keiji, on how their explorations of subjectivity developed in dialogue with the political aesthetics of the early 20th century Japan, and how their philosophical views have influenced the understanding of what a Japanese subjectivity means, even in contemporary discourse.

Timothy Anderson is a PhD student and Junior Research Fellow in Anthropology. He holds an MA in Geography & Social Anthropology from the University of Edinburgh and an MSc in Spatial Planning jointly awarded by Radboud University Nijmegen and Blekinge Institute of Technology. Following his graduate studies, Timothy worked at Nordregio, a Nordic policy research institute based in Stockholm. Timothy's current PhD research involves time spent among asylum-seekers, settled refugees, and detained migrants in Estonia. His goal is to provide an ethnographic analysis of Estonia’s asylum system by relaying and amplifying the voices of migrants within the country. His research interests include political anthropology, asylum policy, nationalism, borders, and human rights.

Tanel Saimre is a researcher trained in archaeology and anthropology whose interest lies in technology. He is currently working on his PhD dissertation which finds ways to study technology through machine learning and visual heritage. 

Sandra Peets is a PhD student in Studies of Cultures. She has received a MA in Asian societies and politics, with an emphasis on Iran studies, from Tallinn Univesity. Sandra researches the speeches of Ayatollah Khomeini. The aim of her research is to find and analyse the main foreign policy narratives applied by Khomeini. Also, Sandra teaches courses about Middle–East at the Institute of Humanities. From January 2021 she works as a junior researcher at the TLU Centre of Excellence in Intercultural Studies.

Dana Karjatse-Davidjants is a PhD Student (Studies of Cultures) focusing on the Middle East. Her research concentrates on the identity construction of ISIS, analysing the key speeches by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and the official spokespersons. More broadly, she is interested in the relationship between identity (identity politics), ideology, and political violence. Previously, she has worked as a Country of Origin Information (COI) Researcher specialising on the Middle East (mostly Syria and Iraq), as an Asylum Case Officer (including in the refugee camps in Greece and Italy), and as a Copy Editor in the Art Museum of Estonia. She holds an MA and BA degree in Asian Studies (Middle Eastern Studies), and BA in Estonian Philology.

Rita Niineste is a PhD student of philosophy at the University of Tallinn. She has BA degrees in English philology (Tartu University) and philosophy (Tallinn University), and an MA in cultural theory and philosophy (Tallinn University). Her research focuses on feminist perspectives on sexual difference, as well as the philosophy of sexuality and sexual ethics. She is interested in the phenomenological analysis of empirical data yielded by experimental psychology and in prospects for science-based approaches to sexuality within the tradition of philosophy and beyond.

Hanna Maria Aunin is a PhD student in Studies of Culture. She completed her MA studies in Literature, Visual Culture and Film Studies in Tallinn University. Hanna’s current research is part of the project "Translating Memories: The Eastern European Past in the Global Arena" and focuses on memory, film and the concept of gaze. She is interested in how the act of seeing and being seen is culturally, socially and historically determined. The aim of her research is to explore the functions and manifestations of the gaze in Baltic films about the Soviet past and World War II, and how the gaze affects the spectators’ cinematic experience, the ways of seeing and remembering.

Johannes Bent received his MA from the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder). He is interested in the theory and philosophy of history, intellectual history and Eastern European history. In his PhD project he researches the ties of Ernst Troeltsch’s (1865-1923) late oeuvre to Eastern Europe during the interwar period.


Kevin Rändi is a doctoral student in Studies of Cultures programme who specializes in philosophy. He earned his MA degree in Culture Theory and Philosophy at Tallinn University. He has been a visiting student at Warsaw University (Poland) and Palacký University in Olomouc (Czech Republic). His doctoral thesis is based on philosophical and theoretical discourses that attempt to understand our current human condition from future-oriented perspective. He emphasizes the importance of Don Ihde’s contribution to post-phenomenology and post-hermeneutics together with the advancements in the field brought by Peter-Paul Verbeek. In light of this relational account, Kevin sees further possibilities for examining other phenomenological horizons and the plurality of human condition nearing our technological future. His earlier work focused on the topic of possibility, consciousness, and speculative reason in the works of Alfred North Whitehead.

Since 2020 he teaches “Critical Thinking” in Helsinki and assists the same course in Tallinn. He has also been the supervisor for LIFE project on Futures Literacy in Tallinn University.

Piret Pärgma obtained her master’s degree in Translation at Tallinn University. In translation studies, her research interests focus on translator studies, translators' (in)visibility and translators' position in cultural field. In her doctoral dissertation, Piret studies literary translations of English language works into Estonian in three time periods and places them into the cultural context of the era, using the central concepts of Bourdieu's field theory and methods of writing translation history by Lieven D’hulst and Anthony Pym.


Helin Kask is a doctoral student of linguistics at Tallinn University, Estonia. Her research interests are contact linguistics and multilingualism. Her thesis focuses on English-Estonian language contacts in written texts and oral speech. She investigates on-going contact-induced language change in Estonian under the impact of English.

Elīna Bone is a doctoral student of linguistics at Tallinn University. Her field is contact linguistics with the focus on language use of Estonian-Latvian individuals because an individual is where contact-induced change starts.

Anu Kalda is a PhD student in Linguistics. She holds an MSc in Political Science from Helsinki University and an MA degree in Translation Studies from Tallinn University. In her doctoral research Anu focuses on analysing how English perception metaphors are translated into Estonian. She uses the methods of cognitive and psycholinguistics. Perception metaphors include colour, smell, taste and temperature words. The aim is to investigate the influence of linguistic and cultural background on understanding and translating perception metaphors. The focus is not only on translation but also on translation process and the cognitive load of perception metaphors.




Peeter Tinits is a PhD student in linguistics, in final stages. In his PhD thesis he integrates digitized historical texts and cultural heritage metadata to study the development of Estonian language norms at the end of the 19th century. He uses quantitative methods and various digital tools to open a data-centered view on the position of Estonian language in the society. Outside studies, he deals with the topic of digital humanities in various aspects, develops open data sources and also teaches digital methods to others.

Rita Forssten is a linguistics PhD student. Her thesis focuses on strategies used by young native speakers of Estonian in the language receptive modes such as reading and listening when they come across unfamiliar EFL idioms. Furthermore, she investigates idiom properties (e.g. transparency and L1-L2 similarity) that make them more intelligible to young language learners.

Piret Baird is a PhD student in linguistics. She has a MA degree from the University of Tartu in comparative politics and a MA degree from Brigham Young University in TESOL. Her research interests are early bilingualism/multilingualism and code-switching. Her PhD thesis is about early successive bilingualism.