Universitas Helsingiensis 4/1995

Universitas Helsingiensis 4/1995



Finland is a land of snow, and we also study snow. Few people come to think that Finland is situated at the same latitude as Alaska. But our climate is warmer, thanks to the Gulf Stream, which brings temperate air to the northern Atlantic. Finland has a good climate for working n not too hot, not too cold. In winter, we usually have snow as far south as Helsinki.

The University of Helsinki is both a national and an international seat of learning. It attracts students from all over the country and extends its research topics and research groups to every corner of the land. The national role is highlighted by the University's 20 research institutes outside the Helsinki metropolitan area. The three remotest of them n Kilpisjärvi Biological Station, Muddusjärvi Research Station and Värriö Research Station n are in Lapland, beyond the Arctic Circle. Värriö is near Korvatunturi, the one and only home of Father Christmas. At the time of writing, late October, there is already 30 centimetres of snow in Kilpisjärvi, 1200 kilometres north of Helsinki. At the same time in Helsinki we have what we call the "dead-leaves season", which means that tram drivers have to take extra care, because leaves on the tracks add to the braking distance.

The locations of the University's research stations in different parts of the country are ideal for snow research. Our winter ecology research is extensive and internationally recognised. Helsinki University researchers have also helped top Finnish skiers by developing better waxes. A similar contribution is a chemical compound which is sprayed on aircraft to prevent ice formation.

On the 25th of November, the sun will rise on the University Main Building at 8.42 and set at 15.32. At the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station it will not rise at all. It is the beginning of kaamos, the darkest time of the year. In Lapland kaamos is not, however, total darkness. On a clear day, the southern sky blazes deep red, even though the sun never gets above the horizon. The unbroken snow cover also adds to the light. It is quiet on the fells. The night sky offers an incredible play of colours. Aurora borealis glows in all colours of the spectrum in the timeless space. Aurora borealis is also the subject of researched, and is regularly photographed.

Kaamos is a time for calming down. For us Finns, Christmas comes at a timely season, in the middle of kaamos. People in Helsinki hope they will have snow for Christmas, because for us a white Christmas is the only real Christmas. Many Finns seek the Christmas spirit in the peace and quiet of the countryside, among them many University people. I wish a very peaceful and relaxing season to all our Finnish and international readers. You are welcome to Finland to spend Christmas in a landscape of snow. In Lapland, Father Christmas is getting ready to start his journey.

Seppo Lahti Head of Planning

Less snow on the Earth

Finnish Christmas is white

For Finns, Christmas does not feel real unless it is white, but the Christmas spirit does not depend on snow everywhere around the world. White Christmases are known to about 700 million people. Recently snow-covers have begun to recede, especially in the spring season.

Finland is one of the very few countries where the entire population can enjoy some winter snows. Most other countries with a cold climate have warmer areas where snow fails to remain, such as Vancouver Island in Canada, the southern provinces of Sweden, the Crimea in Russia and Locarno in Switzerland. Hydrologist Esko Kuusisto believes that, apart from Finland, Iceland and Mongolia are the only countries where the snow cover reaches every corner of the territory. "Norway is a borderline case," Docent Kuusisto points out.

Even if Finland in the winter season can be under snow from the southernmost cape to the northernmost reaches of Lapland, in terms of quantity or cover thickness this is by no means the snowiest country in the world. Nearly all records concerning snowfall and snow deposit thickness have been reported in North America; Finland ranks somewhere around the average. In February 1950, the layer deposited by one heavy snowfall on the northern California mountains was 4.8 metres thick. The record fall within 24 hours, 193 cm, was reported on April 15, 1921 in the US Rocky Mountains.

The first snow in the south of Finland usually falls in October. Reliable records of the first autumn snowfalls have been kept in the Helsinki area since 1829. On average, the first snowflakes are seen to fall on the capital on October 19. About every tenth year snowfalls begin earlier, as early as September, and likewise, at about ten-year intervals, they are not seen until November.

We say that the snow cover is seasonal if it is so thick that it is not likely to melt away until the next spring. Helsinki usually gets a seasonal cover just before Christmas, around December 20. In central Finland this happens in late November and in the north as early as October.

"As regards the south of Finland, the concept of seasonal snow cover is presently becoming irrelevant, since for six years now skiing has been nearly impossible in the southern provinces. There was very little snow and it did not stay longer than a couple of weeks. We used to reckon that the south of Finland had four months of snow on average, but now we can only count on three," Kuusisto reports. He believes that, in terms of snow conditions, Finland is beginning to resemble Central European flat countries, at least in the south, but the north of Finland still has a seasonal snow cover for seven months each year. Snow can be found on the mountains of Lapland as late as June. A mid- summer ski competition was held this year on the Salla mountain in Kilpisjärvi as usual (although this is not really dream country for summer skiers).

Two metres of snow in record-snowy winters

In normal winters the snow cover in central Finland is 60-70 centimetres and in the north 80-90 cm thick. On the Lapland mountains the layer can locally be as thick as 2-3 metres.

The snowiest season reported in Finland was the winter of 1898- 99, when the greatest depth of snow was two metres. Observations were made at 20 measuring posts mostly located in the southern and central provinces, with ten posts reporting snow cover thicknesses exceeding 1.5 m.

In the record winter of 1899, snow continued to fall in the south of Finland as late as April, and it did not begin to melt away until the second week of May. Snow meltoff was followed by heavy rains, which filled lakes to the brim and caused record wide-spread floods. It was owing to these major floods in fact that the Finnish Hydrographic Office was founded in 1908. The water regulation of big lakes then began, with reservoirs built. Flood forecasts presently cover about half of the country.

The snowiest winters of this century fell in the 1980's, in 1981 and 1984, although in 1966 there was still snow in the south of Finland on the great spring holiday, May Day. The last few years have not been particularly snowy in the southern parts, yet not entirely without some of Nature's surprises: this year the celebration of Mothers' Day (May 14) in the south of Finland was crowned by a heavy snowfall.

White Christmas for 700 million

Finns tend to take a white Christmas for granted; the celebration of Christ's birthday does not feel right without white snow. However, snow is not so firmly tied in with Christmas everywhere in the world. According to Esko Kuusisto's calculations, only about 700 million people see snow in the Christmas season.

"The largest number of people potentially enjoying white Christmases live in China, although most of them do not celebrate Christmas in the Western style. At the end of December nearly half of China is covered by snow. This snowy area includes large deserts, but even so it is inhabited by 300 million Chinese."

In North America around 150 million people can enjoy white Christmases. In Europe there is snow in the Christmas season in the northern parts of the continent and on the mountains. Countries such as Poland, Hungary and the Balkans belong to the "white-Christmas zone". The Russian Christmas is nearly all white.

Christmas is statistically the coldest in Ojmjakon, Siberia, where the average temperature on Christmas Day is -48oC. In Finland the Christmas Day temperature averages around -5o in the south and -10...-20o in the north.

Less snow in spring

As far as we presently know, there is snow or ice on eight of the nine planets within our solar system. On Venus the temperatures are too high for snow and ice formation. Some of the satellites that circle the planets are largely covered with ice.

The snow cover on Earth reaches its maximum in February, about 4-5 thousand million tons or nearly a million kilograms per each human individual. For the last 30 years the snow cover has been observed by satellites which weekly photograph all the areas where snow can occur. The results of this satellite surveillance show that during the last few decades the snow cover was greatest in February 1978 and scarcest in the winter of 1992.

Another fact clearly revealed by the global satellite report on snow conditions is that the snow cover in spring has considerably decreased from what it was twenty years ago. April snows are receding both on the North-American and on the Eurasian continent. However, no major changes are reported in the mid-winter snow cover, which has receded only by a few percent.

"Meteorologists do not regard the reduction in mid-winter snow covers as serious, but the downward trend in the figures for March-April is significant. Such a reduction of late-winter snows indicates major changes in the global climate," Esko Kuusisto believes. Nevertheless, researchers are not quite ready as yet to swear to the greenhouse effect. "Scientists want an indisputable confirmation before they make their final conclusions," Kuusisto says in defending his colleagues.

Nina Korhonen

Avalanches are part of nature

On steep mountain slopes covered with thick layers of snow, the force of gravitation can suddenly release avalanches. Avalanche damage causes enormous financial losses, and every year around 150-200 are killed.

An avalanche means that masses of layered snow suddenly slide down a slope towards a valley. The minimum distance of movement for a slide to be called an avalanche is 50 metres. Avalanches can occur anywhere on sufficiently high, snow-covered slopes. The angle of inclination can range from 30-60o, the hazard being greatest on slopes of around 30-45o. "You cannot release an avalanche in flat country, however hard you may try," says research assistant Petri Shemeikka from the Department of Geography, University of Helsinki.

It is estimated that avalanches are possible on about 6% of the total land surface of the globe. Most commonly they occur in the Alps, the Rocky Mountains, the Himalayas, the Andies, and the Caucasus Mountains, as well as in Japan, in New Zealand and in Iceland. In Finland avalanches are clearly rarer than in the other Nordic countries and in international comparison small.

Snow masses can be set in motion for different reasons. The most important factors are the quantity, structure and weight of the masses, wind, temperature and the angle of inclination. The prime mover is the weight of the mass, but an earthquake or tremor caused by traffic can also trigger an avalanche. If the release threshold in a hazardous area is already nearly reached, one slalom skier may be enough to set snow masses in motion.

Grassy slopes are more hazardous for avalanches than those covered with rough boulders; the snow layer must be so thick that it covers the unevenness of the ground and forms an even surface on which snow can slide. Avalanches are often preceded by heavy snowfalls and sudden rises in temperatures. A rising temperature breaks a previously formed weak layer of snow, and the increase in weight caused by a new snowfall forces the overlying layer to move.

"It is very difficult to predict snow avalanches, because so many variables are in effect. There have been attempts to create a reliable computer model, yet so far without success," Petri Shemeikka reports.

Increasing damage

Petri Shemeikka has compared the damage caused by avalanches in Kilpisjärvi, Lapland, in the Abisko National Park in the north of Sweden, and in St. Anton in the Austrian Alps, and he certainly has respect for the forces involved. Every year in addition to the 150-200 people killed by avalanches, they also destroy traffic routes and houses and alter the natural environment.

Sliding snow masses can move at high velocities, 10-70 m or sometimes even over 100 m per second, depending on the quality of snow, the type of avalanche and the slope. The quantities of snow vary from just a few cubic metres to millions of cu m. An avalanche can be dozens of metres in thickness, especially if the snow masses are tightly packed into a ravine.

An avalanche also causes considerable pressure: the pressure of snow is sometimes estimated as high as 139 tons/m2, and the force of the blast can be 2,000 kg/m2. "Such strong air pressure can throw buses and trucks off the road and crack solidly built houses even before the snow masses themselves have reached the place."

Once snow masses are in motion, it is practically impossible to stop them, but something can be done to minimize the damage. Centuries of experience have taught the inhabitants of mountainous areas how to live with the avalanche hazard. One common method of preventing a destructive avalanche is to trigger it artificially with explosives before the masses are too heavy. By means of earthworks an avalanche can also be forced to by-pass traffic routes and housing, and houses can be protected with walls built around them.

Estimates of avalanche incidence vary a great deal. Some people claim that they are increasing and some that they are decreasing in frequency. Petri Shemeikka is cautious: "It is safest to say that avalanches occur with about the same frequency as before, despite all the alleged greenhouse or erosion effects. Instead, the damage arising from avalanches is sure to rise, because people are burdening mountainous areas more heavily than before. In many cases man is really the guilty party, even if he does not realize this himself."

"The danger is greatest for tourists who roam mountainous areas completely ignorant of avalanches. This risk group also includes those who know about the danger but underestimate the force and velocity of the phenomenon."

Petri Shemeikka's personal views are firm: "I do not think of an avalanche as a destructive force but as an inherent part of nature. Destructive catastrophes follow when people move around and settle in areas where avalanches have always occurred, without adapting themselves to the local natural circumstances."

North of the Arctic Circle

Major avalanches rarely occur in Finland, and none are known to have caused casualties. Altitudes are not high here, slopes are not steep and rainfall is not heavy. In the south of Finland there are no sufficiently steep slopes for avalanches to occur at all, but in Lapland snowslides are known to happen occasionally.

