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Visions of Empire in Russia’s Western Periphery

Duration: 2017 - ongoing

Project leader: Susanna Rabow-Edling | Project page

When the Finnish part of the Swedish realm was ceded to Russia in 1809, the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland was formed. This meant that Finland became part of a vast empire, stretching from the Åland Islands to Alaska, which had important implications for the development of the country and for the opportunities and imaginings of its inhabitants. In fact, the Russian era was to become a very important century in Finnish history when the conditions for modern Finland were created.

From the 1830s, Finnish people started to benefit from this vast realm. They played a major role in the colonization of Alaska, in the Russian-American company, and in the whale fishery in the Pacific. This experience influenced notions of Finland’s relationship to the Empire and to the rest of the world. This project investigates how these imperial experiences, which were linked to Finland’s self-image and to conceptions of modernization, were expressed in Finnish culture from 1809 to 1867, when Alaska was sold to the United States. I am interested in the dreams and visions that this colony sparked in Finland and its impact on the creation of an imperial identity. What image of the colony and the empire was conveyed in its western periphery? How was Finland’s own role in relation to the colony and the empire’s civilizing mission in the new world portrayed?

Police, Experts and Race: Handling the "Gypsy Plague" in Denmark, Sweden and Latvia, 1930-1945

Duration: 2016 - 2018

Project leader: Matthew Kott | Project page (coming soon)

Laboratories of Marketization: A Historical Reassessment of Economic Reforms at the Soviet Union´s Western Fringes, 1987-1991

Duration: 1 October 2014 - 30 September 2017

Project leader: Fredrik Stöcker | Project page

This project reassesses the dynamics of economic reform in the Baltics and Ukraine during perestroika. Focusing on the cooperation between reform-minded bureaucrats, private entrepreneurs and Western advisors and investors, the project aims at uncovering the various mechanisms that lay behind the development of ‘embryonic capitalisms’ in the western Soviet borderlands.

Historical and contemporary extremism in Latvia in a regional context

Duration: 2012 - ongoing

Project leader: Matthew Kott | Project page (coming soon)

Nazi networks and politics before, during, and after World War II

Duration: 2012 - ongoing

Project leader: Matthew Kott | Project page (coming soon)