Howard Sklar, PhD

University Lecturer

Department of Modern Languages (English Philology)

University of Helsinki


Title of Docent in Literary Studies, with a Special Emphasis in Narrative Theory (University of Tampere)

A little bit about me...

I am a University Lecturer in the Department of Modern Languages (English Philology Unit) at the University of Helsinki. Among the courses that I have taught, am teaching, or am scheduled to teach:


· “The Good Fight: Social and Political Activism in the American Short Story” (a year-long “proseminar,” involving the preparation and writing of students’ BA theses)

· “Ethical Approaches to American Short Fiction” (proseminar)

· “20th Century American Drama” (proseminar)

· “The Migrant Experience in American Literature” (intermediate/advanced option in literature)

· Introduction to American Literature” (large lecture course, requirement for the BA)

· Fiction, Ethics and the Significance of Reading” (an advanced option course in literature)

· Reading Other Minds” (advanced option in literature)

· Disability Studies and Literature” (advanced option in literature)

· “Teaching Secondary School English” (advanced option course in applied linguistics/teaching line)

· Fiction and the Emotions” (advanced option in literature)

· “The King James Bible as Literature and Literary Influence” (intermediate option in literature)

· Academic Writing

· Literature Tutorial (introduction to the study of literature)

· Book examinations in “Narrative Ethics and Fiction” and “Disability Studies and Literature”


Until August 2013, I was a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Modern Languages (English Philology Unit) at the University of Helsinki. My research project, with the working title “Stories of the ‘Intellectually Disabled’: An Investigation of Narratives Representing People with Intellectual Disabilities and Their Effects on Non-Disabled Adolescent Readers,” was funded by the Academy of Finland and the University of Helsinki. The research, which I am continuing while teaching at the University of Helsinki, involves an examination of the ways that narratives—in fiction, film, autobiography, graphic novels, and interviews—represent people with intellectual disabilities.  For a more detailed description of the project, see the Postdoctoral Research” page on this website.


In 2013, my book, The Art of Sympathy in Fiction: Forms of Ethical and Emotional Persuasion, was published in the Linguistic Approaches to Literature series of John Benjamins Publishing Company. My essays have appeared in Poetics Today, Storyworlds: A Journal of Narrative Studies, Partial Answers, and the Journal of Literary and Cultural Disability Studies, among other publications (see the C.V. link to the left for a complete list of publications).


In 2009, I edited a special issue of Helsinki English Studies, the electronic journal of the Department of English at the University of Helsinki, with the theme “Emotions: Implications for Literary, Linguistic, and Translation Studies” (see the link on the homepage of this website).


I completed my PhD in 2008 through the Department of English (now the English Philology Unit) at the University of Helsinki.  The title of my dissertation was The Art of Sympathy: Forms of Moral and Emotional Persuasion in Fiction, upon which my 2013 book was based.


Aside from my post at the University of Helsinki, I am also a Docent (Adjunct Professor) in Literary Studies, with a Special Emphasis on Narrative Theory, at the University of Tampere, Finland.


In addition to my university-related work, I was a teacher of English in the public schools of Espoo, Finland, and of California from 1987 to 2011.


I can be reached at