Cultural encounters, mobilities and borders

History of the establishment of the University of Eastern Finland (UEF)

The aim of the project is to write a realistic description of how UEF was born, with all kinds of feelings. New aspects introduced by the establishment process for research and education also contribute an important part of the book.

Contact person: Mikko Kohvakka, mikkko(at)

The Finnish Army as adopter of German tactical innovation 1916–1940

In this case study it is examined in what way the storm troop tactics, the major German military innovation, was spread and rooted in the Finnish armed forces during the interwar period, and how it was used in the encirclement battles waged in the Winter War (1939–1940). The phenomenon is placed in its larger context i.e. the development of European military art of the early 20thcentury. The conceptual framework draws from the theories of diffusion of innovations. The project is a personal research of Pasi Tuunainen. It continues through 2018–2020 and has received partial funding from private foundations.  

Contact person: Pasi Tuunainen, pasi.tuunainen(at)

The Dynamics of Identity in a Border Region: The Case of Georgian Azeri-Turks of Kvemo Kartli

Karli Storm's above-named doctoral research project examines the formation, reformation, and negotiation of collective identity among Georgian Azeri-Turks, most of whom have centuries-long ties to territories in present day Georgia. Each of the articles addresses themes and questions central to the process of identity (re)formation, bringing together macro-scalar analyses with more localized, "micro-level" encounters with official narratives of national identity. Storm uses original data obtained from four fieldwork periods between 2016-2018 involving interviews, questionnaires, participant observation, and landscape analysis alongside discourse and content analysis of local news and social media sources, official speeches, and government publications in Azerbaijani, English, Georgian, and Russian languages to inform her research. Storm expects to publically defend her dissertation in 2019. 

Contact person: Karli Storm, karli.storm(at)

Images and Attributes of Enemies in Pre-Revolutionary Russia

The aim is to find out how images of (myt)historical, hostile ”others” have been used in the construction of the collective ideas of Rus’/Russia and Russianness, as well as setting Russia geopolitically in time and space at each given time. The primary material of the project at hand consists of representations of conflicts from the Middle Ages to the Revolution of 1917, and it aims to shed light not just on Russian developments, but also on universal processes of enemy image formation, as well as their relations to history politics and the formation and maintenance of collective identities.

Contact person: Kati Parppei, kati.parppei(at)

Living Border. Ecotourism and History Politics of the Conservation Areas in the Finnish-Russian-Norwegian Border Region) [GreenZoneProject]  

The GreenZoneProject is a geo-historical research project focused on the historical sites and conservation areas between the Finnish-Russian-Norwegian border region, that is, the Fennoscandian Green Belt Region. The PI of this three and half-year environmental history project (2017‒2020) is professor Maria Lähteenmäki and it is funded by the Kone Foundation.

Contact person: Maria Lähteenmäki, maria.lahteenmaki(at)

Winter warfare through the ages

In this military geographical project the impact of northern winter on warfare is analyzed. The aim is to advance our understanding on how armies have prevailed from the Medieval times to World War II in winter conditions typical in the border regions of Nordic countries. How Finnish winter-related military know-how has accumulated and what have been the core enablers behind successful art of winter warfare? Moreover, it is examined how environmental factors have been incorporated in Finnish doctrine and training. The project is a personal research of Pasi Tuunainen. It continues through 2016–2019 and has received partial funding from private foundations.   

Contact person: Pasi Tuunainen, pasi.tuunainen(at)

Transnational mobility and crises in the European North 1939–1945

Transnational mobility and crises in the European North is a multi-disciplinary, especially geohistorical, research project that concentrates on the developments in the Northern Calotte Region Region during the Second World War. The Project is divided into two sub-projects: “German cross-border mobility and the public discussion concerning it in Northern Finland and Northern Norway 1941–1945” by MA, doctoral student Anne Pitkänen and “Arctic warfare along the Soviet-Finnish border 1939–1944” by PhD, Adjunct Professor Pasi Tuunainen, who is also the head of the project. The research is based on a wide array of sources deposited at various Finnish, German, Norwegian and Russian archives.  The project continues through 2016–2018 and is funded by the Kone Foundation.   

Contact person: Pasi Tuunainen, pasi.tuunainen(at)