Seljamaa, Dr. Elo-Hanna

Dr. Elo-Hanna Seljamaa is associate professor of Estonian and Comparative Folklore at the University of Tartu Institute of Cultural Research and directs since 2017 the international master’s programme Folkloristics and Applied Heritage Studies. She earned her doctorate in Comparative Studies in 2012 at The Ohio State University with a dissertation that used ethnographic methods to explore nationalism, ethnicity, and integration in post-Soviet Estonia. She continues to be interested in ethnic interactions, minorities, and diversity, paying particular attention to intersections of official discourses and quotidian practices as well as to exclusions and inclusions involving cultural heritage. She was the principal investigator of Estonian Research Council’s start-up grant “Performative negotiations of belonging in contemporary Estonia” (2018–2021) and in 2022 participated in the University of Helsinki project “Transnational Memory Cultures of Ingrian Finns: A Comparative Perspective on the Dynamics of Personal and Cultural Remembrance” (PI Ulla Savolainen), conducting research on Ingrian Finns in Estonia and their cultural autonomy. She is also involved in the project “Re-storied Sites and Routes as Inclusive Spaces and Places: Shared Imaginations and Multi-layered Heritage” (PI Ülo Valk).

Dr. Seljamaa is intrigued by relationships between ethnographic and artistic research, enjoys writing about contemporary art and has curated art exhibitions in Estonia and Germany. In 2020, she co-curated an exhibition where art and anthropology students collaborated to explore the village of Käsmu, a popular holiday destination since the 19th century. She is the incoming co-editor of the journal Narrative Culture and co-editor of the Lexington Books series Studies in Folklore and Ethnology: Traditions, Practices, and Identities.

During the summer semester of 2023, thanks to funding from DAAD, Dr. Seljamaa was a guest professor at Göttingen University, where she taught courses on politics and performative practices, top-down / bottom-up integration, Ethnographic research and artistic research.