In Kilpisjärvi there are about ten places where avalanches would be possible. The terrain is suitable also in the Teno and Kevo gullies in Utsjoki, and on Pallastunturi, Saariselkä and Pyhätunturi in Pelkosenniemi. The areas where tourists could be in danger are well known; they are marked on maps, and warning signposts are also used.

One of the largest avalanches in Finland took place in January 1990 in Kilpisjärvi, Enontekiö, about 275 km north of the Arctic Circle. The climate and vegetation in the area are subarctic. The annual rainfall averages 373 mm and the temperature -2.4oC. The coldest month is February (-13.9oC), the warmest is July (+10.4oC), and temperatures below -35oC are quite common in winter.

The avalanche started on the south-eastern slope of Pikku-Malla, 720 metres above sea level. The rocky slope is steep (about 43o), sparsely covered by low scrub. Alpine birch do not grow higher in elevation than 600 metres above sea level.

For some days just before the avalanche the temperature rose rapidly, the 24-hour average reaching above zero (+0.3oC). Snow, rain and sleet continued falling every day, and a strong westerly wind simultaneously caused drifting of snow. At the Kilpisjärvi meteorological station the snow thickness measured was 50 cm, but in many places drifts were much deeper.

On New Year's Eve, 1989, the temperature began to drop, but snow was still heavily drifting; a westerly wind of over 15 metres/second was gathering cold snow on top of old, wet and relatively warm layers. Then during the night the wet snow deposits on the slope began to slide and avalanched into the alpine birch wood growing further below.

The 500-metre avalanche cut a clear, wedge-form opening in the wood, about 350 wide on the tree line. Nearly all trees with trunks over 5 cm in diameter were downed or badly damaged. The avalanche did not, however, damage houses, roads or people. It was a surface avalanche, which is why the undergrowth was also saved.

Smaller avalanches are reported in the Malla Natural Park almost every year. However, the New Year snowslide of 1989-90 was exceptionally forceful. The old trees and stumps found at the end of the avalanche trail showed that major snowslides had occurred in this area before; they just have not been recorded.

Nina Korhonen

Umbruchzeiten benötigen Sendboten

Das wachsende Interesse an Engeln wird in Finnland allein daran ersichtlich, daß binnen eines Jahres acht Bücher über die kosmischen Sendboten erschienen sind. Reijo Työrinoja, Assistenzprofessor für systematische Theologie, ist der Ansicht, daß die Ursachen für den Engel-Boom im Zeitgeist und im kulturellen Umbruch zu suchen sind.

Eines von den in diesem Jahr veröffentlichten Engel-Büchern ist das von Olli Seppälä verfaßte Sachbuch "Näkymättömän hipaisu" ("Berührung des Unsichtbaren"). Seppäläs Auffassung zufolge beruht der Engel-Boom darauf, daß sich im Zuge des sogenannten "New Age" bestimmte geistige Werte immer weiter ausbreiten. Der Oberbegriff "New Age" umfaßt verschiedene mit der Geistigkeit und Gesundheit verbundene alternative Strömungen. Auch in der Reaktion auf den Materialismus und den Dämonen-Boom sieht Olli Seppälä eine Erklärung für den Engel-Enthusiasmus.

Der Glaube an Engel hat so alte und starke Traditionen, daß es in fast jedem Wissenschaftsbereich darüber etwas zu erforschen gibt. So kann man das Engel-Phänomen zunächst einmal theologisch angehen und die heiligen Schriften der Bibel und des Koran, die apokryphen Schriften und die jüdische Apokalyptik sowie die Theorien der Kirchenväter untersuchen. Die Engel-Forschung gehört natürlich auch zur Philosophie: Bis zum Mittelalter waren die Engel ein wichtiger Stoff für philosophische und theologische Erwägungen. Außergewöhnlich reizend ist der ästhetische Aspekt. In den Engelbildern gibt es für die Kunsthistoriker viel zu untersuchen. Dantes "Divina Commedia" ist wiederum ein gutes Beispiel dafür, daß auch in der Weltliteratur Engel vertreten sind.

Die Philosophie akzeptiert den Irrationalismus - und die Engel?

Reijo Työrinoja sieht die Ursache für die wachsende Engel- Begeisterung in der postmodernen Zeit und dem philosophischen Umbruch:

"In der postmodernen Zeit empfindet der Mensch die allgemeinen Kriterien der Rationalität als weniger streng. Die zentralen philosophischen Richtungen nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg - der Marxismus und die angloamerikanische Schule der analytischen Philosophie, der logische Positivismus - pflegten die alte Tradition der Einheit der Wissenschaft und propagierten ein ausgesprochen wissenschaftliches Weltbild. Heute ist das Feld der Wissenschaftsphilosophie in viele Teile zersplittert, und die Philosophie kann nicht mehr in gleicher Weise als Hüter der Rationalität dienen. Es hat Bestrebungen gegeben, die Philosophie von der Wissenschaft loszulösen und sie der Literatur und Fiktion anzunähern. Die Einstellung der Menschen zu den Wissenschaften allgemein hat sich gleichfalls gewandelt; der Idealismus und die positive Wertaufladung sind geschwunden.

"Heutzutage ist es eine intellektuell akzeptable Haltung, daß die Menschen keine einheitliche Gesamtauffassung davon haben, wie man die Dinge zu sehen hat, sondern die Welt kann aus zahllosen verschiedenen Perspektiven gesehen werden."

Työrinoja sieht im Geist der heutigen Zeit und dem des späten Mittelalters gewisse Übereinstimmungen. Der Engel-Boom kann laut Työrinoja gut ein Zeichen für einen Umbruch sein.

"Die Krise der westlichen Kultur und der Zeitgeist erinnern einen an das Spätmittelalter. Mit dem 14. Jahrhundert kamen viele neue Ideen auf; das traditionelle Verständnis von der Gesellschaft und den Werten wurde über Bord geworfen. Das Spätmittelalter war auch eine gute Zeit für Engel."

In dem Dogma und den Diskussionen der christlichen Kirchen spielen Engel zur Zeit indes noch keine besonders herausragende Rolle. Wenn man bedeutende Engel-Theoretiker suchen will, muß man bis zu den Scholastikern des Mittelalters zurückgehen.

Im protestantischen Kulturkreis ist die "Existenz" der Engel zwar offiziell bestätigt worden, aber die Engel bilden dennoch in der religiösen Erfahrungs- und Lebenswelt einen eher peripheren Bereich. Vielleicht wächst aber auch in der lutherischen Welt allmählich die Anerkennung der Engel. An der Universität Jyväskylä ist eine Examensarbeit über Begegnungen mit Engeln angefertigt worden, und an Material bestand kein Mangel.

"Traditionell hat man die Engel in der Welt der Kinder und der sakralen Kunst untergebracht. Die Reformation und die aus ihr hervorgegangenen protestantischen Kirchen haben sowohl die Angelologie als auch die Mariologie ausgemerzt. Luther stand der starken angelologischen Tradition kritisch gegenüber. Man hat bezeichnenderweise gesagt, daß Luther die guten Engel vertrieben, den Satan aber beibehalten habe."

"In der orthodoxen und der katholischen Kirche sind die Engel stärker gegenwärtig. Im Osten wird der Glaube an die Engel zum Beispiel von der Ikonentradition gestützt. In der religiösen Erfahrungswelt der Katholiken und Orthodoxen nimmt das visuelle Element eine wichtigere Stellung ein; Glauben ist Sehen. Im Protestantismus ist das verbale Element stärker vertreten. Da die heutige Welt immer mehr auf Bilder eingestellt ist, dürfte auch in der protestantischen Kultur die Visualität stärker zutage treten.

Die Ursprünge der Engel

In der Theologischen Fakultät interessieren sich zumindest die Exegetik und die systematische Theologie für Engel. Laut Työrinoja betreiben die Wissenschaftler und Lehrer indes keine eigentliche Angelologie, und zum Pflichtstudium der Studenten gehört sie auch nicht. Työrinoja selbst hat indes vor einigen Jahren eine Vorlesungsreihe über Angelologie abgehalten, und auch ein Hauptseminar zu diesem Thema hat es gegeben. In den Vorlesungen über mittelalterliche Philosophie kommt die Rede häufig auf Engel - wahrscheinlich deswegen, weil sie so faszinierend und in philosophischer Hinsicht interessant sind.

Man kann die Engel aufgrund der außerhalb der Bibel, des Korans und der heiligen Schriften gelassenen jüdischen oder christlichen Texte, aufgrund der Diskussionen der Scholastiker des Mittelalters oder auch als Objekte der religiösen Erfahrungswelt in theologisch-philosophischer Hinsicht untersuchen.

Die übrigen Völker, die in Palästina gelebt haben, und die Kulturen der Umgebung haben ihre Einflüsse in der jüdischen und christlichen Angelologie hinterlassen. Besonders stark war der Einfluß auf die Engel-Auffassungen während des Exils der Juden in Babylonien, im 6. Jahrhundert vor Christi Geburt.

"Die Engel an sich bilden keine ausschließlich christliche, jüdische oder islamische Gruppe. Engel hat es auch in der Religion der Sumerer und im persischen Zarathustra-Glauben gegeben."

Der Einfluß der umgebenden Kulturen wird u. a. darin ersichtlich, daß die assyrische Zahlenmystik immer noch den Hintergrund abgibt für die Einteilung der Engelhierarchie. Die Standardeinteilung der Engel ist zu einer festgefügten Engelhierarchie geworden, zu der neun Engelchöre gehören. Die Chöre sind in jeweils drei Triaden unterteilt: in der ersten Triade befinden sich die Seraphim, die Cherubim und die Throne, in der zweiten die Herrschaften, Mächte und Kräfte, in der dritten die Fürstentümer, die Erzengel und die Engel.

"Außerdem geht das Wort 'Cherub' auf das assyrische 'karub' zurück. Die Karuben waren in Assyrien geflügelte Ungeheuerstatuen, die die Tempel bewachten. Im Alten Testament wiederum bewachten die Cherubim nach dem Sündenfall das Paradies. Die Cherubim des Alten Testaments sind bisweilen in ähnlicher Weise dargestellt worden wie die assyrischen Karuben."

Im Buch Hesekiel gibt es detaillierte Beschreibungen von Engeln. So werden die Cherubim am Anfang des Buches beschrieben: "Sie hatten Menschengestalt, aber jedes hatte vier Gesichter und jedes von ihnen vier Flügel. Ihre Beine waren gerade, aber ihre Fußsohlen abgerundet wie die Fußsohle eines Kalbes, und sie funkelten so hell wie geglättetes Kupfer..."

Der Bibel zufolge dienen die Engel als Sendboten, als Ausführer der Aufträge Gottes und Erklärer des göttlichen Wortes, als Beschützer, Trostspender, Kämpfer, Lobpreiser sowie als Herolde der Endzeit.

"Die ursprüngliche Aufgabe der Engel war es, im Himmel für 'Programm' zu sorgen. Im Neuen Testament werden die Engel häufig erwähnt. Im kosmischen Drama der Apokalypse spielen die Engel eine zentrale Rolle. Neben ihrer Funktion als kosmische Musikanten und Sänger übernehmen sie auch praktische Aufgaben: Sie eilen zur Stelle, wenn auf der Welt jemand ins Straucheln gerät."

In der Bibel findet man letzten Endes nur recht wenig Angaben über Engel und ihre Aufgaben. Die apokryphen Schriften, die außerhalb des Kanons des Alten und Neuen Testaments gebliebenen jüdischen und urchristlichen Schriften, vermitteln ein besseres Bild von den guten und bösen Engeln. Im Henochbuch, das im ersten Jahrhundert nach Christus entstanden ist, gibt es relativ viele Angaben über Engel.

"Die Angelologie schöpft viel von außerhalb des Alten und Neuen Testamentes. Man findet sie reichlich in jüdischen Texten, zum Beispiel in der mystischen Kabbala aus dem Mittelalter. In ihr gibt es eine gewaltige Zahl an Engeln mit vielen verschiedenen Aufgaben. In diesen spiegeln sich Relikte alter polytheistischer Traditionen wider: Da es nur noch einen Gott gab, wurden die verschiedenen Handlungen den Engeln übertragen."

