What: “Finland 1917-2017: A Century of National Reinvention,” a lecture by Professor Jason Lavery

Where: Walker Ames Room in Kane Hall, University of Washington

When: Thurs. 26 Oct. 2017, Doors, 6PM, Lecture at 7PM (there will be a reception beginning at 6)

Who: Members of Seattle’s Finnish Community and the Interested public are invited for a special evening discussing Finland’s history. Please RSVP to uwscand@uw.edu by October 17th.

More information: Tina Swenson, UW Scand Studies, (206)543-0645 or uwscand@uw.edu

Celebrations of national independence tend to emphasize continuity: a nation remaining constant in the face of a changing and often hostile world. In our current time, in which national feeling throughout the world increasingly consists of a desire to return to a mythical time of a nation’s greatness, celebrations of national independence can raise more fear than confidence concerning a nation’s future. Nations are living beings. They change and redefine themselves, often in connection to other nations. For example, Finland’s history is often boiled down to the following sentence: Finland first was a part of Sweden, then a part of Russia, then a place separate from the two. As an independent country, Finland’s national identity has changed several times in connection with changes in the geopolitical map of Europe. The lecture will examine some changes in national identity in independent Finland’s history and the relationship between national identity and the outside world.

Professor Jason Lavery (Oklahoma State University) is the leading historian of Finland writing in English. He has written two books on Finland, including most recently Lutheranism’s Frontier: The Reformation in Finland in the Age of King Gustav Vasa 1523-1560. He is a docent at the University of Helsinki, a frequent columnist for Yliopistolehti, a board member for the University of Helsinki’s Collegium for Advanced Studies, and he has also taught a popular course on the history of Finland in English at the  University of Helsinki summer school for more than 20 years. Professor Lavery served from 2009 to 2011 as president for the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study.

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