Academy of Finland
Funding decision
Applicant / Contact person Saramo, Samira
Organisation University of Turku
Project title
Death and Mourning in Finnish North America
Decision No. 308314
Decision date 13.06.2017
Funding period 01.09.2017 - 31.08.2020
Funding 244 399
WebFOCUS Report
Project description
This project proposes that a fear of dying alone in an unfamiliar land served as a catalyst for ethnic community life in North America. Using the case study of Finnish immigrants in Canada and the United States from 1880-1939, it offers both personal and community-level views of everyday encounters with death and mourning. The project uses personal letters and memoirs written by the immigrants themselves in order to examine the ways that death sets people into action, caring for the dead and mourning, by conducting rituals and preparing special foods. Particular attention is paid to the varied ways that individuals have narrated these experiences and how age, gender, class, and personal belief impact representations of death. Sources will be gathered from seven archives in Finland, Canada, and the U.S. and the project’s research site is University of Turku’s John Morton Center. The project presents an integrated look at “Finnish North America,” providing new ways of seeing Finnishness.