Im Alten Testament werden der Seraph bzw. Erzengel Michael und der Erzengel Gabriel erwähnt. Im apokryphen Tobiasbuch wird der Cherub Rafael genannt. In der Bibel werden die Flügel der Seraphim und Cherubim genannt, aber ansonsten treten die Engel flügellos auf.

Die Juden eigneten sich während der Exilzeit auf Gegensätzen beruhende Weltdeutungen und damit auch die Vorstellung von gefallenen Engeln an. Die christliche Deutung von gefallenen Engeln ist vor allem vom jüdischen Henochbuch beeinflußt worden. Der Bibel und der christlichen Überlieferung zufolge waren Stolz, ein freier Wille, Ungehorsam, Gier und ein Krieg im Himmel die Ursache für den Engelfall. Einer Erklärung zufolge war Satan ursprünglich ein Teil Gottes, der Schatten der Gottheit. Der Name "Luzifer" stammt aus dem Buch Jesaja und ist die lateinische Übersetzung für "Morgenstern". In der Bibel finden sich auch andere Namen für den Teufel wie zum Beispiel Beliar oder Beelzebub.

"Die Schar der Engel hat man sich aufgrund der alten Zahlenmystik vorgestellt. Dem außerhalb des Alten Testaments verbliebenen jüdischen Schrifttum zufolge beträgt die Zahl der bösen Engel nur ein Drittel von der Zahl aller Engel", erläutert Työrinoja.

Bedeutende Angelologen

Die Kirchenväter begannen sofort in den ersten Jahrhunderten nach Christi, die Auffassungen von den Engeln zu eigenen Lehren zusammenzufassen. Die philosophischen Richtungen dieser Zeit, die Gnostik und der Neuplatonismus, haben in diesen Lehren ihre Spuren hinterlassen. Die östliche und die westliche Tradition begannen, sich voneinander zu entfernen. Im Osten war das Bild von den Engeln mystischer in seiner kosmischen Dimension, im Westen betrachtete man die Engel praktischer als Helfer und Sendboten.

Reijo Työrinoja interessiert sich besonders für die sog. philosophischen Engel, zu denen man über die Scholastiker des Mittelalters Zugang findet. Die eng mit dem Dogma der Kirche verbundene Scholastik war die Wissenschaft und Theologie des Mittelalters. Im Mittelalter war das theologische und intellektuelle Interesse an den Engeln groß. Eine zentrale Stellung nahmen die Engel im Denken des Dominikaners Thomas von Aquin (1224-1274) ein, welches weitgehend auf der Philosophie von Aristoteles basiert. Weitere zentrale Angelologen waren Dionysios Areopagites (bekannt als Pseudo-Dionysios), der um die Wende des 5. und 6. Jahrhunderts wirkte, Johannes von Damaskus aus dem 8. Jahrhundert sowie Bonaventura, ein Zeitgenosse von Thomas von Aquin.

"Im Denken von Johannes von Damaskus werden die Engel mit Licht und Feuer gleichgesetzt. Diese Lichtwesen sind bei ihm nicht völlig immateriell. Sie sind auch in einem gewissen Sinne örtlich gebunden, d. h. wenn sich ein Engel im Himmel befindet, kann er nicht gleichzeitig auf der Erde sein. Die Engel sind auch zeitlich gebunden, aber nicht in derselben Weise wie die materiellen Körper", erläutert Työrinoja die Auffassungen des Johannes von Damaskus.

Thomas von Aquin betrachtet die Engel aus dem Blickwinkel der Philosophie der Natur und Physik. Die Welt der mittelalterlichen Philosophen ist - wie die des Thomas von Aquin - eine harmonische Welt, in der jedes Teil seinen eigenen Platz hat. Für Thomas ist ein Engel eine körperlose, freie Form, die nicht überall gegenwärtig ist, denn diese Eigenschaft kommt allein Gott zu. Als körperlose freie Form kann sich der Engel jedoch unmittelbar von einem Ort zu einem anderen begeben.

"Laut Thomas von Aquin kann ein Engel eine sichtbare Form annehmen, d. h. sich inkarnieren. Dabei schafft sich der Engel den Körper, indem er die Luft verdichtet. Obwohl die Engel über unbegrenzte Fähigkeiten verfügen, sind sie nicht imstande, eine Seele zu erschaffen. Vor diese Frage wurde Thomas gestellt, als er darüber nachdachte, mit wem der Jakob des Alten Testamentes eigentlich gerungen hatte."

"Die Engel differenzieren sich in Thomas' Denken aufgrund ihrer Form, worunter er den Umfang ihres Verständnisses versteht. Die Engel haben einen Intellekt, aber keine Vernunft. Das rationale Denken des Menschen ist ein Prozeß, der Zeit verlangt; ein Engel ist dagegen in den Bereichen der Logik und Mathematik eine Art allwissender, extrem schneller neutraler Computer. Da die Leistungsfähigkeit eines Engels gewaltig ist, erinnert er an künstliche Intelligenz. Das rationale Denken fehlt dem Engel jedoch, und er faßt auch keine Beschlüsse. Ein Engel entwickelt sich nicht und kann sich nicht verändern, denn er ist in einer bestimmten Weise programmiert. Er folgt dem Willen Gottes", erläutert Työrinoja.

Im 14. Jahrhundert begannen die Franziskaner, Thomas' Engel- Auffassungen zu kritisieren. Der Wandel des Begriffs der Möglichkeit führte zugleich allmählich hin zu der empirischen Wissenschaft der Neuzeit, und metaphysische Erklärungsmodelle waren unnötig geworden. Die Engel spielen in der Theologie der Franziskaner keine wissenschaftliche Rolle mehr, sondern werden mehr der Welt der religiösen Symbole zugewiesen.

"Bonaventura, ein Zeitgenosse von Thomas von Aquin, war jedoch an Engeln sehr interessiert. Er hat zu verstehen gegeben, daß ihm - ebenso wie Franziskus - ein Engel erschienen sei.

Bonaventura hat Aristoteles nicht in gleicher Weise hochgeschätzt wie Thomas, was auch in ihren Engelvorstellungen zu bemerken ist. Für Bonaventura waren die Engel mehr Individuen, Personen, und auch mehr Materie. Der Zusammenhang von Form und Materie ist bei Bonaventura enger als bei Thomas."

Pia Koivisto

Pooling the meagre research resources

A new Director of Research was recently appointed to the Academy of Finland. The new incumbent of the post, Jorma Hattula, has announced his intention of increasing the cooperation between the public organisations funding research. On the other hand he would like to make the various scientific committees at the Academy more independent.

Some might find the bear-like figure of Jorma Hattula, 55, intimidating as he rises from behind his desk, but quite without reason, for he is in fact a genial man with a twinkle in his eye; underneath, this grey-suited bureaucrat is a 'thoroughly nice guy'.

Dr. Jorma Hattula was appointed Director of Research at the Academy of Finland in October 1995. He took over from Elisabeth Helander, who had held the post ever since it was founded in 1975. The Board of the Academy decided on Hattula because "it is a good idea to change the people responsible for research and financing policy from time to time". Hattula himself reckons there will not be any need for a grand shake-up despite the change of director.

"It is perhaps true to say that the new director will mean a new outlook, but I feel no need to embark on a complete renovation."

The new Director of Research has the same hobby as his predecessor: both are keen sailors. Like Helander, Hattula is not, however, likely to have very much time for this hobby, since the Director of Research at the Academy of Finland is responsible for not only research funds totalling over FIM 366 million but also for Finland's science and research policy.

The biggest problem facing Finnish scholarship is that Finland is a small country. This is a problem that has long been recognised: there are few resources but a number of universities. The provincial universities are important for their regions, but at the same time meagre resources are being wasted as a result of having to be dispersed. In Finland, science policy is firmly married to regional policy.

Hattula is himself a provincial man, a protégé of the University of Jyväskylä in Central Finland. He has been Associate Professor and Professor of physics at the university for over 20 years. He cannot, however, be accused of favouritism, but he does admit that "the Finnish academic community is small, scattered and fragmented".

The problem is indeed a formidable one, and Hattula knows he cannot solve it. "Only the politicians can solve the problem."

Cooperation far from smooth

One smaller problem which Hattula knows he can do something about is the lack of cooperation between the Academy of Finland and the Technology Development Centre (TEKES). In his opinion, the Academy and TEKES should get together to discuss their research programmes - coordination should not be the subject of fine speeches only.

The Director already has a clear picture of the division of labour: the Academy should concentrate on financing basic research and TEKES on applied research. One research programme may involve both basic and applied research, in which case the parties concerned should agree on the financing. Duplicate projects are a waste of the meagre resources, Hattula points out.

This is not, however, the only place where there is duplication. Hattula has in fact set himself the five-year goal (his appointment is for a five-year term) of achieving maximum efficiency in the cooperation between the public systems financing research, such as the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Academy of Finland and TEKES.

Greater independence for scientific committees

Although Hattula only recently occupied the chair of Director of Research, he is quite familiar with the Academy, having spent six years as chairman of the Natural Science Committee.

Another issue he plans to attend to is the role of the scientific committees, which should, he feels, have greater autonomy than they do at present. The Academy has four such committees, dedicated to research in the natural sciences and technology, culture and society, health, the environment and natural resources.

"On the other hand it's a good thing that the Academy has observed a standard practice in its various scientific committees. But since the subjects are nevertheless different, and so are their financing requirements, it would be sensible to give them greater autonomy. In the humanities, for example, the Academy puts up the bulk of the funds, but in the natural sciences and technology the funds provided by the EU and companies are most important," Hattula explains.

Hattula has not changed his mind over giving the committees greater independence even though senior officials have warned him that "if you give them more leeway now, it will be difficult to retract later".

New legislation on the Academy of Finland was issued at the beginning of this year. Hattula does not believe there will be much need for modifying the Academy organisation in the near future.

"It's still too early to say how the new Act will work in practice. I regard the Academy as a self-critical organisation capable of changing as the need arises. I do, among other things, intend to launch an attack on the jungle of norms and weed out any that overlap, though I hope I won't find any that are at odds with one another."

Before taking up the post of Director of Research, Jorma Hattula spent two years as assistant head of department responsible for science policy at the Ministry of Education. The transfer from the university to the Ministry two years ago was, in his own words, a "cultural shock", because the researcher at a university can spend the whole day in the library poring over some problem, while at the Ministry he might be expected to issue a statement on something in a matter of hours. There was thus no time for background research; he just had to rely on the facts at his fingertips. Hattula does in fact expect to have more time at the Academy to investigate and debate problems than he did at the Ministry.

"This is something in between," he comments.

EU funds double those for Sweden

Luckily, however, the world of Finnish scholarship is not strewn with problems only, and the Finns can well be proud of their know-how in a number of fields. Hattula is loath to place various disciplines in any order of merit, but he does admit that Finland can be proud of its expertise in biochemistry, biomedicine and telecommunications. The Nevanlinna legacy is still evident in mathematics, and Lounasmaa and his teams have carried Finnish physics forward. In speaking of Finnish philosophers, Hattula mentions von Wright and Hintikka. The future of Finnish scholarship does, he feels, lie in its top units, and his policy will be to support research of the highest quality through these top units.

Another thing of which the Finns have reason to be proud is their access to the EU programmes and funds.

"We have been extremely lucky as regards EU funds and have received twice as much as Sweden in relation to the GDP and the size of the population, though this is not of course a competition," Hattula says with a chuckle.

Eija Hietanen

Väinämöinen sings in Vietnamese

The Vietnamese translator Bui Viet Hoa, 33, sighs heavily, when she looks back at the job of her life, the translation of the Kalevala into the Vietnamese language. It took five years, three of which she spent at home, immersed in ancient times.

Bui Viet Hoa strokes the golden cover of the Vietnamese translation of the Kalevala, Finnish epic. It was published in Vietnam last year. For many Finns, the Kalevala is as Finnish as you can get. Yet, it was not the cultural differences that caused the greatest problems for the translator.

