Assoc. Prof. Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen, Ph.D.

Visiting Scholar, Institute of Anthropological and Spatial Studies, Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Slovenia.



  • Associate Professor (habilitation), Indigenous Studies (University of Helsinki, 2013)
  • Ph.D., Latin American Studies (University of Helsinki, 2007)
  • M.A. (University of Turku, 2000)  



  • Brazil: with the Apurinã, Manchineri, and Huni Kuin since 2003.


Research interests:

  • Amazonian indigenous socio-philosophies;
  • Diversity of learning processes and epistemologies; 
  • Decolonizing research methods and research ethics;
  • Adolescence;
  • Ethno-history and historicity:
  • Landscape and movement.

  • Institute of Anthropological and Spatial Studies, Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Ljubljana (2014, 2015, 2016).
  • Centre d’Enseignement et Recherche en Ethnologie Amérindienne, Université de Paris Ouest – Nanterre la Défense, Paris (2009, 2010).
  • Université de Paris Ouest – Nanterre la Défense. Centre EREA du LESC (2008). 
  • Universidade de São Paulo, Department of Anthropology, Brazil (2007). 

  • Member of Editorial Board of Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology. 
  • Member of Editorial Board of El Norte – Finnish Journal of Latin American Studies. 
  • Referee for several scientific journals, e.g. American Ethnologist, Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology, International Review of Education–Journal of Lifelong Learning, Amazônica–Revista de Antropologia, Boletim do Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi, Bulletin de l’Institut Français d’Etudes Andines, and Revue Brésil(s).
  • Director of Indigenous studies at the University of Helsinki.
  • Currently supervising 7 active Ph.D. students.
  • Member of the Sustainability Science Center–University of Helsinki design group. 
  • Received several personal and project research grants.
  • Given various invited keynote lectures in several countries.

