Aleksi Huhta, 27 March 2020 – CANCELED

(Canceled for new, new date TBA)

Emigrants for Empire: The Planning of Finnish Settler Colonies in British and American Imperial Borderlands, 1899–1905

Topelia A 109 (‘Russian Room’), 4-6 pm

In 1899, as Russification policies in Finland intensified, Finnish nationalists started to plan overseas settler colonies for Finns fleeing the Russian repression. They saw North America and Australia as especially suitable places of settlement. In planning these colonies, the Finnish activists cooperated with and relied on the support of diverse private and governmental actors in the British Empire and the United States. However, the motives of the British and Americans in encouraging Finnish settlement did not always align with those of the Finnish nationalists. This presentation examines the connections between political activists, private companies, and British and American governmental authorities in the planning of these Finnish settler colonies at the turn of the twentieth century. By combining insights from migration and imperial histories, the presentation explores the connections between Finnish migration history and the politics of empire in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The presentation is part of my Academy of Finland funded project, “Finnish-American Radicalism in a World of Empires” (2019–2022), which is implemented at the University of Helsinki’s Department of Culture (North American Studies).

Frog, 14 February 2020

Constructing the Folk Cultural Sphere: Agency, Media and Authority

Topelia, A 109, 4pm


This paper explores the dynamics of agency, media and authority in the maintenance and construction of the folk cultural sphere – i.e. a society’s generalized perception and understanding of traditional culture. The phenomenon is explored through a series of cases, organized more or less chronologically, beginning the with medieval manuscript technologies and Snorri Sturluson’s Edda, followed by print and textual representations of Sámi in the seventeenth and eighteenth century, a living ethnographic exhibition of Sámi in the nineteenth century, current fieldwork documenting Rotenese and Tetun traditions in Indonesia, and, finally, a community-driven living ethnographic exhibition of a so-called tourist village on the island of Java. The final discussion takes an overview of the perspectives gained from the individual cases to consider their broader implications.