"The tales of the Kalevala are told in one form or another in every culture. For instance, Väinämöinen, Ilmarinen and Lemminkäinen racing to woo the Maid of Northland is practically the same as the fairy-tale about the princess and the three princes."

On the other hand, the Vietnamese find the Finns' longing for nature, silence and solitude a bit peculiar.

"Marjatta gives birth to her son in the wilderness, aided by nature. This is incomprehensible for the Vietnamese, who are happy only when surrounded by a multitude of people."

Inspiration from Rauta-aika

Hoa found her way to this translation through a series of coincidences. Ten years ago she was studying Hungarian language and culture at the University of Budapest, where Finnish is a compulsory minor subject. The 150th anniversary of the Kalevala in 1985 was celebrated extensively in Hungary. Paavo Haavikko's Rauta-aika was shown on TV. It was then that Hoa read the Kalevala for the first time. Her Finnish teacher joked that perhaps she should start translating the epic into Vietnamese.

The next summer Hoa just had to come to Finland to attend a summer course in Finnish. On the Moscow train, Hoa came across Ortjo Stepanov, the national author of Karelia, who encouraged the idea of a Vietnamese Kalevala. Urged on by Stepanov and the Karelian cultural foundation in Kuhmo, Hoa gradually began to believe that translating the Kalevala into Vietnamese was a must. In 1989, Hoa came to the University of Helsinki to study and began her enormous task.

Translating the poetry was difficult, because the Finnish and Vietnamese languages are so different. The greatest problem was that Vietnamese is monosyllabic, so that a phrase like "tietäjä iänikuinen" is seven words in Vietnamese.

The Kalevala is in tetrameter, with eight syllables per line, but Hoa decided to use only seven syllables in her translation. Otherwise the rhythm of the poems would have sounded jerky to the Vietnamese ear.

"There were some advantages in the verbosity of the Vietnamese translation. It allowed me to explain in that "puolukka" is a red autumn berry, as Finnish nature is so exotic to the Vietnamese," Hoa illustrates.

As regards nature terminology, Hoa gave full rein to her creative institnct, explaining words, inventing new ones, using words for Vietnamese plants or animals. Thus, for instance, "vadelma" and "mustikka" became Vietnamese wild berries. Otherwise the epic is translated very closely.

Aino's moving fate

The Kalevala is very dear to Hoa. It is not only her first important work, but also "the Finns' heart, the Finnish nation's encyclopedia". Hoa thinks it unique that the genesis of the Kalevala is so well known. We know the details of Lönnrot's life and work, and one can go to Russian Karelia to wonder at the genuine Kalevala landscape.

For Hoa, the most touching characters in the Kalevala are Aino and Lemminkäinen's mother.

"Aino's fate is tragic, but very beautiful. In Lemminkäinen's mother I see the typical Vietnamese mother: a woman ready to sacrifice anything for her children."

Hoa is now back in Helsinki, this time with her husband and daughter. Her husband lectures at the University, and Hoa is compiling an anthology of Finnish literature in Vietnamese. And like mother like daughter: Le, who is two and a half, sings songs in the Kalevala metre and loves Mauri Kunnas' Canine Kalevala.

Virpi Melleri

Vaka vanha Vainamoyinan

Refugee author Sivalingam Ramalingam wanted to pay off his debt of gratitude to Finland; he translated the Kalevala into Tamil.

The Finnish national epic is now also available in the Tamil language. The translator, Sivalingam Ramalingam, Siva for short, holds the 480-page volume in his hand. It is the Kalevala, Pinlantin teciya kavyam.

The three-year toil is over. Embarking on it, Siva did not know if he was ever going to finish it. Still more distant was the prospect of finding a publisher and a market for it. This was still uncertain when the translation was finished.

Siva was driven to this herculean task by deep emotions. He came to Finland in 1983, when he was granted political asylum here. He does not want to go into the sad circumstances which drove his family from their home country Sri Lanka, where they belonged to the Tamil minority.

A passion for literature

In Sri Lanka Siva wrote popular entertainment for the Tamils, who have a passion for literature. He published six novels and countless short stories. He felt that during his stay in Finland he had lost contact with his own language, that he had lost his working tool.

In fact, Siva would have liked to do everything the other way around: to show his gratitude by translating Tamil epics, which go back thousands of years. When this came to nothing, Siva took up the Kalevala as a challenge. In his translation, he could draw upon his own writing talent as well as his knowledge of Finnish.

Now and again he has worked as a research assistant at the University of Helsinki and was able to translate the Kalevala as part of his work. "I found that translating was more than just a job for me, it became an obsession," Siva says. At times he got up at four in the morning to switch on his computer.

The translation is mainly based on the Finnish original, but in difficult passages he also took a look at an English translation.

Siva soon realised that the Kalevala is not something you just pick up and translate. He was afraid he had lost the feel of his own language. He sent the most demanding poems to a poet friend in Sri Lanka to be checked.

Tamil is tortuous in orthography and poetic in semantic content. It has 18 consonants and 12 vowels. In Tamil the consonants are called the body and the vowels the spirit.

Translating the Kalevala into Tamil is no joke

Translating the Kalevala into Tamil is no joke: 90 million people speak the language as their mother tongue, 55 million in southern India and 4.5 million in Sri Lanka. There are also Tamil minorities in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Mauritius and Fiji.

The South Indian weekly Kumudam, which is published in Madras and has a circulation of 625,000, has already written up the Tamil-language Kalevala.

Such a large number of people should include many readers for the 1000 exemplars of the Tamil Kalevala, but Siva worries that the price will be beyond the means of ordinary people. Its list price of 200 rupees corresponds to an average weekly wage.

On several occasions when translating, Siva came to think of the Tamil saying "Those who forsake the pond like birds when it dries up are no friends; fiends are those who, like the water-lily, suffer with the pond."

But Siva has also found friends when he needed them. A printer in Hong Kong printed the exquisite Kalevala at a much lower price than any other publisher closer to Finland.

The Department of Asian and African Studies of the University of Helsinki has produced a brochure on the Tamil-language Kalevala, which has been sent to societies of Tamil culture and literature all over the world.

The Tamil Culture Society in Colombo will publicise the Kalevala extensively, and the Finland-Sri Lanka Society has promised to distribute 100 volumes to libraries in Sri Lanka.

Including this version, the Kalevala has been translated into 45 languages. The Finnish Ministry of Education and the Finnish Literature Society supported the translation.

Siva is unemployed now, but gives some courses in Tamil at the University. Since he is already 59, the Finnish labour authorities are in no hurry to find him a job.

Author Siva is longing to translate again. The Unknown Soldier? No, Sinuhe, "part of the whole world's common cultural heritage". After the Kalevala, the 768 pages of Sinuhe seem like nothing at all.

Anna Paljakka

The Kalevala articles were originally published in the daily newspaper Helsingin Sanomat.

In vino veritas

Finnish aspects of growing the vine and drinking wine

For obvious climatic reasons, Finland has not been famous for its viticulture. The grapevine has not grown here, and drinking habits have often favoured other things than wine, such as beer and spirits. For years, wine was an expensive import, bought and consumed by "snobs". But, for the last few years, there has been great interest in and rapidly growing demand for wine. Along with this new trend, real enthusiasts have started to ask whether the vine would really grow in Finland. Would it be possible to produce Finnish wines as well?

Since Prohibition was repealed in 1932, Finnish alcohol policy has been strictly in the hands of the state monopoly Alko. Now that many solid institutions have been shaken by the EU regulations, Alko also has been compelled to adopt a more liberal policy.

But this is only one of the reasons for a new "viticultural climate". The general attitude to wine-drinking has changed, and there seems to be social demand for wine. Finns travel a lot, mostly to vine-growing European countries, and bring back new tastes and habits. So Europe is getting smaller in many ways.

The traditional European vine Vitis vinifera is a tricky thing to grow. It needs two successive warm years to produce the grapes and a yearly growing season of at least five months. In Finland, such periods have normally been very irregular and, from the vine-growing point of view, far too uncertain. But experiments carried out in plastic greenhouses have been much more promising.

Long-term fascination

Growing the vine in Finland has long fascinated people, although conditions do not seem to favour it. Finland has a long tradition of stronger alcoholic beverages and a reputation for heavy drinking, which is not based so much on actual statistical quantities as on the tradition of drinking a lot at one time. A hundred years ago, the nobility drank wine, but the common people made their own beer and spirits.

It was actually due to the fascination of an eager amateur of vine-growing, Mr Poju Astala from Urjala in West Finland, that got Meeri Saario from the Horticulture section of the Department of Plant Production of the University of Helsinki interested in the subject. Mr Astala donated to the Department his manuscript on growing the vine in Finland, which contained the results from his personal experiments, but was not, as such, ready to be printed.

But, with the manuscript also came a collection of plants, which gave the real impetus for the start of new, scientific experiments. In 1985, the first Beta, Fredonia and Foch varieties, which are all of North American origin, and some European plants representing the Vitis vinifera species, were planted.

A thermal problem

In her research, Saario concentrated on comparing vine-growing in the open and in an unheated plastic greenhouse. The first results were available in three years. They clearly indicated that growing grapevines in Finland in the open is risky and uncertain. The grapes may ripen, but contain very little sugar. This would also make them unsuitable for wine production. Also, the European plants did not survive the open-air experiment. But the results from the plastic greenhouses with the North American varieties were much more promising. Beta, which is a variety of the North American Vitis riparia species, proved the most winter resistant. It is also very suitable for greenhouses. Other promising greenhouse varieties were Fredonia (Vitis Labruscana), Foch (Vitis vinifera x Vitis riparia), and Valiant (Vitis Labruscana x Vitis riparia).

The vine requires a certain thermal heat unit, so that a sufficient number of days with a temperature surpassing + 5o C must be achieved. In unheated greenhouses, this was easily possible, and the amount and quality of the grapes were quite satisfactory.

The Institute of Horticulture of the Agricultural Research Centre in Piikkiö has also experimented for years with vine- growing in unheated plastic greenhouses, and the results are similar. A famous Beta plant has adorned one of the office buildings since 1939.

A commercial problem

The generally "unreliable" Finnish climate has given rise to several new agricultural branches which are more or less dependent on heated or unheated greenhouses. For instance, the west coast has specialized in cultivating tomatoes and cucumbers. Since it has been proved that the vine also grows in an unheated Finnish greenhouse, could it be possible to start commercial wine production on this basis?

"Growing the vine in Finland for wine production does not seem very sensible, since more southern countries produce any amount much cheaper and, besides, more than enough", Saario says. But exactly the same could be said about growing tomatoes in central Finland, which obviously has not prevented people from doing it for years.

The famous greenhouse effect does not seem to improve Finnish growing conditions either, since it brings along very extreme and unpredictable changes in the climate, says Saario.

Worldwide viticultural revolution

New tendencies favouring wine consumption are not a merely Finnish or even European phenomenon. The demand for wine seems to be generally increasing, or aggressive marketing has increased the demand. The traditional European wine-growing countries have to face very heavy competition from the new continents, where highly automated production methods have changed the nature of the wine-making business. The processes are more industrial, and the wines produced are very homogeneous. Or uninteresting, as some wine-lovers say. Anyway, as a result quite good wines from Australia, Chile, and California are available at reasonable prices, and wine drinking is no longer a snobbish hobby.

Since the market seems to be growing, there is also a great demand for new varieties of the vine, and anxious crossbreeding is going on in various countries. Most new varieties are of the European Vitis vinifera species, but new hybrids are being produced both in North America and Russia with the purpose of finding plants that could be cultivated further north than before. The Russians are experimenting for instance with Vitis amurensis, which is the best known Asian vine species.

As Meeri Saario's research has shown, the North American varieties have so far proved the most suitable for Finnish conditions. The results of crossbreeding might be even more interesting for us, if one day somebody starts commercial vine- growing in Finland.

The berry-wine boom

The loud cry for more wine has also led to a huge Finnish berry- wine boom. For lack of grapes, the Finns have always, to some extent, made wines of berries, apples and other fruit. Towards the end of the 80s, the home-made wines started to gain enormous popularity. Now, based on the same tradition, commercial berry- wine production has started in several places and new enterprises keep coming all the time. The berry-wine production follows both Finnish and German traditions and uses, for instance, black currants and apples as raw materials. ¨

Anna-Maija Gruber

Nordic myths get together

The Nordic archaeological institutes in Athens have cooperated for years, and as a result a Pan-Nordic scientific library has been opened on the southern side of the Acropolis.