  • In print. Visualization and Movement as Configurations of Human-nonhuman Engagements: The Geometric Earthwork landscapes of the Upper Purus, Brazil. American Anthropologist. Co-authored with Sanna Saunaluoma.
  • 2017. Creating Dialogues: Indigenous Perceptions and Forms of Leadership in Amazonia. Co-edited with Hanne Veber. Boulder: University Press of Colorado.
  • 2017. ”All This Is Part of My Movement”: Amazonian Indigenous Ways of Incorporating Urban Knowledge in State Politics. In Creating Dialogues: Indigenous Perceptions and Forms of Leadership in Amazonia, P. K. Virtanen and H. Veber (eds.), 259–284. Boulder: University Press of Colorado.
  • 2017. Introduction. In Creating Dialogues: Indigenous Perceptions and Forms of Leadership in Amazonia, P. K. Virtanen and H. Veber (eds.). Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 3–43. Co-authored with Hanne Veber.
  • 2017. Introduction: Enquiries into Contemporary Ritual Landscapes. Journal of Ethnology and Folkloristics 11(1): 5–17. Co-authored with Eleonora Lundell and Marja-Liisa Honkasalo.
  • 2016. The Death of the Chief of Peccaries – the Apurinã and Scarcity of Forest Resources in Brazilian Amazonia. In Hunter-gatherers in a Changing World, V. Reyes-García and A. Pyhälä (eds.), 91–105. New York: Springer.
  • 2016. Relational Centers in the Amazonian Landscape of Moving. In Moving PlacesRelations, Return and Belonging, N. Gregorič Bon and J. Repič (eds.), 126–147. New York: Berghahn.
  • 2016. Book review: Stephen Beckerman and Roberto Lisarralde, The Ecology of the Bari: Rainforest Horticulturalists of South America. Social Anthropology 24(4): 520–522.
  • 2016. Epistemic Differences in Indigenous Amazonia and Decolonizing Rationality. In Multidisciplinary Latin American Studies: Festschrift in Honor of Martti Pärssinen, A. Korpisaari & H. Kettunen (eds.), pp. 53–68. Renvall Insitute Publications. University of Helsinki.
  • 2015. Umeščenost biti in védenja: oživljene rastline in amazonski staroselski načini védenja. Revija Kula 3(1): 75–88.
  • 2015. Fatal Substances: Apurinã’s Dangers, Movement, and Kinship. Indiana 32: 85–103.
  • 2015. Indigenous Social Media Practices in Southwestern Amazonia – Digital Exchanges. AlterNative. An International Journal of Indigenous Peoples 11(4): 350–362.
  • 2015. Variable Models for Social Organization of Monumental Earthworks in Upper Purus, Southwestern Amazonia: Archaeological and Ethnographic Perspectives. Co-authored with S. Saunaluoma. Tipití. Journal of the Society for the Anthropology of Lowland South America 13(1): 23–43.
  • 2015. “I Turn into a Pink Dolphin” – Apurinã Youth, Awiri, and Encounters with the Unseen. In Lost Histories of Youth Culture, C. J. Feldman-Barrett (ed.), 105–122. New York: Peter Lang.
  • 2014. Materializing Alliances: Ayahuasca Shamanism in and beyond Western Amazonian Indigenous Communities. In Amazonian Shamanism in the Amazon and Beyond, B. C. Labate & C. Cavnar (eds.), pp. 59–80. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • 2012. How to Integrate Socio-cultural Dimensions into Sustainable Development: Amazonian Case Studies. Co-authored with S. Saarinen & M. Kamppinen. International Journal of Sustainable Society 4(3): 226–239.
  • 2010. Amazonian Native Youths and Notions of Indigeneity in Urban Areas. Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power 17(2/3): 154–175. 
  • 2009. New Interethnic Relations and Native Perceptions of Human-to-Human Relations in Brazilian Amazonia. Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology 14(2): 332–354.
  • 2009. Shamanism and Indigenous Youthhood in the Brazilian Amazon. Amazônica. Revista de Antropologia 1(1): 152–177. 
  • 2011. Constancy in Continuity: Native Oral history, Iconography and the Earthworks of the Upper Purus. In Ethnicity in Ancient Amazonia: Reconstructing past identities from archaeology, linguistics, and ethnohistory, A. Hornborg and J. D. Hill (eds.), pp. 279–298. Boulder: University Press of Colorado. 
  • 2011. Guarding, Feeding, and Transforming. Palm Trees in the Amazonian Past and Present. In The Archaeological Encounter. Ethnographic Perspectives, P. Fortis and I. Praet (eds.), pp. 125–173. St. Andrews: University St Andrews.
  • 2010. Shamanic practices and social capital among native youths in the Brazilian Amazon. In Religion and Youth, S. Collins-Mayo and P. Dandelion (eds.), 96–116. London: Ashgate.
  • 2010. New Social Roles of Indigenous Women in Brazilian Amazonia: Gender, Education, and Age in Intersections. In The Islands of Madness: Normativity and marginalization in Latin America, M. Opas, P. K. Virtanen and S. Vuorisalo-Tiitinen (eds.), pp. 88–107. Madrid: Instituto Iberoamericano de Finlandia.
  • 2012. Indigenous Youth in Brazilian Amazonia: Changing Lived Worlds. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 
  • 2013. Alkuperäiskansat tämän päivän maailmassa (Indigenous Peoples Today). Co-edited with L. Kantonen & I. Seurujärvi-Kari. Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society.
  • 2010. Islas de la locura: normatividad y marginalización en América Latina, Co-edited with M. Opas, P. K. Virtanen and S. Vuorisalo-Tiitinen. Madrid: Instituto Iberoamericano de Finlandia.


Anthropology of consciousness and practices of awareness

Asst. Prof. Maja Petrović Šteger, Ph. D.,


Anthropology of Fertility

Assoc. Prof. Duška Kneževič Hočevar, Ph.D.,


Cosmology of Mesoamerican Societies

Prof. Ivan Šprajc, Ph.D.,


Epistemological pluralism and “decolonizing” methods in ethnographic research

Assoc. Prof. Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen, Ph.D.,


Laughing politically: toward the anthropology of humor

Prof. Tanja Petrović, Ph.D.,


Public anthropology, social engagement and activism

Assoc. Prof. Ana Hofman, Ph.D.,


Research Methodology in Anthropological Linguistics

Prof. Borut Telban, Ph.D.,

Karmen Kenda-Jež, Ph.D.,


Space and movement: towards anthropology of locations and migrations

Asst. Prof. Nataša Gregorič Bon, Ph.D.,