Jenni Lehtinen
Assistant Professor
Office Phone:
(70) 5784

Research Interest

Latin American literature, culture, and history
Cultural Studies (especially screen adaptations and soap operas)
Theories of Nationhood

Selected Publications
Courses Offered

Dr. Jenni Lehtinen is an Assistant Professor of World Languages and Literatures in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Nazarbayev University.

Dr. Lehtinen obtained her doctorate in Latin American Literature from Wolfson College, University of Oxford in 2011. She also has a Master of Studies degree in European Literature from Wadham College, University of Oxford and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and History from Queen Mary, University of London. Before joining NU she tutored and lectured at the University of Oxford and worked as a Teaching Fellow at the University of Exeter.

Although born in Finland, Dr. Lehtinen has spent most of her life in Spain and the United Kingdom. She speaks English, Spanish, Swedish, and Finnish. Altogether, Dr. Lehtinen considers herself as a citizen of the world rather than as a representative of any specific country.

Dr. Lehtinen is passionate about all things Latin American and Caribbean and hopes to introduce her NU students to the fascinating and heterogeneous culture of that part of the world. On her free time she enjoys travelling, discovering new writers, watching Pedro Almodóvar movies, and practicing Yoga.


Dr. Lehtinen´s doctoral studies were funded by the prestigious Arts and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Award. Her doctoral dissertation offered the first full-length study of the Venezuelan politician and educator Rómulo Gallegos’s later novels, Canaima (1935), Pobre negro (1937), and Sobre la misma tierra (1943). By combining close-readings organized around national allegory and narrative structure with discussions about Gallegos’s socio-political essays, her dissertation provided a bold reinterpretation of developments in Gallegos´s ideologies. Dr. Lehtinen´s doctoral dissertation has been selected for publication by the Modern Humanities Research Association and will appear as a monograph by the end of 2012, under the title Narrative and National Allegory in Rómulo Gallegos’s Venezuela.

Currently, Dr. Lehtinen is working on a post-doctoral project, which explores how Gallegos’s seminal novel Doña Bárbara (1929) lives on in the collective imagination of Latin Americans as a result of numerous film and telenovela adaptations. The project aims to determine how the national concerns of early twentieth-century Venezuela speak to Latin American audiences generally, transcending time and place.

Dr. Lehtinen is particularly interested in the ‘after-life’ of canonical literary works in the era of visual cultures. Her research engages with theories of post-colonialism, nationhood, gender, and viewer response.


Dr. Lehtinen teaches Cultural Studies, Latin American Literature, and Spanish Language. She is currently building NU´s Spanish-language program, which will begin to operate in August 2013.

Honours and Awards

  1. Seed Grant for writing a monograph on screen adaptations of Rómulo Gallegos’s Doña Bárbara, Nazarbayev University, June 2013-June 2015
  2. Stipendary Lectureship in Spanish, Magdalen College, University of Oxford, January-April 2012
  3. Abbey-Santander Academic Travel Award, for a research trip to Caracas, Venezuela, 2009
  4. Arts and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Award, 2008-2011
  5. Norman-Hargreaves Scholarship for Doctoral Studies in Spanish, Wolfson College, University of Oxford, 2007-2008
  6. Queen Mary, University of London Long-vacation scholarship to King’s College, University of Cambridge, July 2003