Olli Kleemola profile picture
Contemporary History
Valtiotieteiden tohtori / Dr. Soc. Sci.


Assistentinkatu 7

Areas of expertise

- Enemy images - War photography - War propaganda - Photography as a source for historical research - ”New military history” - Trench art - Prisoners of war - Germany before 1945


Ongoing Projects
•The Key images of Finnish history project (2017-)
This project has received funding from Alfred Kordelin Foundation and Ella ja Georg Ehrnrooth Foundation.

My research aims to find out how Finland, Finnish history and Finnish identity have been constructed by use of photography in Finland and abroad. The outcome of this study helps us to understand how to use pictures more effectively in communications.
Building process of the Finnish national state has created a demand for production of desired kind of Finnishness among the nation. This building process happened simultaneously with the development of modern photography.The research project uses a wide range of visual sources. The main research questions are:

•Changing threats and mechanisms of surveillance in Finland (2018-)
This project has received funding from Kone Foundation.

I´m taking part in Changing threats and mechanisms of surveillance in Finland –project.

The project is about Finnish domestic security in 200 years of timespan from the early 19th century to the present.  We focus in the security threats of Finnish society, associated institutions and mechanisms of control. Historical research enables clarification of the long time trends of control policy and security mindset. Our research questions are: How and with what grounds did different actors make their perception about threats? What kind of strategy did the authorities build on based on these threats? What kind of national and international context do the threats and mechanisms for preventing these treats form in? What kind of direct and indirect impacts do the treats and strategies of the authorities have?

•The life of Kaarle Kustaa Kari – military career in early 20th century Finland (2018-)
This project has received funding from The Association of Finnish Non-fiction Writers and Uudenkaupungin Suomalaisen Seuran Säätiö.

This research project examines Mr. Kari as a member of important military organizations he took part in during his military career. For example the case of Mr. Kari gives an interesting angle to the struggle on the ideals of Finnish military officer training during the interwar period.  The research covers also the community of Kainuu border guard. It points out what kind of effect did the landscapes of the wilderness and the community of his army unit have on identity of Mr. Kari as a man and solder and how Kari changed the border guard with his Prussian leadership ideas. This biography gives a new point of view to the early days of Finnish officer training, interwar era White guard and border guard activities and the history of winter- and continuation wars. The biography has a wider audience, than only those interested in the Mr. Kari’s life.

Past projects

•Photographs and History (2016-2018)
This project has received funding from Alfred Kordelin Foundation.
This book edited by D.S.Sc. Olli Kleemola and M.A. Silja Pitkänen focuses in the use of photos as historical sources:  Why photographs are essential sources in history? How they have been used in research? How we can use them? What kinds of methods can be used in research? We also review, analyze and comment contemporary discussions about photography as an academic source.

The book will bepublished in English. It will be published in 2018 in the K&H series by School of History, Culture and Arts Studies.


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