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ERC researcher wins Nils Klim Prize

In recognition of her outstanding contributions to research in the humanities and social sciences, Elisa Uusimäki, principal investigator of the ANINAN project funded by the European Research Council (ERC), is the 2022 winner of the Nils Klim Prize.

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On 14 March, the University of Bergen in Norway announced that Elisa Katariina Uusimäki is the winner of this year’s prestigious Nils Klim Prize that is awarded annually to a young Nordic researcher (under the age of 35) who has made an outstanding contribution to research in the humanities, social sciences, law or theology. An accomplished scholar of the literary and cultural history of Judaism in antiquity, Uusimäki has published on wisdom literature and ethical discourses. In her wide-ranging research, she moves between the Dead Sea Scrolls, early Jewish writings and Hellenistic philosophy, combining the insights emerging from these varied sources in a highly original fashion. Uusimäki has already published close to 40 peer-reviewed articles, co-edited three books, and written two monographs: ‘Turning Proverbs towards Torah: An Analysis of 4Q525’ (2016), and ‘Lived Wisdom in Jewish Antiquity: Studies in Exercise and Exemplarity’ (2021). She has received several awards and grants, including a recent ERC Starting Grant for the ANINAN project (An Intersectional Analysis of Ancient Jewish Travel Narratives). She is studying how human mobility was perceived and/or imagined in Jewish antiquity, including its agents, motives and outcomes. By shedding light on the power dynamics of ancient Israelite/Jewish travel accounts, the project results are expected to reveal striking intersectional concerns, highlighting the complexity of human phenomena such as mobility. One key aspect of the project is that the narratives also illustrate encounters between the Israelites/Jews and “others”, which results in a new understanding of cultural interaction in the ancient eastern Mediterranean. “Her research topics and her ways of coming to grips with them also relate in significant ways to contemporary global concerns,” reads Uusimäki’s Nils Klim Prize nomination letter. “She has worked in the areas of wisdom studies, descriptive ethics, and cultural interaction, addressing issues such as lived ancient religion, gender, intersectionality, social hierarchy, enslavement, and several aspects of mobility. Recently she has also turned her attention to women’s journeys, the impact of plagues, and travel-related anxieties.” Described as an outstanding scientist, Uusimäki joins a list of Nils Klim Prize laureates. The list includes Danish media theorist Claes de Vreese, Norwegian political scientist Francesca Refsum Jensenius and Finnish sociologist Anne Birgitta. The Nils Klim Prize (worth NOK 500 000 (approximately EUR 50 000)) was established by the Norwegian Parliament in 2003 and is awarded annually to a scholar under the age of 35, from/in a Nordic country, for outstanding contributions to research in the humanities, social sciences, law or theology, either in one of these academic fields or through interdisciplinary work. For more information, please see: ANINAN project web page

Keywords

ANINAN, Nils Klim Prize, European Research Council, ERC, humanities, social sciences, wisdom studies, cultural history, intersectionality

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