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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 street as a political text

Unioninkatu (‘Union Street’) in Helsinki has always been a central space for me. I have walked up and down it practically every day since I first opened the door of the Swedish Normal Lyceum in 1971. It was down the same street that I walked as an undergraduate, and when the Faculty of Arts moved to Topelia, Unioninkatu 38, I was one of those who received a desk in the building.

The history of the street has numerous connections to the history of Helsinki and Finland. Unioninkatu was long the most significant street in Helsinki and has been witness to many dramatic events. Consequently, it is bordered by many places of significance to collective memory. In 2012, when the bicentennial celebrations of Helsinki as the capital of Finland coincided with the appointment of Helsinki as World Design Capital 2012, I led two projects dealing with Unioninkatu.

Professor Meinander in a familiar working environment, the courtyard of Topelia, Unioninkatu 38. Photo: Linda Tammisto.

Together with our students, my colleagues and I produced 20 short videos in eight languages on various points of interest on Unioninkatu. I also edited the book Unioninakseli: Pääkaupungin läpileikkaus (‘Union Axis: a cross-section of a capital’ 2012). The book includes my article “The street as a political text,” where I discuss various conscious and unconscious significances of Unioninkatu. Two years later I published a history of my old school under the somewhat pretentious title Lysande exempel! (‘Shining Examples!’)

Unioninakseli. Pääkaupungin läpileikkaus (‘Union Axis: Cross-section of a Capital’) edited by Dr Henrik Meinander. Photo: Teos.


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