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Kirsti Salmi-Niklander

Born May 20, 1957, Joensuu

Master of Arts 1988, licentiate 1991, PhD 2004 (Folkloristics), University of Helsinki

University lecturer in folkloristics 2015–, University of Helsinki
Academy of Finland research fellow 2011–16

Docent in folkloristics, University of Helsinki 2008–
Academy of Finland postdoctoral researcher 2005–09
Research associate in folkloristics, University of Helsinki 1989–2003
Assistant archivist, National Archives of Finland 1987
Temporary researcher, Finnish Organisation for Labour Heritage 1985–87
Research themes: interaction between verbal and literary expression, hand-written newspapers, oral history, working-class culture, migrant culture

Publications, research projects and other academic activity

Awards and special achievements:
Award for the best monograph in Labour History 2006

Photo: Mika Federley
Written by Kirsti Salmi-Niklander (Tiia Niemelä, ed.)
Translated by Matthew Billington

My Best Memory from the University of Helsinki

The one university memory that stands out above all others is the defence of my doctoral thesis on March 6, 2004 — although I can remember surprisingly few details. Despite the fact that it was right in front of my eyes, I decided in advance I would not look at the clock. When I finally dared to take a look, to my amazement I saw that almost three hours had flown by.

The defence of my thesis was an emotionally charged affair. In my speech, I read two quotations from the 1920s magazine Valistaja (‘Enlightener’) which had been written by Selma Bäckström and Paavo Saaristo. Some of their descendants were also present. At first I doubted I could make it through my speech without crying—but I managed it, and afterwards everything was much easier.

A relieved doctor of philosophy enjoying coffee and cake after the defence of her thesis. Photo by Timo Salmi.

I had already received the best doctoral gift when I was leaving Karkkila the day before: a CD titled Maailman meno (‘The Way of the World’), which had been produced by local musicians. The CD contained music for the poetry and lyrics that appeared in the material for my dissertation. Fortunately, I listened to it only after my doctoral defence, or else my head would have been in a spin.

The title track of the album Maailman meno Music by Tomi Wahlroos. The lyrics were published in the magazine Valistaja in January 1918.

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