The library is situated in the Makrijiannis part of the city in the same block as the Finnish and Swedish institutes. Also the Norwegian and Danish institutes are nearby, the Norwegian one just a stone's throw away.

The new director of the Finnish Institute at Athens, Dr. phil. Kirsti Simonsuuri, finds the Nordic cooperation in Athens exceptionally good: "The somewhat remote location of Athens has probably helped. Perhaps it would not have worked equally well in some other European metropolis."

The four-storey building with almost 500 sq.m. was bought in 1989 and turned into a library after a renovation.

The library itself consists of three storeys with four rooms for research work and 15 secluded areas for studying. There is a modern storeroom in the basement with a sliding shelf system.

The Swedish institute in Athens has placed about 35,000 volumes in the common library. According to the director of the Institute, Assistant Professor Berit Wells, the library is especially valuable because of an extensive collection of scientific magazines; all issues of some magazines have been preserved since the end of the 19th century.

The Finnish Institute at Athens has also made some considerable contributions.

But the director of the Norwegian institute in Athens, Mr Erik $stby, is unable to donate to the library the books possessed by the Norwegians, since the Greek who donated them happened to forbid this. Nevertheless, the Norwegian books will form a significant part of the common library's register.

The long Odyssey of a mythologist

The Finnish Institute at Athens started in 1984. The first director of the Institute was professor Paavo Castrén and, after him, Professors Jaakko Frösén, Henrik Lilius and Gunnar af Hällström. The oldest of the Nordic institutes is the Swedish one, which was established in 1948. The Finnish Institute is the second oldest.

A circle was enclosed when Kirsti Simonsuuri came to Athens, because she started her Greek studies almost 30 years ago at the University of Helsinki and later submitted her thesis on Homer at Cambridge University. Now she is on a worldwide "Odyssey" visiting places where Western myths were born.

"I met Greek students at Cambridge in the 1970s and have ever since sympathized with them", Simonsuuri says. "It is funny how they always say that they are special cases, special people like the Finns, who say that nobody understands us."

"The Greek have good reason for saying so, because, besides Chinese, Greek is known to be the only language with a perspective of 2,000 to 3,000 years. Of course, the language has not remained the same, but it is the change that interests a mythologist. The myths and the images, ideas and concepts that they contain - they are all changing with the times."

The tradition of symposium is maintained

From the very beginning, symposiums on various themes have been arranged in the Institute. Simonsuuri wants to go on with this tradition: symposiums are being planned, among other things, on the oracle tradition and on women's roles in tragedies and religious life.

While in Greece, Simonsuuri is especially looking for an answer to the question: What is a myth?

According to her, a myth is the most difficult object to study: "I have studied myths for a long time from various points of view and got acquainted with literary material, but Greece offers other possibilities because the archaeological material is there."

There is a team at the Institute of ten young Finnish researchers representing classical philology, archaeology, philosophy, the science of literature and the science of religion. Every one gives an answer to the myth question from the point of view of his or her own field, and finally the work done by the team will be compiled in one publication.

Leena Vatanen

The article was previously published in the daily newspaper Helsingin Sanomat.

A new mutation causing hereditary infertility

A new mutation causing hereditary ovarian dysfunction has been identified in collaboration between the Department of Medical Genetics of the University of Helsinki (Laboratory of Professor Albert de la Chapelle), the Department of Physiology of the University of Turku (Laboratory of Professor Ilpo Huhtaniemi), the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics of the University of Oulu, and Spanish and German researchers.

The condition caused by the new mutation is called ovarian dysgenesis (ODG) and the main symptoms are lack of menstruation with infertility. The first report of the new mutation was published in the scientific journal Cell in September 1995 (Aittomäki et al.: Mutation in the follicle-stimulating hormone receptor gene causes hereditary hypergonadotropic ovarian failure).

The study is based on Dr. Kristiina Aittomäki's previous research on the heredity of menstrual disorders in Finland. The disease is inherited in the autosomal recessive fashion and the incidence in Finland is 1 in 8300 new-born girls. It shows an uneven geographical distribution and is almost three times more common in the north-central part of the country. How common this disease might be in other countries is not yet known. The possible effects of this mutation in males are also not known.

The mutation disturbs the action of the follicle-stimulating hormone which is synthesized in the pituitary and controls ovarian function. The mutation was identified in the gene encoding the receptor of this hormone, the follicle-stimulating hormone receptor, commonly abbreviated FSHR. It disturbs the effects of the hormone in the ovaries thus preventing the hormonal production and the production of oocytes and causing lack of menstruation with infertility.

The identification of this new mutation improves our understanding of menstrual disorders and infertility. Though ovarian dysgenesis itself cannot presently be corrected, the patients are treated with hormonal replacement therapy for lack of ovarian function and with ovum donation for infertility, so they can have children. Once the full mechanism of the disease is known, it may become possible to create better means for the treatment of patients.

For further details please contact:

Kristiina Aittomäki, MD or Albert de la Chapelle, professor Department of Medical Genetics, University of Helsinki, Tel: (+358-0) 434 61

Ilpo Huhtaniemi, professor Department of Physiology of the University of Turku, Tel: (+358-21) 6337579

Juha Tapanainen, MD Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, University of Oulu, Tel: (+358-81) 3152011

Hungary calling

Laila Lehikoinen, lecturer in the Finnish language at the University of Helsinki, spent six years as Associate Professor teaching Finnish language and culture at the Lorand Eötvös University in Budapest. A lot changed in those six years.

In October 1989 Laila Lehikoinen found herself caught up in the wild rejoicing that marked the end of the Communist regime and replacement of the people's republic with a republic. Over the years, McDonalds and computer stores made their appearance in the Budapest street scene, and so did the beggars. The nation fell into the clutches of a serious economic recession and refugees streamed in from the former Yugoslavia.

"The Hungarians' standard of living is still way below the Finns', and the gap between rich and poor is more pronounced," Laila Lehikoinen reports. "There are people who have made a fortune almost overnight, and people living in the extremes of poverty. The housing shortage in Budapest is appalling. Although accommodation was available for students, the majority of the students lived with their parents or grandparents until they were thirty."

Over the years more liberal academic breezes began to blow through the Hungarian universities. When Laila Lehikoinen first went to Budapest, the teaching was still much the same as in schools, and the students were not used to studying independently. The strict annual course system has since been relaxed, and the students are no longer expected to progress all at the same pace. In order to qualify for a study grant, the student must, however, obtain a certain number of credits each year, as in Finland.

This autumn the universities began charging tuition fees which, despite their mass demonstrations, the students have not succeeded in getting repealed. Due to the reduction in government funding, the universities are being forced to patch up their budget in some other way. Some departments have, for example, tried to obtain corporate sponsorship in the form of computers or stationery.

On arrival in Hungary, Lehikoinen had to rethink her lectures to allow for the fact that there was no overhead projector and the faculty had only one duplicator.

"The old boys in charge of the duplicator willingly turned out copies for a suitable tip. The other, and often easier answer was to cross the Danube to the Finnish Embassy and get my copying done there," she reports.

Lehikoinen's study, designed for two, almost burst at the seams as ten students of Finnish gathered round her desk. Getting a wall-to-ceiling blackboard installed was a feat in itself.

Teachers in Hungary command respect

Although the academic fields are not particularly well-paid in Hungary, and university teachers are in fact considerably underpaid, the Hungarians have a greater respect for a university education and titles than the Finns. It is a terrible faux pas to omit part of a person's title when addressing an envelope.

In Finland, says Laila, it is difficult to tell the professors apart from the other teachers or members of staff, but in Hungary anyone below the rank of professor has virtually no say in the department's affairs. The teacher is, however, always independent in that s/he is responsible primarily to his/her students. Getting on with the students is most important of all.

"In Finland a student might say to a professor, 'Hi, give us a hand, will you?', but a Hungarian student would timidly enquire, "Herr Professor, would you possibly have a moment to spare?'. The Hungarians studying Finnish found it difficult to get used to the use of the familiar form of 'you' in the Finno-Ugrian Department. When speaking Finnish, they would finally pluck up the courage to use the familiar 'you', but in Hungarian it seemed to be beyond them."

The Finno-Ugrian Department has a dozen or more teachers. Ten students majoring in Finnish are admitted each year. This small intake will, it is hope, guarantee the students a job at the end of the day.

The groups being small and coherent, the students have a closer relationship with their teacher than in Finland. On graduation the students of Finnish often end up working for one of the numerous Finnish-Hungarian companies established in the past few years, at the embassy, or as interpreters and translators. Many of them also study other languages, such as English, French and German, and they tend to find jobs using languages.

Way to Finland free

The Finns have always enjoyed a warm reception in Hungary, and the Hungarians are more aware of the linguistic affinity between the two nations than the Finns. The firm ties between Finland and Hungary date from the 1920s-1930s, and the Evangelical-Lutheran churches have for decades now been in close contact with one another.

"One reason for the kindred feelings was that during the Communist era the doors leading in other directions were closed, but ties with Finland were permissible," Laila Lehikoinen admits.

Now that the doors have been opened, the old routes are not enough. More avenues need to be explored. The friendship societies are still active in various parts of the country, but they do not interest the young people. The university passes on requests for speakers and invitations to come and tell schoolchildren about Finland and to arrange quizzes. Two high-schools in Budapest still offer Finnish right up to matriculation level.

To the Finn, the relationship between Finnish and Hungarian may seem misleading if he cannot pick out any words. The rhythm is the same as in rapidly-spoken Finnish. At lexical level the linguistic affinity is impossible for the layman to spot. Laila Lehikoinen points out that the grammar of Finnish and Hungarian is similar in structure. There are numerous verb forms and inflections, and as many as 25 cases. Over the millennia the languages have, however, developed in different directions, and Hungarian is not an easy language for the Finns to learn.

"The Hungarian students do, admittedly, say that Finnish is easier to learn than English. There is a certain similarity in the way the Finns and the Hungarians think, and this is reflected in the figures of speech, for example, even though the cultures are quite different," is Lehikoinen's analysis.

Pauliina Susi

Finnish as a foreign language at foreign universities

Finnish has long been taught at a number of universities in Scandinavia and Central Europe - since the 19th century already in such cities as Copenhagen, Oslo, Uppsala, Budapest and Tartu. It is, however, nowadays offered by over 70 universities in 23 countries: all the Scandinavian countries, most of the European countries and in the United States, Canada and Japan. All in all there are over a hundred professors, lecturers or teachers of the Finnish language at foreign universities.

"The study of and research into Finnish at foreign universities is supervised and supported by a board of experts at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Council for Instruction of Finnish for Foreigners known for short as UKAN," reports its Secretary General Anna-Maija Raanamo.

The status and position of Finnish varies from one university to another. Some twenty universities offer Finnish both as a main and a subsidiary subject, whereas in others it is an elective subject, Anna-Maija Raanamo reports. "People are interested in Finland as a Nordic country, because of its Baltic connections and its geopolitical position. This year our joining the EU has engendered growing interest."

Lecturer's job varied

The job of the foreign lecturer varies from one country and university to another. "The lecturer from Finland is primarily responsible for the teaching of Finnish language and culture at the university, but the work also involves seminars, library work, holding language tests, receiving guests, and arranging cultural events," Raanamo reports.

The foreign lecturer is also an efficient cultural envoy and expert on Finland in his or her elected country. "The work done by the lecturer to make Finland and its culture known differs from that of, say, the embassy official in that the lecturer's target group consists of young people." In addition to teaching, many of the lecturers also translate, interpret, train people or produce teaching material.

What makes the foreign student choose Finnish?

Many of the students of Finnish are motivated purely by linguistic reasons. The students of general linguistics have to take one non-Indo-European language, and this includes Finnish. The curriculum for students of comparative Finno-Ugrian linguistics and for students majoring in, for example, Estonian or Hungarian may also include Finnish.

