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Dr. Karina Horsti


University of Jyväskylä, Finnland


Dr. Karina Horsti is a lecturer in cultural policy at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. Her research focuses on media, culture, and migration. She has examined cultural representations of refugees, multicultural media policies, anti-immigration communication, memorialization of border deaths, and witnessing and surviving Europe’s fatal borders. She collaborates with museums, refugees, and artists and uses multimodal methods in her research practice.

During her visit she will present and discuss her forthcoming book Survival and Witness at Europe’s Border: Afterlives of a Disaster (Cornell University Press). The book examines mediated representation and memorialization of migrant deaths at Europe’s borders and argues that attention to survival can envision a way forward from the present situation. It focuses on different types of witnesses and how their responses and engagement with representation and memorialization shape the afterlives of border deaths. Horsti will also present results of research project Deportation in a Mediated Society which examines how deportations of asylum seekers who received negative decisions affect communities in Finland.

Teaching (list of courses)

Media and globalization, International Master’s degree program in Cultural Policy, University of Jyväskylä, fall 2015, fall 2014, fall 2013, 5 ECTS, in English.

ERASMUS lectures, Sociology of Culture and Communication, Department of Sociology, University of Bologna, fall 2014.

Master’s thesis seminars, International Master’s degree program in Cultural Policy, University of Jyväskylä, fall and spring 2013, 5 ECTS, in Finnish and English.

Kansainvälinen kulttuuripolitiikka II, (International Cultural Policy II), International Master’s degree program in Cultural Policy, University of Jyväskylä, spring 2013, 5 ECTS, in Finnish.

Media and identity, Department of Media, Culture and Communication, New York University, spring 2012, 5 credits.

Current research projects:

  • Deportation in a Mediated Society: Economies of Affect in the Aftermath of the Refugee Reception Crisis,  2019 –  2022 (Academy of Finland, project leader: Karina Horsti, team: Dr. Päivi Pirkkalainen, Dr. Saara Pellander, Dr. Noora Kotilainen)
    • This project examines social relationships and emotions in the context of mediation of society. It takes a novel perspective to deportation by examining how deportations potentially also shape the society of deportation: the citizens’ sense of belonging and trust to the nation

  • Remembering Migration: Memory politics of forced migration in mediated societies, 2014 - 2019 (Academy of Finland, project leader: Karina Horsti)  
    • Mediterranean sea is a border zone where thousands of people have drowned in the past 20 years. My present project examines how contemporary forced migration and border related deaths are publicly remembered in Europe—and what kinds of implications memory performances have for social equality and cultural identities.
  • Remembering the Tragedy of Lampedusa: radical participation in documentary film making, 2017 - 2019 (Kone foundation, project leader: Karina Horsti, team: MA, film maker Anna Blom, Phd student Ilaria Tucci, refugee activist Adal Neguse)
    • This participatory documentary film project examines the constitution of national and diasporic memory by focusing on the memories of one shipwreck, the so-called Tragedy of Lampedusa of 3rd October 2013. We produce five short documentary films designed to be shared in social media and in mobile devices. In addition, the project develops and analyzes participatory methods in film making. Artistic and scholarly work entangle in this project, which develops a radical participatory method in both research and cultural production.

Recent publications

Short essays:

2021 The Slow Violence of Deportability, Border Criminologies

2019 Atlas of Transitions, #3: Psychogeographies of Lampedusa

2018 Ilmiö - sosiologinen media kaikille: Miksi siirtolaisten kuolema esitetään numeroina?

2017 National Gallery of Victoria 2017 Triennial Catalogue: Mapping the fatal borders of Europe, pp. 32 - 34.

2017 Inside Story: It's Hard to Put a Lid on the World. Candice Breitz’s compelling video installation, and its renaming, has been met with an unsettling silence at the 2017 National Gallery of Victoria Triennial (co-authored with Klaus Neumann).

2017 Refugees Deeply: On Arctic Border, Refugees Embraced by 'Northern Hospitality'

2017 Border Criminologies, Oxford University: The Memory Politics of Migration at Borderscapes

2017 OpenDemocracy: Unjust to everyone? Responses to deportation of asylum seekers in Finland.

2015 Border Criminologies, Oxford University: Remains of Rescue and Confinement: Humanitarian Bordering in Lampedusa

 Recent scientific publications (request a copy of my publications: karina.horsti@jyu.fi)

 2021 ”Performance of memory: testimonies of survival and rescue at Europe's border” in J. Schimanski & J. Nyman (eds.) Border Images, Border Narratives, Manchester University Press, 225 – 241. Co-authored with Ilaria Tucci.

