Go Back

Panu Pulma

Panu Tapio Pulma
2 October 1952, Kajaani, Finland

Master of Arts 1980
Doctor of Philosophy 1985 (Finnish and Scandinavian History)
Docent in Finnish and Scandinavian History (University of Helsinki) 1986

Assistant, Associate Professor, and acting Professor (University of Helsinki and University of Joensuu) 19822015
Historical researcher, Kajaani City, 1987–1992
Senior researcher, Academy of Finland, 1997–2000
Academy Research Fellow, Academy of Finland, 2001
University lecturer in Finnish and Nordic History 2001-
Project Manager, Academy of Finland, 1988–91 and 2010–2013

Publications, research projects and other scientific activities

Research interests: Poverty, child welfare and social policy history, family history, urban history, history of minorities

Awards and special achievements
Väinö Voionmaa Award for best local historical research 1996: Pikkukaupungin unelmia. Kajaani 1907-1977 (‘Small town dreams: Kajaani 1907-77’), co-author Oiva Turpeinen
State Award for Public Information 2013: Suomen romanien historia (‘The history of Finnish Roma’), co-authored with a research group
Gunnar Mickwitz Prize for work on Nordic history 2013

Written by Panu Pulma and Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta (ed.)
Translated by Joe McVeigh and John Calton. Revised by John Calton.

Somebody’s got to do it

With experience in activism as a teenager and in being politically active as a student, I seemed natural to get involved in the places where things were being decided. The old history department developed a very strong tradition of co-operation, and I was involved in various study committees, planning groups, and, when the administration was reformed in the 1990s, the departmental steering committee and the faculty council.

Many of my colleagues were reluctant to drawn into administration for fear of losing valuable research time. So I took on the role because somebody has to deal with these issues. If I can represent our field in different bodies, I can free up time for researchers more gifted than me to do research, all the while helping my department and field by following what the administration has planned. That way information flows easily.

Another aspect of this ‘advocacy’ has been actively writing for journals and to some extent discussing history through other media. Perhaps the shining example of all this was when I was asked to be a columnist for the Me Naiset (‘We women’) magazine. When language is the most valuable tool in your work, it is important to write often and to write many types of texts, so book reviews and columns fit this job description nicely. On the side I wrote what could be characterised as popular texts, such as articles for ‘An encyclopaedia of Finnish history’ and ‘A history of Finnish domestic life’, or texts for Nordic history textbooks.

When this current model of administration was pushed through, I gave up. I think the idea of the academic community was run down and they created a model of administration which I was no longer interested in being a part of.

Nordic co-operation has always been an important part of my work: I started as a researcher in a joint Nordic project, I was active in the 1980s in organising Nordic conferences on methodology in history, and I have been continuously involved in projects with Nordic researchers. Nordic seminars and conferences have been the bread and butter of my research career.



Go Back