Anna-Maija Raanamo says that some of the students of Finnish qualify as teachers, interpreters, translators or journalists. A command of Finnish is also of practical use to tourist guides and people employed in business. Diplomats, doctors and social workers may also find they need some Finnish. Nowadays Finnish is also being studied by, for example, EU officials, and youngsters intending to study in Finland.

"Some take up Finnish for personal reasons, such as to learn the language of their forefathers, husband or wife," says Anna-Maija Raanamo. There are, for example, numerous people of Finnish descent in the United States, Canada, Australia and Sweden. Or the study of Finnish may be motivated by almost any subject connected with Finnish language and culture, society, history, etc."

Courses in Finnish language and culture are offered by the following universities and departments abroad:

AUSTRIA                 Universität Wien                                                 
Institut für Finno-Ugristik                         Wien        
BULGARIA                Universität Sv. Kliment Ohridski                         
Obnto ezikoznani                         
CANADA                  Lakehead University                         
Department of Languages/Finnish          
                        Thunder Bay 
                        University of Toronto                         Finnish 
Studies Programme                         Toronto     
CZECH                   Univerzita Palackého REPUBLIC                Katedra 
germanistiky                         Olomouc 
                        Karlova Univerzita                         Katedra 
lingvistiky a ugrofinistiky                         Praga 
DENMARK                 Københavns universitet                         
Institut for nordisk filologi                         Kobenhavn 
                        Aarhus Universitet                         Institut 
for Lingvistik                         Århus 
ESTONIA                 Tallinna Pedagoogigaülikool                         
Pohjamaade keelte osakond                         Tallinn 
                        Tartu Ülikool                         Soome-ugri 
keelte kateeder                         Tartu 
FRANCE                  Université de Caen                         
Département d'Etudes Nordiques                         Caen 
                        Université de Paris III                         
Centre d'Etudes Finno-ougriennes                         Paris                  
GERMANY                 Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin                         
Nordeuropa-Institut                         Berlin 
                        Universität Bonn                         
Sprachwissenschaftliches Institut                         Bonn 
                        Europa-Universität Viadrina                         
Sprachenzentrum                         Frankfurt (Oder) 
                        Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz                         
Germanistisches Institut                         Germersheim 
Nordisches Institut                         Greifswald 
                        Georg August-Universität                         
Finnisch-ugrisches Seminar                         Göttingen 
                        Universität Hamburg                         
Finnisch-Ugrisches Seminar                         Hamburg 
                        Christian Albrecht Universität                         
Nordisches Institut                         Kiel                                                             
Universität zu Köln                         Nordisches Institut                         
                        Universität Leipzig                         Institut 
für Nordistik                         Leipzig 
München                             Institut für Finnougristik                         
                        Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität                         
Slavisch-Baltisches Seminar                         Münster                                     
GREAT BRITAIN           Liverpool John Moores University                         
School of Modern Languages                         Liverpool 
                        University of London                         School 
of Slavonic and East European     
                        Studies                         London 
                        University of East Anglia                
                        School of Modern Languages and European                            
Studies                         Norwich 
HUNGARY                 Eötvös Loránd Tudományegyetem                         
Finnugor Nyelvtudományi Tanszék                         Budapest 
                        Kossuth Lajos Tudományegyetem                         
Finnugor Nyelvtudományi Tanszék                         Debrecen 
                        JPTE (Janus Pannonius Tudományegy-                                    
etem)                          Finnugor Tanszék                         Pécs 
                        JATE (József Attila Tudományegyetem)                         
Finnugor Tanszék                         Szeged               ISLAND                  
Háskóli Islands                         Reykjavik 
ITALY                   Università degli Studi di Bologna                         
Dipartimento di lingue e letterature                                    
straniere moderne                         Bologna 
                        Università di Firenze                         
Cattedra di filologia ugro-finnica                         Firenze 
                        Istituto Universitario Orientale                         
Dipartimento di studi dell'Europa                          Orientale                         
JAPAN                   Tokai University                         Department 
of Nordic Studies, Faculty of                                    Literature                         
                        Kansai University of Foreign Studies                         
                        Osaka University of Foreign Studies                         
                        Daigaku Shorin International Language                              
Academy                         Tokyo 
LATVIA                  Latvijas Universitnte                         
Ziemelvalstu sekcija                         Riga 
LITHUANIA               Klaipedos universitetas                         
Pohjoismainen kieli- ja                  
                         tiedotuskeskus                         Klaipeda 
NETHERLANDS             Universiteit van Amsterdam                         
Skandinavistiek                         Amsterdam 
                        Rijksuniversiteit te Groningen                         
Finoegrische talen en hun letterkunde                         Groningen 
NORWAY                  Høgskolen i Finnmark                         Alta 
                        Universitetet i Oslo                         
Institutt för östeuropeiske og orien-    
                              talske studier                         Oslo 
                        Universitetet i Tromso                         
Institutt for språk og litteratur                         Tromso 
POLAND                  Uniwersytet im. A. Mickiewicza                         
Katedra Skandynawistyki                         Poznan 
                        Uniwersytet Warszawski                         
Katedra Filologii Wegierskiej                         Warszaw 
ROMANIA                 Universitatea Babes Bolyai                         
Catedra de Filologie maghiarn                         Cluj-Napoca 
RUSSIA                  Udmurtskij Gosudarstvennyj Universitet                         
Fakultet udmurtskoj filologii                         Inevsk 
                        Marij Gosuniversitet                         Kafedra 
mariskoi i finno-ugroskoi                                     filologii                         
                        Moskovskij Gosudarstvennyj Universitet                         
Kafedra finno-ugorskoj filologii                         Moskva 
                        Petrozavodskij Universitet                         
Kafedra finskogo jazyka i literatury                         Petroskoi 
                        Rossijskij Gosudarstvennyj Pedago-                           
gitneskij Universitet im Am Herzena                         Kafedra vtorogo 
inostrannogo jazyka                         St. Petersburg 
                        St. Petersburgski Gosudarstvennyj                              
Universitet                         Kafedra finno-ugorskoj filologii                         
St. Petersburg 
                        Mordovskij Gosudarstvennyj Universitet                         
Finno-ugorskoje otdelenije                         Saransk 
                        Syktyvkarsa Gosudarstvennyj Universitet                         
Finn-ugor fakultet                         Syktyvkar                                                             
Tverskij Gosudarstvennyj Universitet                         Tver               
SLOVAKIA                Univerzita Komenského                         Katedra 
madarského jazyka a literatúry                         Bratislava 
SPAIN                   Universidad Autónoma de Madrid                         
Madrid               SWEDEN                  Göteborgs universitet                         
Finska avdelningen                         Göteborg 
                        Lunds universitet                         
Finsk-ugriska institutionen                         Lund 
                        Stockholms universitet                         Finska 
institutionen                         Stockholm 
                        Uppsala universitet                         
Finsk-ugriska institutionen                         Uppsala 
                        Umeå Universitet                         
Institutionen för finska                         Umeå                                     
UNITED STATES           University of Massachusetts       OF AMERICA              
Department of Germanic Languages and                                     
Literatures                         Amherst, MA 
                        The University of Texas at Austin                         
Department of Linguistics                         Austin, TX 
                        Indiana University                         Department 
of Central Eurasian Studies                         Bloomington, IN 
                        University of Oregon                         
Department of Germanic Languages and                                    
Literatures                         Eugene, OR 
                        Suomi College                         Hancock, MI 
                        The University of Wisconsin                         
Department of Scandinavian Studies                         Madison, WI 
                        University of Minnesota                         
Department of Scandinavian Languages and                                    
Literature                         Minneapolis, MN 
                        Columbia University                         
Department of Germanic Languages                         New York, NY                                                  
Brigham Young University                         English Department                         
Provo, UT 
                        University of Washington                         
Department of Scandinavian languages and                                    
Literature                         Seattle, WA 

Forelæsninger er ikke nok

Undervisningseksperten Mike O'Neil foreslår, at universiteter indfører fjernundervisning og sætter studerende til at undervise hinanden. Målet er selvstændige og initiativrige studerende

Umiddelbart ser spørgsmålet ganske uskyldigt ud: "Hvad betyder det at lære?".

Men når Mike O'Neil, selv begynder at besvare sit spørgsmål, går alvoren op for lytteren:


Men eksemplet med den omhyggelige forelæser - hvor mange undervisere benytter denne metode? - tjener først og fremmest til at bringe problemet på bane. Det problem Mike O'Neil gennem mere end 10 år har været beskæftiget med at finde løsninger på, dels teoretisk gennem de bøger han har skrevet, dels praktisk gennem sine erfaringer med at videreuddanne undervisere på højere læreanstalter i hjemlandet England og i flere andre lande.

Og problemet er: Hvordan opnår man optimal undervisning af studerende?

Indfør fjernundervisning

Som Mike O'Neil understreger er der ikke een perfekt måde at gennemføre undervisning på. Radikale ændringer af den undervisningspraksis, som har været reglen på en undervisningsinstitution, kan være så radikale, at hverken ansatte eller studerende kan følge med, og så fører ændringerne ikke til forbedringer. Men når det er sagt, har Mike O'Neil en vision om, hvordan målet - initiativrige, selvstændige, kreative og selvtillids-fulde studerende - nås.

Studerende skal undervise

Dyr vision

Realiseringen af Mike O'Neils ide om fjernundervisning ville betyde meget store ændringer på ethvert dansk universitet. Det er han udmærket klar over.

Men han forudser også problemer med indstillingen hos mange undervisere, hvis de blev sat overfor så drastiske krav om ændringer af deres arbejdsfunktioner, som hans forslag ville medføre. Ikke mindst fordi der ikke ville blive særlig meget tid til forskning. Mike O'Neil ser det som et stort problem, at mange undervisere prioriterer forskning langt højere end undervisning.

Men hvad skulle de egentlig lave underviserne, når de studerende underviser sig selv og fjernundervisnings- materialet er sat på skinner? Ja, de skulle - bl.a. - holde forelæsninger.

Den seneste bog, Mike O'Neil har skrevet, er: Achieving Quality Learning in Higher Education. P. Nightingale and M. O'Neil. London Kogan Page, 1994.

Lars Lønstrup

Personal connections crucial in trading with China

It is a long way from the mountaneous regions by the Mongolian border in China to Finland. In these regions, in a city called Harbin, Ms. Wen Liu, 32, spent her childhood. Wen's parents, as so many other educated people during the cultural revolution, were forced to leave the cities for the countryside. Despite the hardships Wen says her childhood was a happy one.

The lively Wen thinks that her ending up in Finland was a sheer coincidence. Wen graduated from the University of Ji Lin in 1986 with a major in international law, and she planned to continue her studies in the United States. However, her plans fell through when the authorities adopted stricter policies and university graduates were required to work in China for five years after graduation in addition to a one-year compulsory traineeship.

Wen had already been admitted to the University of Denver when she found out that she had to stay in China. After her judicial traineeship, Wen specialized in Chinese foreign trade and lectured on international contract and commercial law at an institution run by the Ministry of Foreign Trade in Beijing.

Gradually Wen became more and more interested in the Scandinavian countries. She learned about the opportunity to study in Finland from a friend of hers whose mother is Finnish.

Wen says that practically the only things she knew about Finland were the high standard of living and that the status of women there was good.

Wen came to Finland two years ago to study in the international LL.M. Degree Programme at the University of Helsinki. In her thesis she compared the newly enacted law in product liability in China with the corresponding EU directive. Wen completed her diploma after a year and a half and was ready to return home, but Fate had decided otherwise...

Love at the automatic teller machine

"I did not speak Finnish very well at the time. I was taking some cash out of a money machine, when the machine swallowed the card. As I was wondering what to do, a man waiting for his turn offered to help to me, and so we got to talking about my studies in Finland," Wen tells.

The two had a lot to talk about, as it turned out that the knight in shining armour was a law student also. So they decided to have a cup of cappuccino together, and ever since, Wen has shared quite a few cups of coffee with Mr. Henri Spehar.

For Wen it would probably be easy to find employment either in China or Hong Kong, but at the moment it seems that she will stay in Finland. It seemed natural to set up a law firm with Henri and to specialize in trade between China and Finland, which has been growing steadily during recent years.