2021 “The role of social media in the rise of right-wing populism in Finland” in H. Tumber & S. Waisbord (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Media Disinformation and Populism. London: Routledge, 376 – 385. Co-authored with Tuija Saresma.

2021 “Luonnonvoimat Välimerellä: metaforat, kartat ja pakolaisuus” in J. Laine & N. Kotilainen (eds.) Muuttoliikkeet murroksessa. Helsinki: Into.

2021 “The slow violence of deportability” in M. Husso et. al (eds.) Violence, Gender and Affect: Interpersonal, Institutional and Ideological Practices, Cham: Palgrave, 181 – 200, co-authored with Päivi Pirkkalainen.

2021 ”Performance of memory: testimonies of survival and rescue at Europe's border” in J. Schimanski and J. Nyman (eds.) Border Images, Border Narratives, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 225 – 24, co-authored with Ilaria Tucci.

2020 “ Mourning missing migrants: Ambiguous loss and the grief of strangers” in P. Cuttitta and T. Last (eds.) Border Deaths: Causes, Dynamics and Consequences of Migration-related Mortality. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 103 – 116, co-authored with Giorgia Mirto, Simon Robins, Pamela J. Prickett, Deborah Ruiz Verduzco and Victor Toom.

2020 “Digital materialities in diasporic mourning of migrant death”, European Journal of Communication, 22(2): 231–244.

2019 ”Refracting the analytical gaze: Studying media representations of migrant death at the border.” In K. Smets, K. Leurs, M. Georgiou, S. Witteborn and R. Gajjala (eds) Sage Handbook on Media and Migration, London: Sage, pp. 142–155.

2019 ”Transnational mediated commemoration of migrant deaths at the borders of Europe” in J. Retis and R. Tsagarousianou (eds.) The Handbook of Diasporas, Media, and Culture, Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, pp. 193–206.

2019 ”Temporality in cosmopolitan solidarity: Archival activism and participatory documentary film as mediated witnessing of suffering at Europe’s borders.” European Journal of Cultural Studies, 22(2): 231–244.

2019 “Refugee testimonies enacted: Voice and solidarity in media art installations.” Popular Communication, 17(2): 125–139.

2019 ”Memorializing mass deaths at the border: two cases from Canberra (Australia) and Lampedusa (Italy).Ethnic and Racial Studies, 42(2): 141–158, co-authored with Klaus Neumann.

2019 ”Witnessing the experience of European bordering: watching the documentary Under den samme himmel in an immigration detention center.” International Journal of Cultural Studies, 22(1): 86–101.

2018 “Live free or die motionless: Walking the migrant path from Italy to France.” Cultural Studies Review, 24(2): 56–66.

2018 ”Anti-racism from the margins: Welcoming refugees at Schengen’s northernmost border.” In P. Hervik (ed.) Racialization, Racism and Anti-racism in the Nordic Countries. Basingstoke: Palgrave, co-authored with Carolina Boe, pp. 183–202.

2018 “Humanitarismi ja rajaspektaakkelin materiaaliset jäljet: siirtolaisten hylätyt esineet museoissa.” In M. Maasilta and K. Nikunen (eds.) Pakolaisuus, tunteet ja media. Tampere: Vastapaino, pp. 168 – 196.

2017 ”Communicative memory of irregular migration: the re-circulation of news images on YouTube.” Memory Studies, 10(2): 112–129.2017 ”Digital islamophobia: The Swedish woman as a figure of pure and dangerous whiteness.” New Media & Society, 19(9): 1440–1457.

2016 ”Imagining Europe’s borders: Commemorative art on migrant tragedies.” In L. Mannik (ed.) Migration by Boat: Discourses of Trauma, Exclusion and Survival, Oxford: Berghahn, pp. 83–100.

2016 ”Visibility without voice: Media witnessing irregular migrants in BBC online news journalism.” African Journalism Studies (Ecquid Novi), 37(1): 1–20.