Projects and Funding

Instrumental Narratives: The Limits of Storytelling and New Story-Critical Narrative Theory (Funded by the Academy of Finland: Falke, Partner: 2018-2022) 

Instrumental Narratives: The Limits of Storytelling and New Story-Critical Narrative Theory  develops ideas and analytical tools that will equip researchers, professional groups and non-academic audiences to navigate today's social and textual environments that are dominated by storytelling. We put contemporary literary fiction in dialogue with the manipulative stories that spread around the internet, in order to reveal the dubious relationship that some narratives have with identity, truth, politics, and complex systems such as climate change. In order to confront these issues, we reveal the sophisticated story-critical ideas and techniques offered by works of contemporary fiction. A full description of the project is available here


Phenomenology of the Broken Body  (Dahl, Eriksen, and Falke: 2017-2019)

This project began with a one-day seminar of international scholars and local health professionals, focusing phenomenology´s ability to help rethink experiences of illness, pain, weakness and incapacitation. Some fundamental aspects of the lived body only become evident when it breaks down.Whereas classical accounts of the lived body, such as those by Husserl and Merleau-Ponty, take the normal functioning body as their given starting point, this project did the opposite, interrogating how the body is given when normal functions are threatened or lost. Through exposing phenomenology to the suffering, weak, vulnerable or otherwise broken body, phenomenology is itself put to the test by its own means, being driven to question the adequacy of its preunderstanding of the body.

Following the seminar, more scholars joined the project, and an essay collection was published in 2019. Thirteen scholars specializing in philosophy, theology, literature, and health science contributed. Although they take brokenness as a shared starting point, the essays emphasize the body’s surprising powers of recovery and adaption to restrained conditions. More information in the collection may be found here.


Interpreting Violence: Narrative, Ethics and Hermeneutics (Funded by the Joint Committee for the Nordic Research Councils in the Humanities and Social Sciences: Falke, Primary Investigator: 2018-2019)

Interpreting Violence: Narrative, Ethics, and Hermeneutics promotes new research on ethics in relation to the narrative form of literature, film and journalism portraying violence, particularly violence performed with political or symbolic goals such as war and terrorism. At every stage of interpretation - initiation, narrativization, reading or viewing - the violent act becomes part of systems of meaning that make future violence more or less justified and therefore more or less possible. Our project consolidates cutting edge approaches to interpreting violence that are being articulated within literary and media studies, intellectual history, philosophy, psychology and theology through two workshops with twenty-four junior and senior scholars and encourages new interdisciplinary approaches to interpreting violence with the goal of disrupting the often unquestioned interpretive acts used to justify violence. A full description of the project is available here


Reading and Responsibility: Interpreting Political Violence in Contemporary Historical Fiction and Memoir (Falke Initiating 2023)

Globalization has resulted in two inter-related phenomena: an upsurge of literature portraying political violence from the last sixty years and a growing awareness that our political and economic interconnectedness implies new responsibilities for victims of political violence elsewhere in the world. Reading and Responsibility investigates new forms of historical fiction and memoir that present local events of political violence as a global responsibility, situating new works in a longer history of both genres. The project connects these new literary works to recent philosophical revisions of subjectivity and ethics that take account of our global connectedness and will ultimately provide both an account of the unique kind of historical knowledge readers gain from reading historical fiction and memoir and new ethics of reading for a globalizing world.