Acting as a link between two countries

In her own firm "Chinese Law Finland" Wen is able to make use of her knowledge of Chinese contract and commercial law and her numerous connections from her student days and years in working life. It goes without saying that her knowledge of the Chinese language and culture is a priceless asset. Henri Spehar, for his part, is familiar with Finnish legislation and local customs.

"Chinese trade offers tremendous opportunities, but it is difficult to establish connections to China without knowing the markets and possible partners. In China trading is based on connections, so it is vital to know the right people," Wen explains.

Wen thinks that especially for smaller companies, she could act as a link to China and vice versa, for the Chinese are interested in investing and trading with the Finns.

"Many smaller Finnish companies have used the consultancy services of Norwegian or Swedish companies in the Far East, as larger companies have better opportunities to send their own employees to the area. Also, Chinese products are imported to Finland through other countries, such as Germany," says Wen, who thinks there should more direct connections.

Last year Finland exported machinery, equipment and means of transport to China worth FIM 1.7 milliard, which is double compared to the figures from two years ago. In addition to telephones, electric generators, steam boilers and paper, Wen sees countless opportunities for Finnish knowhow in the field of environmental technology.

Wen is very enthusiastic about her work, so she does not have much time to miss home. Letters and parcels travel between Beijing and Helsinki, and she is always happy to receive Chinese delicacies and books from home.

This interview was previously published in the daily newspaper Helsingin Sanomat.

Riitta Saarinen

Ein Hauch Sommer mitten im Winter

Im hohen Norden hat man bereits vor der Christianisierung um Weihnachten den Umstand gefeiert, daß die dunkelste Zeit des Jahres nun vorbei war und die Tage wieder länger wurden, was in den Menschen die Hoffnung auf den kommenden Frühling und Sommer weckte. Heutzutage bringen bunte Blumen zur Weihnachtszeit einen Hauch Sommer in das Leben der Menschen.

Ein weihnachtlich geschmücktes Zuhause ohne einen Adventsstern kann man sich kaum vorstellen. Oder daß man zur Weihnachtszeit jemanden besucht, ohne ihm Blumen mitzubringen. Diese Tradition hat sich in Finnland jedoch erst in den zwanziger und dreißiger Jahren dieses Jahrhunderts eingebürgert.

Zwei Blumen Spitzenreiter

Die absolute Spitzenposition unter den Weihnachtsblumen nimmt der Adventsstern ein. Hortonom Janne Autio vom Institut für Pflanzenzüchtung der Land- und Forstwissenschaftlichen Fakultät der Universität Helsinki glaubt nicht daran, daß der Adventsstern, auch Weihnachtsstern genannt, in den nächsten Jahren an Popularität verlieren wird. Jedes Jahr werden zu Weihnachten in Finnland über 2 Millionen Adventssterne verkauft, h. h. ebenso viele, wie es im Land Haushalte gibt. Eine zweite populäre Weihnachtsblume ist die berauschend duftende Hyazinthe, deren Absatz jedoch in den neunziger Jahren rückläufig ist. Hierfür sieht Autio mehrere Gründe: Der größte Vorteil der Hyazinthe ist ihr günstiger Preis, was aber auch dazu geführt hat, daß die Zucht von Hyazinthen sich kaum noch rentiert.

Die Hyazinthe war einmal weiter verbreitet gewesen als der Adventsstern, und Menschen, die Abwechslung suchen, entscheiden sich nun vielleicht lieber für andere Blumen. Nicht zu vergessen ist auch der starke Duft der Hyazinthe, der bei einigen Menschen Kopfschmerzen oder sogar allergische Symptome verursacht. Es macht keine Freude, eine solche Blume zu schenken, bei der man den Verdacht haben muß, daß sie beim Beschenkten anschließend im Keller landet.

In den letzten Jahren hat das Flammende Käthchen als Weihnachtsblume an Beliebtheit gewonnen, das indes - anders als der Adventsstern und die Hyazinthe, die ausschließlich Weihnachtsblumen sind - in Finnland auch zu anderen Jahreszeiten gekauft wird. Die Weihnachtsbegonie, die besonders bei der älteren Generation beliebt ist, scheint stark auf dem Rückzug zu sein, denn jüngere Leute können sich nicht für sie erwärmen und fassen sie auch kaum als Weihnachtsblume auf.

Das Alpenveilchen, die Azalee und die Amaryllis erfreuen sich von Jahr zu Jahr anhaltender Beliebtheit. Neuerdings scheinen sie sogar noch etwas beliebter geworden zu sein, was den Marktanteil der Hyazinthe geschmälert hat. Diese Weihnachtsblumen hat man stets als etwas elitär empfunden, denn die anspruchsvolle Zucht dieser Pflanzen schlägt sich in einem relativ hohen Preis nieder. Man kauft diese Blumen auch meist als Geschenk und weniger zur eigenen Freude wie zum Beispiel die preisgünstige Hyazinthe, die besonders unter der Arbeiterschaft nach wie vor beliebt ist.

Die ländliche Bevölkerung und die etwas reicheren Leute bevorzugen den Adventsstern. Die übrigen Weihnachtsblumen, heutzutage vor allem das Flammende Käthchen, werden in Finnland besonders in der Hauptstadtregion und von der jüngeren Generation gern gekauft.

Die einzige Schnittblume, die in Finnland als Weihnachtsblume vermarktet wird, ist die Tulpe, die jedoch auch zu anderen Jahreszeiten, besonders zu Ostern, beliebt ist. Das Maiglöckchen, unsere Nationalblume, hat einst ebenfalls zum Weihnachtsfest gehört, aber seine Zucht erfordert komplizierte Handarbeit, die nicht durch Maschinen zu ersetzen ist, und deswegen ist auch der Preis relativ hoch. Janne Autio prophezeit dem Maiglöckchen jedoch ein neues Kommen, denn unter den Käufern von Weihnachtsblumen finden sich heutzutage viele, die nach einer Alternative zum Altgewohnten suchen und weniger auf den Preis achten.

Aus fernen Ländern auf den finnischen Tisch

Alle unsere Weihnachtsblumen sind von ihrer Herkunft her Exoten, die mit den Entdeckungsreisenden und Kaufleuten ihren Weg nach Europa gefunden haben. Zuerst kamen die Tulpe und die Hyazinthe, die im 16. Jahrhundert aus Kleinasien und dem östlichen Mittelmeer über Italien nach Mitteleuropa vorgedrungen sind - besonders nach Holland, wo die Veredlung von Zwiebelpflanzen bereits seit dem 18. Jahrhundert floriert.

Der Name der Tulpe basiert auf dem Wort "dulband", das 'Turban' bedeutet und sich auf die Form und die kräftige Farbe der Blüte bezieht. Der Name der Hyazinthe wiederum geht auf einen romatischen griechischen Mythos zurück: Apoll tötete aus Versehen die Nymphe Hyacinthys, aus deren Blut eine schöne Blume emporwuchs, die wir noch heute bewundern können.

Auch das Alpenveilchen stammt aus dem Mittelmeerraum. Etwas weiter im Osten, d. h. in Indien und China, ist die Azalee beheimatet, eine wirklich anspruchsvolle Pflanze. Sie wächst dort in feuchten, kühlen Bergwäldern auf kalkarmem Boden. Trockenheit und kalkhaltiges Leitungswasser bekommen ihr deswegen gar nicht gut.

Die verschiedenen Amaryllis-Arten, die in Finnland auch als "Ritterblumen" bezeichnet werden, stammen aus Mittel- und Südamerika. Der einzige echte Vertreter der Amaryllis-Familie ist dagegen ursprünglich in Afrika beheimatet. Auch das Flammende Käthchen kommt aus Afrika. Sie wurde erst in den zwanziger Jahren unseres Jahrhunderts von Madagaskar nach Europa gebracht und ist also ein ziemlich neuer Ankömmling unter unseren Zimmerpflanzen.

Der Adventsstern gelangte von Mexiko zuerst nach Nordamerika und von dort um die Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts nach Europa. Ursprüngliche Adventssternbüsche findet man freiwachsend kaum noch, aber ausgesetzte Pflanzen haben sich zu der Urform entsprechenden hohen Büschen zurückentwickelt, die man als Zierpflanzen in südlichen Ländern sehen kann. In Mexiko züchten die Indianer den Adventsstern auf ihren Höfen, und auch dort blüht er in der Zeit um Weihnachten, weswegen man ihn "Flor de Nochebuena" nennt.

Nach Finnland gelangten die meisten heute gebräuchlichen Weihnachtspflanzen im Laufe des 19. Jahrhunderts. Anfangs waren es Zierpflanzen, die mit verschiedenen Stilrichtungen wie dem Empirestil und dem Biedermeier verbunden wurden, und man konnte sie nur in den Häusern der Reichen finden. Der Adventsstern dagegen ist erst später gekommen und hat nie zu den sogenannten Stilpflanzen gehört.

Auf dem Lande war es früher nicht üblich, bei Besuchen Blumen mitzubringen, aber in den Städten bürgerte sich diese Sitte in den zwanziger und dreißiger Jahren unseres Jahrhunderts ein. Zur selben Zeit kamen auch die Blumenkörbe als weihnachtliche Dekoration oder Blumengruß auf. Beliebte Korbpflanzen waren u. a. Maiglöckchen, Tulpen, Flieder und Hyazinthen.

Sensible Schönheiten

"Die Adventssterne stammen in Finnland heutzutage fast ausschließlich aus einheimischer Zucht, denn sie sind sehr transportempfindlich", erklärt Janne Autio. Bei der Zucht von Adventssternen ist das richtige Timing das A und O, denn verkauft werden die Blumen nur während ein paar Wochen vor Weihnachten, und eine Verspätung von nur einer Woche würde den Markt durcheinanderbringen.

Importblumen wären zwar billiger als die Blumen aus einheimischer Zucht, aber die Käufer sind mit ihnen nicht zufrieden gewesen. Der Adventsstern gilt im allgemeinen als ausgesprochene Weihnachtsblume, aber bei guter Pflege kann er ein ganzes Jahr lang gedeihen. Laut Janne Autio sind bei der Pflege eines Adventssterns gleichmäßige Verhältnisse wichtig, d. h. ein unbedingt zugfreier Standort und eine gleichmäßige Feuchtigkeit.

Auch das Flammende Käthchen, das Alpenveilchen und die Weihnachtsbegonie stammen heutzutage vorwiegend aus einheimischer Zucht. Die Azalee wird im allgemeinen in halb ausgewachsenem Zustand aus Belgien eingeführt, und die Tulpen und Hyazinthen kommen aus Holland. Die spezielle Behandlung, durch die man die Tulpen gerade zu Weihnachten zum Blühen bringt, wirkt sich auf den Preis aus. Die Zwiebeln der Amaryllis werden bis aus Swasiland und Kenia eingeführt. Bei guter Pflege kann man an einer Amaryllis 10 bis 15 Jahre lang Freude haben. Das Wichtigste bei der Pflege ist es, den Rhythmus einzuhalten, an den die Pflanze sich einmal gewöhnt hat.

Die Azalee ist, wie bereits erwähnt, eine recht anspruchsvolle Pflanze, und in zentralgeheizten Räumen ist ihr Gedeihen eine Glücksache. Das Alpenveilchen wiederum braucht viel Licht, denn sonst blüht die Pflanze nicht und zeigt sich nicht von ihrer schönsten Seite. Mit Geduld und sanfter Pflege erfreuen die Weihnachtsblumen das Auge und die Seele ihres Besitzers noch lange - und lassen rund um das Jahr auch etwas Weihnachtsstimmung aufkommen.

Sanna Jäppinen

Two academic worlds: Helsinki and New York

I started my studies in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Helsinki in the fall of 1973. A year later I entered the Faculty of Arts as well. In 1979 - 86 I lectured in these two faculties, at the Theatre Academy of Finland, at the University of Art and Design Helsinki, and at the Radio and TV Institute of the Finnish Broadcasting Company. Since then I have lectured also at the Helsinki School of Economics and Business Administration.

In the USA, I have been observing the academic world from a similar perspective for almost a decade.

