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Anna-Leena Siikala

Anna-Leena Siikala (formerly Kuusi, née Aarnisalo)
Born January 1, 1943, Helsinki.
Died February 27, 2016.

Master of Arts (folkloristics), 1968, Licentiate of Philosophy, 1970, Doctor of Philosophy, 1978, University of Helsinki

Academy Professor, Academy of Finland, 1999–2004
Professor of Folkloristics, University of Helsinki, 1995–2007
Professor of the Study of Tradition, 1988–95, University of Eastern Finland
Senior Research Fellow, State Committee for the Humanities, 1986–1988
Acting Professor of Folklore and Comparative Religion, University of Turku, 1979–1982

Publications, research projects and other academic activities

Research interests
Rituals, myths, oral storytelling, poetry written in the Kalevala verse form, regeneration of tradition and its political use in peripheral regions

Awards and Special achievements
Annual Prize for Non-fiction, Federation of Finnish Learned Societies and Finnish Association for Scholarly Publishing, 2014
Academician, 2009
Kalevala Society prize for academic work, 2007
Commander, Order of the Lion of Finland, 2006
Honorary Member, Finnish Literature Society, 2004
Honorary Member, Finnish Academy of Science and Letters, 2008
Honorary Member, The Kalevala Society, 2011
Honorary Doctorate, University of Joensuu (present-day University of Eastern Finland), 2004
Honorary Doctorate, University of Tartu, 2008
Honorary Doctorate, University of Turku, 2009
Honorary Award, Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation, 2004
Doctor Honoris Causa of the Societas Ethnographica Hungarica, 2000
Knight (First Class), Finnish Order of the White Rose, 1999
Honorary Professor, Udmurt State University, 1998
Finnish Literature Society Prize for Scientific Literature, 1979, 1992 & 1994

Photo: Sakari Majantie
Written by Anna-Leena Siikala (Tomas Sjöblom, ed.)
Translated by John Calto

Mythologies as the Symbols of Nations

For Finns, the poetry of Kalevala is a world of ideas which has served as a cultural foundation for individuals and art as well as the nation. Kalevala, as compiled by Elias Lönnrot, has in fact become a symbol of the Finnish identity, the strength of which has not diminished with time.

Comparative research has made it necessary to examine the poetry of Kalevala in the context of mythological poetry in general. The mythologies best suited for this purpose are those of neighbouring areas and those written in languages closely related to Finnish. Scholars of Finno-Ugric peoples in Finland, Hungary, Estonia and Russia are brought together by the book series entitled Encyclopedia of Uralic Mythologies, which I edit with Dr Mihály Hoppál and Vladimir Napolski. The series contains basic information on the religions of native speakers of the Uralic languages and offers a multinational network of connections for the surrounding scholarly discourse.

In 2012, the Finnish Literature Society published Itämerensuomalaisten mytologia (‘The mythology of Baltic Finns’). The book was written for a Finnish audience, and it was intended to shed light on our cultural heritage and to put the cultural traits we have acquired from Siberian peoples, the Finno-Ugric peoples of Volga and Kama and the Indo-Europeans into a broad historical perspective.

Omöl’, the other creator deity of the Komi who was associated with the devil after the spread of Christianity.​
Omöl’, the other creator deity of the Komi who was associated with the devil after the spread of Christianity.​


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