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Tepora Tuomas

PhD, University of Helsinki

Room 335

Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies
P.O. Box 4
FIN-00014 University of Helsinki
Finland

Tel: + 358 (0)2941 23745  
Email tuomas.tepora (AT) helsinki.fi

 

 

Research Interests

  • History of emotions
  • Cultural history of war
  • Memory studies

Current Research

Emotional investment and the nation: The personality cult of C.G.E. Mannerheim as a contested symbol in Finland

The project examines the myth, personality cult and symbolism of military and political leader Carl Gustaf Mannerheim (1867-1951) from the year 1918 to the present and place it in its transnational context. The study converses closely with the history of emotions, memory studies and nationalism studies.

The Mannerheim myth may be one of the most persistent personality cults outside totalitarian societies. The general trained in the Russian Imperial Army became the revered and hated leader of the White Army during the Finnish Civil War in 1918 and consequently emerged as the mythical Marshall of Finland during World War II. Since his death in 1951, his figure has led a life of its own as a contested, worshipped and nationally scorned image.

The aim of the study is not to uncover the myth as a curtain of the reality but to survey the emotional changes and functions of the Mannerheim myth and national personification. These include the images of national hero and antihero, the numerous decoding and recoding presentations of him and the camp images of the past and present. The study aims at revealing important junctions in Finnish society through changes in emotional investment in its cultic figure. Moreover, the project also sheds light on the internationally topical phenomenon of personality cults and emotional investment in general. The study advances the approaches of the history of emotions by connecting it with the memory studies.