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Henrik Meinander

Carl Henrik Meinander
Born May 19, 1960, Helsinki

PhD 1994 (Finnish and Scandinavian history), University of Helsinki
Master of Letters 1991 (Pedagogics) University of Glasgow
Master of Arts 1987 (Finnish and Scandinavian history), University of Helsinki

Director of research, researcher 2015–, Driving Forces of Democracy research programme, University of Helsinki, (Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation)
Professor of History 2001–, University of Helsinki

Vice-dean of the Faculty of Arts 2010–13, University of Helsinki
Project researcher 2008–10, Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland
Head of the Department of History 2004–06, University of Helsinki
Senior research fellow 2007–08, Academy of Finland
Acting associate professor of the history of science and learning 1997–98, University of Helsinki
Intendant 1991–97, Mannerheim Museum
Research associate in history 1991–97, 1998–99, University of Helsinki
PhD student, Academy of Finland 1988–89, Ministry of Education 1990
Part-time history teacher 1986–87, Mattlidens gymnasium

Research themes:
Right-wing radicalism, the history of sport, the history of science and learning, historiography, military history, the social history of ideologies, Swedishness in Finland, the history of security policy, the driving forces of democracy

Publications, research projects and other academic activity

Awards and honours:

Årets Nors 2010 (annual prize awarded to former students of the Helsinki Normal Lyceum)

Swedish-Finnish Cultural Foundation prize for academic research 2008

The Swedish Academy’s Finland Prize 2007

Oskar Öflund Foundation prize 2002

Photo: Julia von Boguslawski
Written by Henrik Meinander (Tomas Sjöblom, ed.)

Translated by Matthew Billington

The contexts of Finland

A central perspective in the research of Dr Henrik Meinander has always been the social history of ideas. He has seldom been interested in ideas as such, as their emergence, significance and influence are informed by their historical contexts and motives. This was already his perspective in his master's thesis and doctoral dissertation.

In the following ten years, when Dr Meinander was writing reference works on the history of Finland (1999, 2006), the issue of the social and political contexts of ideas turned up with increasing frequency. In his war history Suomi 1944 (‘Finland 1944’, 2009) Dr Meinander coined the term ‘emotional landscape’ to denote the multiplicity of emotions, thoughts, and ideas that coexist within a society.

A History of Finland by Henrik Meinander (2006, in English 2011). Photo: WSOY.

His interest in context and motive has also informed Dr Meinander's analyses on the evolution of Finland into a self-confident nation and an independent state. He feels the two main drivers of the evolution of Finland have been our Swedish cultural heritage, on the one hand, and the chain reactions caused in the Baltic region by the Napoleonic wars, the two world wars of the 20th century, and the fall of the Soviet empire on the other hand.

These themes are the foundational elements in the research project Driving Forces of Democracy: Patterns of Democratization in Finland and Sweden, 1890–2020 led by Dr Meinander. The project will run at three universities in 2015–2017. The research is inspired by the approaching 100th anniversary of the Republic of Finland in 2017. The plan is to analyse the development of democratic practices in Finland and Sweden as a dynamic between three driving forces: their shared cultural heritage and political culture, their roles and capabilities in the world economy, and their respective geopolitical status.

Photo: Kenneth Bamberg.


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