The Land of Hope. University students’ travelogues during the age of autonomy
Finland was an autonomous Grand Duchy in the Russian Empire during the years 1808–1917. At this time nationalism as well as other ideologies reached Finland from Europe, which strengthened the willingness to change both in society and on a governmental level. The Fennoman movement, which was a movement focusing both on language and on nationalism, became the core of the Finnish self-perception. The goal was to define Finland as a coherent and separate country in relation to its neighbouring countries. Collecting folk poems and learning to know one’s home country became essential. People saw the Kalevala poems as a way to understand and define the Finnish identity and the history of the Finnish people.
Especially young people with a background in academia were intrigued by these ideas. University students collected poems all over the Grand Duchy of Finland as well as in the Russian part of Carelia, in Sweden, Norway and in Ingria. Students who collected these folk poems also wrote travelogues about their travels and all this material was handed over to The Finnish Literature Society. These documents are unique and there has not been much research done on them, especially with the focus on how the young academic generation during the age of autonomy defined their home country, their national self-perception, themselves and the commoners living in the rural parts of the country.
This book reviews travelogues written by one hundred university students who travelled in the country collecting folk poems during 1836–1917. The book offers insight into how the students described Finland and what it meant to be Finnish. Travelogues can be defined as a sort of hybrid of texts. They consist of a mixture of letters, journals, biographical texts and travel books. Consequently, the image that the students depict of Finland is in this study based upon research perspectives and methods used in textual research, oral history and travel literature. The travelogues written by students previously evoked the interest of researchers who mainly studied certain traits of poem collectors, tradition bearers or poems. However, the travelogues contain plenty of information about the lives of the people who lived in the areas where the poems were collected.
The descriptions of Finland in the travelogues do not represent the “real” 19th century Finland, but instead it is a story written and created by university students. The characteristics that are presented in The Land of Hope are based on how the intelligentsia perceived “real” Finnishness as opposed to the uneducated commoners living in the rural parts of the country. The most notable themes in the travelogues are the state and the future of the society and of being Finnish. Another theme is the otherization of those who were uneducated commoners. These themes describe the fears and hopes that university students had about Finland. They also show us that the travelogues were ideological texts about Finland and Finnishness that united the collectors of folk poetry.
This book studies the collection of folk poetry in the context of the ideologies during the age of autonomy and it explains what the collection of poems meant and who were involved in it. Furthermore, the book gives an insight into the possibilities to pursue academic studies and it also presents the most essential sources of students’ knowledge about Finland at that point of time.Book Details
The Nature of Words. Writings on the Poetics and Environments of Vernacular Expression
In recent decades, the focus of Folklore Studies has shifted from analysing the products of oral traditions as texts to examining the ways in which people use and produce these items, and the areas of study have broadened to include vernacular cultures and genres in diverse verbal and material forms. As evident from the introduction and twelve chapters of this collection, these interests are today shared by several disciplines that cooperate in the area of cultural studies. This book provides insights into current questions about the “nature” of words: it discusses both the inherent essence of vernacular expression and how that essence is tied to various genre-ecological, performative, and material environments. The chapters include studies on the poetics, form, function, performance, and composition of traditional and new vernacular forms, including explorations of hybridity, materiality, and change, as well as critical examinations of archival practices and publication processes.Book Details
This collection of thirteen chapters answers new questions about rhyme, with views from folklore, ethnopoetics, the history of literature, literary criticism and music criticism, psychology and linguistics. The book examines rhyme as practiced or as understood in English, Old English and Old Norse, German, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish and Karelian, Estonian, Medieval Latin, Arabic, and the Central Australian language Kaytetye. Some authors examine written poetry, including modernist poetry, and others focus on various kinds of sung poetry, including rap, which now has a pioneering role in taking rhyme into new traditions. Some authors consider the relation of rhyme to other types of form, notably alliteration. An introductory chapter discusses approaches to rhyme, and ends with a list of languages whose literatures or song traditions are known to have rhyme.Book Details
