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Kristi Viiding studied Estonian language, literature, and classical philology at the University of Tartu, where she earned her PhD in classical philology in 2002. From 1996–2017 she was a faculty member in classical philology at the University of Tartu, and professor there from 2012–2017. Since 2017 she has been working as senior researcher, since 2023 as research professor at the Under and Tuglas Literature Centre of the Estonian Academy of Sciences, and since 2018 she has been general secretary of the International Association for Neo-Latin Studies, IANLS. In addition, since 2023 she has been a member of the Estonian Research Council`s evaluation committee and from 2023–2030 the external expert for for the publishing committee for Paul Fleming`s works in Latin and German.
Kristi Viidingʼs primary areas of research are literature in Latin in the Baltic region the early modern period, the emergence of secular written Estonian language in the 17th century and Latin epigraphics in the Baltic region. Since 2001 she has headed ETF, EKKM, and PUT grant projects. In 2014–2018 she participated as the Estonian representative in the international COST project, “Reassembling the Republic of Letters, 1500–1800: A Digital Framework for Multi-Lateral Collaboration on Europe’s Intellectual History”. From 2023–2027 she is the lead research fellow in the research project “Connections, transition, change: nobilitas haereditaria ac litteraria in the emergence of early modern literature in Polish and Swedish Livonia” (PRG1926).
She has published more than 100 scholarly articles, translated from classical, medieval and Neo-Latin into Estonian (Tacitus “On the Origin and Settlement of the Germanic peoples”; Livy “From the Founding of the City”; “Deeds of the Romans”, and 17th century print sources on the founding of the University of Tartu), and from German into Estonian (Martin Klökerʼs monograph about the literary life in Reval in the first half of the 17th century).
In 2007 the main prize of the Literature Foundation of the Estonian Cultural capital was bestowed on Kristi Viidingʼs research group for the compilation of an anthology of 17th century occasional poetry in Tartu (“O Dorpat, urbs addictissima musis… Valik 17. sajandi Tartu juhuluulet”).