LEENA KÄOSAAR (PL) is Associate Professor of Cultural Theory at the Institute of Cultural Research at the University of Tartu in Estonia. My research interests include the tradition of Estonian life writing and post-Soviet life writings, Baltic women’s deportation and Gulag narratives, women’s diaries and family correspondences, self-representational writing of traumatic experience, relationality, memory, and mobility/the mobility of memory as well as creative nonfiction (life story writing) that she teaches at the University of Tartu alongside courses on literary and cultural theory, gender studies and Estonian literature. My research in the field has been published in The Journal of Baltic Studies, Prose Studies, Life Writing, and in several edited volumes and handbooks, e.g., in The Routledge Companion to Literature and Trauma (2020) and The Diary: The Epic of Everyday Life (Indiana UP, 2020). She is the fall 2023 Juris Padegs research associate at Yale MacMillan Center for European studies. While at Yale, where she will be working on a monograph on Baltic women’s deportation narratives that is partially based on her previous research that has focused on strategies of representation of deportation experience in retrospective narratives and written records from the deportation period, based on published and manuscript sources.
MARYAM ADJAM, PhD, is an ethnographer, currently based as a researcher at Uppsala University, Sweden. Her research interest includes the fields of memory studies and critical heritage studies. Using imaginative ethnographical methodologies such as ethnographic poetics and visual anthropology she has been exploring the intersection between ethnography, photography and literature, focusing on practices of remembrance in relation to experiences of war and state sanctioned violence. Her current research project “The Heritage of the Missing” focuses on absence as concept in memory and processes of heritage making in the context of state sanctioned violence. She holds a PhD in ethnology from Center for Baltic and East European Studies at Södertörn University, Sweden.
ZITA KARKLA, PhD, a literary scholar, a researcher at the Institute of Literature, Folklore and Art of University of Latvia. Her research experience is related to the themes of women's writing, feminism and prose studies. In her doctoral dissertation (2015) she looked at the genealogy of contemporary Latvian women's writing; later she acquired a postdoctoral research grant for the implementation of her individual research project “Embodied geographies: History of Latvian women's writing” (2020–2022), financed by the ERDF. Within this project, she has published several articles pertaining to the themes of women’s travel writing, literary geography and geocriticism, gendered censorship and distant reading. She has published peer-reviewed scholarly articles since 2011 and is author of a monograph Iemiesošanās. Sievišķās subjektivitātes ģenealoģija latviešu rakstnieču prozā [Embodied Experiences. Genealogy of Female Subjectivity in the Prose of Latvian Women Writers] (Kārkla 2022).
KAIRIT KAUR, PhD, is research fellow at the University of Tartu and main expert at the Baltica department of the Tallinn University Academic Library. She has studied German language and literature and defended her thesis in comparative literature. Her main focus of interest is on Baltic German literature and culture, their relations to Western Europe, the arrival of world literature to Estonia and the early women’s writing in this region.
HANNA MERETOJA is Professor of Comparative Literature and Director of SELMA: Centre for the Study of Storytelling, Experientiality and Memory at the University of Turku (Finland), Principal Investigator in the Academy of Finland research consortium “Instrumental Narratives: The Limits of Storytelling and New Story-Critical Narrative Theory” (2018-2023), and Visiting Fellow at Exeter College, University of Oxford (UK). Her research is mainly in the fields of narrative studies, cultural memory studies, and trauma studies. Her monographs include The Ethics of Storytelling: Narrative Hermeneutics, History, and the Possible (2018, Oxford University Press) and The Narrative Turn in Fiction and Theory (2014, Palgrave Macmillan), and she has co-edited with Mark Freeman The Use and Abuse of Stories: New Directions in Narrative Hermeneutics (2023, Oxford University Press), with Colin Davis The Routledge Companion to Literature and Trauma (2020) and Storytelling and Ethics: Literature, Visual Arts and the Power of Narrative (2018, Routledge), and with Eneken Laanes “Cultural Memorial Forms” (a special issue of Memory Studies, 2021). She is also the author of the novel Elotulet (2022, WSOY, The Night of Ancient Lights), which will appear in German translation in 2024.
GIEDRĖ ŠMITIENĖ, PhD, is a senior researcher at the Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore. She is a member of the Doctoral Committee of Ethnology, systematically teaching doctoral students phenomenological anthropology and phenomenology of literature. She also is an expert on the Lithuanian Council for Culture. Her research interests include relationality and interactions, methodology of research on life stories and ego documents, epistolarity, intersubjectivity, phenomenological anthropology, phenomenology of the body, research on practices of everyday life. The main feature of G. Šmitienė's interdisciplinary research is the phenomenological approach, which allows for exploring different cultural texts as personal experience. This approach is formed in the monograph "Speaking with the Body. A Phenomenological Study of the Work of Alfonso Nyka-Niliūnas." (2007) and continues with more than 20 articles on a wide range of topics. Since 2008 Šmitienė has been applying a phenomenological approach to the study of life stories and letters. Letters are studied as forms of human relationality and as practices of everyday life. The epistolary fund of J. Degutytė has been researched and is being prepared for publication. Letters from ordinary people are also studied, revealing different cultural backgrounds. Since 2018, the work in the phenomenology of the body has been shifting towards the disabled body. Life stories of people with disabilities were collected. Together with J. Jonutyte, the monograph “The Legs of a Snake. The Concept of Disability in Life Stories” (2021) was published.