The Research Project Europe 1815-1914

P.O. Box 24
Unioninkatu 40
FI-00014 University of Helsinki




The programme is continuously updated. New events might be advertised with short notice. External participants are welcome but preferably on a regular basis. Since the number of seats is limited pre-registration with project coordinator Minna Vainio (erere-info[at] is requested.

June 2010
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8 June
14-16 Matti Klinge, University of Helsinki, “Finland and Russia 1809-1917”, Place: P668, Porthania

The distinguished and prolific Finnish historian, professor Emeritus Matti Klinge, gave a talk on the position of Finland vis-à-vis Russian Empire during the 19th century – shedding a light into a number of political, economic, cultural and social interrelations between the two entities.

He started his discussion with an overview on some of his earlier and current intellectual and academic engagements as well as on his most important academic works. On his current involvements, for instance, concerning the need for a European history in the EU context, professor Klinge emphasised his antinationalist approach in search for common historical European features. Whereas, with regards to his published works, he focused mainly on his most recent publications The Baltic World (2010) – a history of Baltic world over the last 1000 years, and A European University: The University of Helsinki 1640-2010 (2010) – a detailed account about the history of the university, which as he put it, represented also a political history of Finland.

With regards to the relations between Finland and Russian Empire - after the incorporation of the former in 1809 into the latter - but especially after the Vienna Congress of 1815, professor Klinge argued that there was an understanding in which as long as a guarantee of loyalty to the Empire existed and an anti-revolutionary attitude dominated in the Grand Duchy, the Imperial centre was favourable to the degree of autonomy the country enjoyed. He pointed out, however, that in 1880s a rift emerged between the Russian Ministry of War and Ministry of Interior over the need to further integrate or not the Grand Duchy due to security concerns that the Empire saw after German and Russian alliance collapsed in 1880s.

His perspective raised a number of questions with regards to the concept of Finnish loyalty towards the Empire; the issue of language (bilingualism and the introduction of Russian language in Finland); emergence of Finnish nationalism, the contrast between Finland and Poland's attitudes vis-à-vis the Russian Empire, as well as the social question in the context of Finnish Civil War.

11-12 June
First Meeting of the Working Group Teleology and History,in Berlin Outline (pdf)

The working group on teleology had its first meeting in Berlin on 11-12 June. There was great agreement that the organizers of this working group, Henning Trüper and Dipesh Chakrabarty, had brought together an excellent selection of contributions. The sessions connected well to each other and the presentations were all convincing with clear arguments. They all lead to intensive and fruitful discussions about the role of teleology in late enlightenment. Against the backdrop of new practices and institutions of research new forms of historical writing emerged. In keeping with the intensifying expansion of European powers abroad, universal histories flourished. The teleological approach was an urgent matter at once of philosophical, political and theological debates, as it was connected to promises of reform and revolution, and mundane progress. At the meeting the colonial heritage was given particular attention in several papers. The papers represented a variety of approaches: history, legal thought, postcolonial studies, antique studies, fiction literature. There was a converging view through the discussions that after the enlightenment philosophers had begun to divide time in past, present and future teleological thinking is with us. The point is not to avoid or to get rid of teleological thoughts but to historisize and critically destabilize such narratives. In the next meeting in Rome the discussions will continue with new contributors and the focus will be on the later part of the nineteenth century.

15 June
Final Spring seminar: Lessons from the Berlin meeting