A Short History of the Section and its Offices

The Political Science section is located in the Publicum building (Assistentinkatu 7).Previously, it was located in the idyllic surroundings of University Hill in the old barracks area. Its offices were housed in Building 2 at (Arwidssoninkatu 2) in one of the remaining barracks structures next to Tuomaanpuisto (Thomas Park). The section’s previous building was once the hospital for the 47th  Rifle Battalion and was under the command of the Pori Brigade until 1966. This building was part of a series of barracks built in the 1880’s for Finnish troops at a time when Finland was part of the Russian Empire. Between 1902 and 1917 these barracks served as sleeping quarters for the Imperial Russian Army, but were returned to Finnish command following Finnish independence in 1917. 

Today, practically all of the political science researchers are located in the Publicum building, the main building for the Faculty of Social Science. The previous Political Science building was completely remodeled and modernized at the end of the 1980s at which time the Political Science Department was relocated there. After the discovery of an indoor air problem, the section moved to its current location.  Another previous building used by the researchers was known in University political science circles as the Håkan House (Hus Haakana). The name Håkan House dates back to the 1970’s and comes from the name of the then barracks area caretaker. Memory holds that Håkan was a particularly colorful character and his name is thus associated with the area.

Political Science at the University of Turku

The Political Science Department was founded as a separate academic discipline in 1961 and originally operated out of a few rooms in the University main building on University Hill. In 1996, the Department moved to the Auraprint building in the town square, where the department remained for the next 10 years. In 1975, the Department finally relocated to the barracks area. In the beginning of 2010, the Departments of Contemporary History and Political Science were merged to form the Department of Political Science and Contemporary History. In 2016, Philosophy, Comtemporary History and Political Science merged to a new and larger department.

The section’s first and long-serving Professor was Professor Emeritus Jaakko Nousiainen (1963-1993). Political Science Professor Hannu Nurmi was appointed as Prof. Nousiainen’s successor in 1995. After professor Nurmi retired in 2012 Maija Setälä was appointed to the post. The Department’s assistant professorship was originally held by Onni Rantala after which time Voitto Helander held the post until 2001. The title of assistant professor was eventually removed and in 2002 Professor Matti Wiberg was appointed to a full-professorial post. The section has, since 1994, had a professor of International Relations, a post first held by Professor Emeritus Harto Hakovirta until 2009. Since 2010, Professor Henri Vogt serves as the head of International Relations at the section.