“Finnish Pasts and Presents in the U.S. Midwest” - A Photo Exhibit by Samira Saramo


12.11.2018 at 9.00 - 16.11.2018 at 17.00
Dr Samira Saramo:

"In Summer 2018, I set off on a 5000 km research journey through historic strongholds of Finnish immigration in the U.S. Midwest. Though the intent of the trip was to collect materials for a History of Death and Mourning in these Finnish communities, I found much more. It quickly became evident that these long histories of Finnishness and fluctuating local fortunes were deeply entangled in complex presents. Along the journey, as I sought out the “feel of a place,” I was often generously guided by local knowledge-keepers, who led me to their Finnish community’s significant landmarks and lore. The palpable weight of the passing of time evoked both awe and heartache. Loss came to bridge my historical study of death with local memory and present realities of heritage preservation.

I turned to photography in an effort to capture some of the visceral power of being in place. The exhibit is part of an effort to create “sense”-itive[1] history that is alert to the embodied, sensory, and emotive experiences of both the past presented and the researcher’s present. The exhibit brings together images of landscapes, material heritage, and the archival experience to invite the viewer into the negotiation of place and temporality."

Dr. Samira Saramo is an Academy of Finland Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Turku’s John Morton Center for North American Studies. Saramo’s current project, “Death and Mourning in Finnish North America,” explores Finnish immigrants’ personal narrations and everyday experiences with death and mourning in the years 1860–1939.