The John Morton Center hosts "Current Issues" lectures, seminars, conferences, and workshops on the histories, societies, politics and cultures of North American nations.

The JMC strives to engage in dialogue with multiple academic, cultural, political, and ideological viewpoints. We welcome speakers from a range of different backgrounds and persuasions. The views of our guests do not represent those of the Center.

Upcoming Events

April 3: Seminar & Pub Night "From the Everyday to the Radical: Finnishness in the Americas"
Date: Wednesday, April 3, 2019
Time: 12:15-16:00 & 19:00-22:00
Place: UTU, Educarium (Assistentinkatu 5), Lecture Hall Edu2 & Bar Kuka (Linnankatu 17)

"From the Everyday to the Radical: Finnishness in the Americas" ("Arjesta radikaaliin – suomalaisuus Amerikoissa") comprises an afternoon seminar at the University of Turku and a pub night at Bar Kuka. Both events are free of charge and open to all. Students may collect lecture pass entries at the afternoon seminar.

UTU Educarium, Edu 2

Dr. Samira Saramo (JMC): “From the Everyday to the Radical: Framing the Study of Finnishness in the Americas”
Dr. Aaron Goings (UTA): “‘Put Up the Bars!’ Albert Johnson, Radical Finns, and the 1924 Immigration Act”
Dr. Saijaleena Rantanen (UNIARTS): “The Power of Music: Songs of Finnish North Americans as Social and Ideological Mediators at the Turn of the 19th Century”
Dr. Aleksi Huhta (ÅAU): “The Blue Blouses of the Bronx: Finland-Swedish Radicalism in Depression-era New York”

14:15−14:30 BREAK

Dr. Salla Tuori (ÅAU): “Utopia in a Settler Colonial Context: Finnish Migration to Brazil in the Early 1900s”
Dr. Anne Heimo (UTU): “‘I am Thankful for My Heritage:’ Finnish North American Heritage Work on Social Media”
Dr. Tuomas Hovi (UTU): “‘Where Everyone is a Finn:’ Finnish Festivals in the United States”

Bar Kuka (Linnankatu 17)


Jimmy Träskelin ja Tallari – Lähtölaulu
The “Lähtölaulu” [Departure Song] concert is built on Simo Westerholm’s 1983 Finnish immigrant songbook, collected from archives in Finland and the United States. Westerholm’s Lähtölaulu made a significant contribution to restoring U.S. Finns’ historic musical tradition. The songs tell familiar stories of departure, settlement, work life, and homesickness, but also rarer depictions, such as of immigrant life in the city. “Lähtölaulu” is performed by Jimmy Träskelin and Tallari members Sampo Korva and Katri Haukilahti. The “Lähtölaulu” performance is part of the Finnish Folk Music Institute’s (Kaustinen) project to broaden, translate into English, and re-release Westerholm’s collection.

Lähtölaulu-konsertti rakentuu vuonna 1983 julkaistun samannimisen amerikansuomalaisten musiikin nuottikokoelman materiaalille. Tutkija Simo Westerholm kartoitti 1970-luvulla sekä suomalaisia että amerikkalaisia arkistoja, ja kokoelmaa pidetään merkittävänä saavutuksena amerikansuomalaisten musiikillisen perinnön esiin nostamisessa. Laulut kertovat niin tutuista lähtemisen, asettumisen, työnteon ja koti-ikävän aiheista kuin harvinaisemmista aiheista kuten kaupunkielämästä. Konsertissa esiintyvät muusikot ovat Jimmy Träskelin, Sampo Korva ja Katri Haukilahti, joista jälkimmäiset ovat myös kansanmusiikkiyhtye Tallarin jäseniä.

”Finglish” Pub Trivia
Test how well you know the language of Finnish immigrants in North America

Voices of the Past
Hear about immigrants’ experiences in their own words through letters, jokes, and newspapers

April 11: Current Issues Lectures "Cuba-US in the Post-Cold War Era: History and Complexity of a Relation" & "Cuban Economic Actors and their Dynamic"
Date: Thursday, April 11, 2019
Time: 14:15-16:45
Place: UTU, Educarium (Assistentinkatu 5), Lecture Hall Edu2 (2nd floor)

"Cuba-US in the Post-Cold War Era: History and Complexity of a Relation"

The relation between Cuba and United States has a long history and is extremely complex. To understand its core features, it is necessary to include in the analysis a diversity of variables and dimensions in state of constant interaction and change, articulated around a number of central axes, deeply embedded in the course of both countries´ histories. The presentation outlines an analytical model, which combines perspectives and tools from history, political science, geopolitics and political economy, to explain the dynamics of the relation between Cuba and United States, rooted in the study of over 200 years of processes and events. This model is then applied to the shifting political environment and the fluctuations in the relation observed since December 2014, during the last years of Barack Obama´s administration and the first biennium of Donald Trump´s tenure in the White House.

Prof. Ernesto Domínguez López
PhD in Historical Sciences from the University of Havana. Full Professor and coordinator of the US Study Group at the Center for Hemispheric and United Studies (CEHSEU), University of Havana. Visiting professor, visiting scholar and guest lecturer at several universities and academic institutions in Cuba, United States, Colombia, Argentina, France, United Kingdom and Spain. He has published 49 articles and chapters in academic journals and books edited in Cuba, Mexico, Argentina, United States, Italy, Great Britain and France. Author and co-authored of two books and co-editor of other two. His research interests include the study of post-industrial capitalism, US political system and processes, Cuba-US relations, international relations, political theory and theory of history.


"Cuban Economic Actors and their Dynamic"

The most important domestic actors in the current Cuban economy, as part of the transformations in the socialist model, are State owned enterprises, cooperatives and self-employees. The presentation synthesizes the successes, failures and challenges of these sectors, in particular the distortion that the system of double currency creates for the entire economy.

Prof. Seida Barrera Rodríguez
PhD in Juridical Sciences (2018) and JD from the University of Havana, both summa cum laude. Full Professor and associate researcher at the Center for the Study of Cuban Economy (CEEC), University of Havana (2015). Visiting scholar and lecturer at universities in United States, France, Spain and United Kingdom. Her research interests include State-owned enterprises, cooperatives and self-employees. She has published more than 30 articles and chapters in journals and books edited in Cuba, France, Italy, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, and has coauthored one book (forthcoming), along with several papers at conferences in Cuba, Paris and United States.


The event is free of charge and open for all. Sponsored by the Kone Foundation.

Students may collect lecture pass entries for NAMS, Contemporary History, and Political Science.

September 6: Current Issues Seminar "Up In Arms: Making Sense of Gun Culture in the United States"
Date: Friday, September 6, 2019
Time: [TBA]
Place: UTU, Calonia (Caloniankuja 3), Lecture Hall Cal1

A full-day Current Issues Seminar on gun culture in the United States. More information forthcoming.

October 11-12: "American Voices" Seminar
Date: Friday-Saturday, October 11-12, 2019
Time: [TBA]
Place: University of Turku

"American Voices" provides an opportunity to learn about various aspects of U.S. society and culture through the experiences of American Fulbright grantees currently in Finland. The seminar is organized each year by the UTU North American Studies Program and the Fulbright Finland Foundationand it is supported by the U.S. Embassy in Helsinki.

More information forthcoming.

Event Archive