About Our Research

Ongoing Research Projects


Cuba in Flux: Visualizing Urban Transformation in Havana

  • Email: jmc[at]utu.fi

The three-year Kone Foundation project examines visual displays and everyday experiences of urban transformation in Havana from 2019 to 2021.

Kone Foundation Logo

Principal Investigator

Benita Heiskanen   Dr. Benita Heiskanen


Nadia Nava Contreras   Nadia Nava Contreras

María Gutíerrez Bascón

  María A. Gutiérrez Bascón

Completed Research Projects

Campus Carry

The four-year Academy of Finland project (2017–2021) studies the implications of the Texas state “Campus Carry” gun legislation (SB 11) that came into effect on August 1, 2016. Through qualitative and quantitative research, the project focuses on the changing spatial dynamics at The University of Texas at Austin campus.

Academy of Finland

Principal Investigator

Benita Heiskanen   Prof. Benita Heiskanen


Albion Butters   Dr. Albion M. Butters

Elina Kestilä-Kekkonen

  Prof. Elina Kestilä-Kekkonen
Pekka Kolehmainen   Ph.D. Cand. Pekka Kolehmainen
Lotta Kähkönen   Dr. Lotta Kähkönen
Sampo Ruoppila   Dr. Sampo Ruoppila
Juha Vuori   Prof. Juha Vuori

Tragediauutisoinnin haasteet – median mahdollisuudet käsitellä kouluampumisia

This Helsingin Sanomat Foundation project, which began in January 2019, examines U.S. and Finnish media’s reporting of the 2018 high school shootings in Parkland, Florida. The project produces a new, comparative database on reporting on school shootings and opens up a new avenue for discussing the challenges posed by such reporting. The project considers the tensions between traditional media and social media based #-activism, with concrete suggestions for journalists’ work.


Principal Investigator

Benita Heiskanen   Dr. Benita Heiskanen


Kirsi Cheas   Dr. Kirsi Cheas

Maiju Kannisto

  Dr. Maiju Kannisto


Noora Juvonen   Noora Juvonen



For more information on our projects - including news and publications - please see the JMC Research website.

Completed Postdoctoral Projects

Death and Mourning in "Finnish North America"

Death and Mourning in "Finnish North America"

Academy of Finland, 2017–2020

Dr. Samira Saramo

This project proposes that a fear of dying alone in an unfamiliar land served as a catalyst for the emergence of ethnic community life in North America. Using the case study of Finnish immigrants in Canada and the United States from 1880–1939, the project examines both the everyday practices and representations of death and mourning. It constructs a History of Everyday Life view and analyzes how ordinary people have narrated these experiences by employing life writing sources, particularly personal letters and autobiographies written by Finnish North Americans. The project highlights the ways that death sets people into action, caring for the dying, the deceased, and the grieving.

Overall, the project proposes a framework for conceptualizing “Finnish North America,” inquiring whether immigrant community identifications span beyond the confines of national boundaries, instead revealing ethno-regional belonging. Additionally, the project challenges Finnish Studies historiography by integrating analysis of the political Left and Right, hypothesizing that life writing and mourning traditions may reveal political allegiances overshadowed by the cultural customs, intimate rituals, and camaraderie of death and mourning. Through life writing analysis, the project pushes theoretical discussions on emotion, identity maintenance, and the workings of relationships at a distance. The project examines how gender, age, and class shape the social roles proscribed and adopted at times of death.

Academy of Finland


Rising Dragon, Rising Sun: A Century of Threat Perceptions of China and Japan in the United States

Rising Dragon, Rising Sun: A Century of Threat Perceptions of China and Japan in the United States

Turku Institute for Advanced Studies (TIAS), 2019–2021

Dr. Henna-Riikka Pennanen

This project focuses on threat perceptions of China and Japan in the United States from the turn of the twentieth century to the present. The objectives of the study are: 1) To engage in critical discussion on the phenomena of threat perception, images, and alarmism. 2) To show that a study of threat perceptions and images is needed for deepening our understanding of U.S. foreign and national security policies, history, culture, and society. The project contributes to the fields of international relations studies, U.S. history, and transnational American studies.

Turku Institute for Advanced Studies (TIAS)

Transnational Indigenous Activism: Asserting Sovereignty in the Cold War United States and Canada, 1953–1975

Transnational Indigenous Activism: Asserting Sovereignty in the Cold War United States and Canada, 19531975

Academy of Finland, 2017–2021

Dr. Reetta Humalajoki

This project examines the activism of national Indigenous organizations in both a transnational and comparative context. The project focuses on the development of national Native movements in the U.S. and Canada and the extent to which Indigenous activists built cross-border networks and solidarity in the mid-twentieth century. It will evaluate the impacts of Native political activism on federal policy-making in both countries. The project highlights the intersections between Indigenous, North American, and Cold War studies, and draws on extensive archival research and oral histories.

Academy of Finland



JMC Research Network

The JMC Research Network provides a forum to bring together junior and senior scholars from various inter/disciplinary backgrounds studying the United States, Canada,  Mexico, and the Caribbean. It explores interdisciplinary themes dealing with North American Studies and provides resources for students, scholars, and the public.

The network’s activities comprise seminars, roundtables, writing and publishing initiatives, and collaborative project workshops. The JMC Research Network also provides a Directory of Experts (see below) to serve the interests of the public and the media in Finland and abroad.

To receive news and updates from the JMC Research Network, please subscribe to our mailing list here. If you would like to join the Network and the Directory of Experts, please contact us at jmc[at]utu.fi.