Why the Kalevala and not the Kanteletar? The Kalevala Society’s 101st Yearbook maps the processes of canonizing and marginalizing in traditions, cultural heritage and literature by focusing on the fringes of cultural ideals and norms. How and using which criteria have researchers, artists and materials of cultural production been lifted up or pushed aside? What kind of nations would have emerged if writing the nation had rested on the alternatives: the marginal rather than the canonical genres? A look into the blind spots and fringes of culture and research reveals the endless movement in and between hierarchically positioned spheres of culture. Listening to margins changes not only the canon but also the idea of canon.Book Details
The Place of Research on Memory-Based Knowledge. Theories, Practices and Change
The volume is a comprehensive handbook of oral history and memory studies in Finland. The Finnish research field has originally emerged at the collaborative intersection of history, folklore studies, and ethnology. Since then, this field has developed into vibrant multi- and cross-disciplinary arena characterized by a strong focus on methodological issues related to memory in culture and theoretical engagement with studies on narration and processes of remembering. The chapters of the book explore the perspectives on the production of memory-based knowledge in oral history interviews and collection campaigns of written reminiscences. Moreover, the book introduces versatile methodological approaches to the study of memory and memories, ranging from narrative to corpus analysis, and investigates the multiple media of remembrance from documentary film to museum exhibition. The chapters of the book also engage the field’s disciplinary position and interrogate the potentials and challenges related to the application of the methods of oral history research and the use of memory-based knowledge beyond academia in political, societal, and community-based projects.Book Details
The effects of globalization and the momentous changes to the political map of Europe have led to a world in which multiculturalism and ethnic differences have become issues of increasing importance. In Nordic countries, relationships between new immigrants, local ethnic groups and majorities are created in ongoing and sometimes heated discussions. In transforming multicultural societies, folklore has taken on new manifestations and meanings. How can folklore studies illuminate the present cultural, political and historical changes?
"Creating Diversities. Folklore, Religion and the Politics of Heritage", edited by Anna-Leena Siikala, Barbro Klein and Stein R. Mathisen, seeks answers to this question. It emphasizes two important factors in the cultural and political exchanges among historical minorities, recent immigrants, and the majority groups dictating the conditions of these exchanges. The first factor is religion, which is a powerful tool in the construction of ethnic selves and in the establishment of boundaries between groups. The second factor is the role of national and regional folklore archives and ethnographic and cultural historical museums which create ideas and images of minorities. These representations, created in different political climates, affect the general understanding of the people depicted.
Fifteen well-known folklorists and ethnographers from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia and the United States offer insights and background material on these problems. In addition to immigrants and ethnic minorities in the Nordic countries, especially the Sámi, examples are sought from among the Finno-Ugrian minorities in Russia and the Nordic population in North America.Book Details
How do people tell of experiences, things and events that mean a lot to them and are unforgettable? Eight Nordic folklorists here examine personal experience stories and the way they are narrated in an attempt to gain an understanding of the people behind them and to reveal how these people handle their history, their lives and their cultural memory. All the articles are based on interviews and narrator-researcher collaboration. The stories tell about birth, sickness and miraculous cures, intergenerational relations, war, and matters not normally talked about. The analyses complement one another and the work may be used as a university course book.Book Details
Lying on the border between eastern and western Christendom, Orthodox Karelia preserved its unique religious culture into the 19th and 20th centuries, when it was described and recorded by Finnish and Karelian folklore collectors. This colorful array of ritulas and beliefs involving nature spirits, saints, the dead, and pilgrimage to monasteries represented a unigue fusion of official Church ritual and doctrine and pre-Christian ethnic folk belief. This book undertakes a fascinating exploration into many aspects of Orthodox Karelian ritual life: beliefs in supernatural forces, folk models of illness, body concepts, divination, holy icons, the role of the ritual specialist and healer, the divide between nature and culture, images of forest, the cult of the dead, and the popular image of monasteries and holy hermits. It will appeal to anyone interested in popular religion, the cognitive study of religion, ritual studies, medical anthropology, and the folk traditions and symbolism of the Balto-Finnic peoples.Book Details