After my arrival in New York, I spent two or three years as a visiting researcher in the Faculty of Film Research Studies at New York University, went to lectures at the Freedom Forum Media Center of Columbia University, and studied photography at the New School for Social Research.

The milieu of the University of Helsinki does not differ significantly from NYU, Columbia, or the New School, since they too are situated in urban surroundings. But the scales and life styles are totally different.

From the American point of view, it is one thing to live in a pretty sleepy Northern city, where most people represent one ethnic culture, religion, and language. And it is a totally other thing to live in the most hectic and aggressive urban center of the States, where most people are immigrants representing 180 different cultures, religions, and languages.

The academic milieus in Finland and America, or, to be more exact, in Helsinki and the East Coast, are very, very different.

Both the American and Finnish academic systems are going through a crisis, the most important reasons for which lie in budget cuts, the inflation of degrees, and the dramatic tightening of the fight for jobs. But while the Finnish system is dominated by a certain egalitarianism (which is gradually being broken down by the deep depression of the beginning of the 90s), the privately financed American elite universities are business enterprises.

In the USA, higher education belongs in the first place to the economically privileged. If you walk around the NYU campus in the Village, the students seem to represent ordinary American youngsters, said the principal of the Film Faculty, Mr William Simon, when I interviewed him about the matter. But despite the slumming, the majority come from upper middle classes. The others cannot afford the 20,000-dollar annual fees.

When I tell my American friends about the cost level of academic studies in Finland, they smile politely. They assume that I am joking.


In addition to the surroundings and the cost level, the academic cultures are also differently organized. Finnish society was, until the 90s, paternalistic and patronizing, whereas American society is decentralized, aggressive, and based on aggressive entrepreneurship. The academic milieu is a social microcosm and reflects its deeper structures.

If you can afford to study at the elite university of New York, you'll also have to know how to pick the right courses. It is not easy. Finnish courses are presented with a grey dryness that reminds an American of heavy industry brochures from yesterday's Soviet Union, while in the States the courses are marketed and sold in a normal businesslike way.

The difference leads to Janus-faced results. Inspiring teachers may draw full rooms, but that does not necessarily mean high-quality teaching. And because the star professors of American elite universities have high negotiating power (somewhat like Hollywood stars), many of them avoid teaching, which is too often imposed on inexperienced assistants.

The Hollywood system, where academic value is measured by the amount of publications (whether they are substantial or not, representing normal science or innovation etc.) and by a publicity coefficient (social capital, consulting, media performances as an expert etc.), is on its way to Finland.


American students are, from a demographic point of view, mainly selected on the basis of economic capital, while the teaching staff are mainly selected on the basis of educational capital.

The merit list of American university teachers is often unbeaten. On the other hand, it is often also limited. It is encouraged by the diverging division of tasks, which results in every faculty cultivating its own garden.

In a small country like Finland, the system is different, for two reasons. Since the scale is so much smaller, the whole picture is easier to figure out. And since the structures and the division of tasks are not equally diverging and organized, there is more room to move about.

In extreme cases, both systems favor distorted phenomena of learning: Finnish general wizards, who know a little about everything but not much about their own subject, and American experts, who know a lot about their own subject, but almost nothing beyond it.


From the American point of view, the academic culture of Helsinki represents idyllic nostalgia, where learning is still appreciated for its own sake. Some years ago an acquaintance of mine, Hal Himmelstein, Professor of Information Science at Brooklyn College, paid his first visit to Finland. He found it most exotic that people listened to him. In New York, no special attention is paid to professors' opinions, he said. In the States, and especially in New York, a cultural shock is awaiting any one who is unprepared.


Dan Steinbock works in New York as a freelance researcher. His first book on the American book market, titled Triumph and Erosion in the American Media and Entertainment Industries, was published last April.

The problem with Cultural Condors

In his book, Italian Painters, Giovanni Morelli, the great Italian connoisseur, pokes fun at art history and at art historians. While very amusing to read, Morelli's introduction contains a summation of the basic faults in the academic approach to works of art.

His fundamental premise is that "the only true record for the connoisseur... is the work of art itself." One must look and look again at the original, not read about it in a library. Constantly, as a sort of leitmotif, Morelli encourages the student to go to the galleries, not the libraries. He points out, as Bernard Berenson and Sir Ernst H. Gombrich were to do later, that the emphasis in art historical studies is on the cultural background, the history, the artist rather than on the works of art themselves. One must learn to look with an artist's eye, to discriminate merit. In other words, as we are reminded by Erwin Panofsky, Herbert Reed and Meyer Schapiro, one must first become a connoisseur, then an art historian.

A high degree of general culture is an absolute requisite for the full enjoyment of art. If learned tomes on art are useless, so are documents, since the only true record is the work itself. Morelli gives several examples of very wrong conclusions being drawn from documentary sources. One of the most important points raised by Morelli is his insistence that the student "go to the works of art themselves, and what is more, to the country itself, tread the same soil and breathe the same air, where there were produced and developed. For does not Goethe say, "He who wants to understand the poet must walk in the land of the poet."

I recall an evening in 1991 while dining on the terrace of Villa Lante in Rome. After watching the setting sun, I could not help but think that similar panoplies had been observed and transcribed by Pollaiuolo (1432?-98) and Gozzoli (1420-97) into those bewitching landscape backgrounds that grace so many of their paintings.

In 1937 Berenson wrote his cousin Ruth offering some advice on becoming an art historian. "I myself regret having wasted my talents in sowing and tending a field which has reaped nothing but weeds and thorns and brambles." Moreover, Berenson was especially bothered by the failure of art historians to assist the public in getting closer to works of art. "They rarely start with an appreciation of the object in question, about its value as a work of art, what it should do to the onlooker, what it should mean to him; whether sufficiently life-enchanting to be worthwhile or merely a microscopic fact delighting the researcher and the researcher only. Here too the cultivated public who should ask for the bread of aesthetic enjoyment is given the sand of research, wrangles about attribution, displays of scholastic erudition and dialectics."

Sir Ernst H. Gombrich has also presented us with some penetrating thoughts on how works of art should be studied. First, he condemns the excessive concern that art historians tend to place on historical developments, which frequently engulf both the artist and the work of art in evolutionary "trends." Second, he reminds us that it is only by analysing works of art in their "natural context" (i.e., their environment) that they may be freed sufficiently from arbitrary classifications. This is how, according to Gombrich, the intrinsic qualities of a painting or piece of sculpture should be approached.

Like his or her professors, the aspiring art historian will soon learn to write weighty treatises on subjects of minor interest - except to those known as "specialists" - and of absolutely no interest at all to a wider, cultivated audience. By the time he or she is finished, the student will have been transformed from someone with perhaps an incipient genuine interest in art into a voracious academic vulture adept at nothing more than hovering over desiccated footnotes.

An example of this type of student/researcher being churned out by career-oriented academic institutions (in this case from the University of Oxford) was presented to me while I was working on an article about Nordic post-war painting. The Oxford Art Journal had received a copy of a paper entitled "Post-Modern Concepts in Nordic Art," which was passed on to me for a critical assessment in Helsinki. For discretion's sake I will not mention the researcher's name, but a quotation from the preface to the paper is in order: "I would like to preface this essay with the admission that I have never been to any of the Nordic Countries, nor have I seen any of the works discussed. I have seen photographs only." The person in question is indubitably well on his or her way to becoming a distinguished professor of art history.

Michael Casey, a researcher in the Department of Art History, University of Helsinki, is currently completing a book entitled: The Post-Avant-Garde. Change, Influence and Patterns of Practice in Finnish Painting of the 1980s.

Cultural baggage

"Suitcase Children of Finland" (Suomen matkalaukkulapset ry.) was one of the many organisations to take part in the "World Exhibition" event held in Helsinki to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the United Nations. The suitcase children's organisation also celebrated its first anniversary as it was founded on the previous UN day, the 24th of October 1994. The organisation is chaired by 25-year-old Ilona Toiviainen who is currently preparing her Master's thesis at the Faculty of Education of the University of Helsinki. Thus it comes as no surprise that her thesis topic is suitcase children.

The term 'suitcase child' describes a person who has lived in a foreign country as a child. The English term 'third culture kids' is adequate in describing the fact that these people are combinations of many kinds of cultures and influences. A child's first culture is the one that is learnt from his or her parents, and the second culture is the one the child encounters in the new country. The third culture unites all suitcase children - it means balancing in two or more cultures and negotiating one's own identity somewhere between them.

Suitcase Children of Finland is not only intented for children and young people, but for anyone who has spent his or her childhood abroad; members range in age from four to seventy. The parents of a suitcase child have moved abroad to work for international organisations, as missionaries or diplomats, or, increasingly, for projects in the private sector. Foreign children and young people who are presently living in Finland are also welcome to join. For example refugee children and "war children" who were sent from Finland to Sweden during World War ll and who are now middle-aged are also potential members, says Ilona.

Parents' support and encouragement is important

Besides bringing together people with similar experiences and offering them support, one of the functions of Suitcase Children of Finland is to advise parents and teachers. According to Ilona, parents can best help their children by encouraging them to face the new culture with an open mind. Parents should also understand that a child absorbs a new culture more easily and also more profoundlyly than an adult. Thus, a child who has lived abroad for a long time is no longer Finnish because the cultural tradition surrounding him or her differs from that of the parents'. As Ilona points out, our culture residess not in our genes but is shaped by our environment. By denying or disregarding the new culture parents could even in the worst case turn their child into a racist.

On the other hand, teachers may find it difficult to relate to children who return to Finland. The child is Finnish by nationality, looks like a Finn and often even speaks Finnish at least fairly well. So what is the problem? Schools should be aware that a suitcase child's, as well as a foreign child's, identity is split between different cultures, in both language and thought. If this fact is not acknowledged and used to benefit the child, the child might face serious problems in developing his or her personality. Ilona wants to encourage suitcase children to return as adults to their childhood landscapesbecause it helps them unify different aspects of their identities.

Building bridges between different cultures

Ilona has spent most of her childhood and youth in Tanzania, but she has also spent a year in London. She took her matriculation examination at an internatinal school in Tanzania. Although she was admitted to a Swiss university, she decided to return to her parents' homeland. The main reason behind her decision was the low cost of Finnish higher education but she was also impressed by its quality and high status abroad. Being a suitcase child, however, Ilona was drawn abroad again, and she spent a year studying in France. Recently she has been fully occupied by her organisation and she has often lectured on suitcase children. The organisation aims to collect data about its members and build up a "skills bank" which could provide help to corporations and organisations requiring experts in different languages and cultures. Ilona claims that a suuitcase child's most valuable asset, even more important than the ability to speak different languages, is a certain sensitivity to other cultures and a personal experience of cultural differences. These characteristics are crucial in many situations where bridges need to be built, such as international conflicts and UN peace-keeping operations.

The first organisation for suitcase children was founded in the U.S. in 1986 and similar organisations exist, or are at presently being established, in Finland, britain, Norway, Denmark and Holland. Generally, the organisations in different countries work closely together. In Finland the organisation has 80 members and a mailing list of 600. Thus far, information about the organisation has spread through personal networks but recently the organisation has also received some media publicity. Thus it can look forward to a larger number of members who can share and benefit from their different yet shared cultural identity better than ever before.

For further information, please contact: Suomen matkalaukkulapset ry. Döbelninkatu 3 A 20 00260 Helsinki Finland Sanna Jäppinen

Renvall lnstitute and Multidisciplinary Studies

The Renvall Institute is the base for five multidisciplinary programs at the University of Helsinki. All students enrolled at the University are entitled to study in them. The first one of them was the North American Studies Program launched in 1986. It was a success from the very beginning. Students, who want to build an expertise in American and Canadian history, societies and cultures, participate in its courses in great numbers, and cooperation between various disciplines has brought the facul- ties and departments closer to each other to build the program as rich as possible.

The idea of multidisciplinary studies has become highly popular among students in different faculties. The Arts Faculty Board has subsequently given official endorsement to the following programs: Russian and East European Studies (1989), Nordic Studies (1990), British and Irish Studies 1995) and German Studies (1995).

While the cooperation between the different departments is essential for providing the interested students with the wide variety of theoretical backgrounds and information of the different fields, it is important also to bring experts from other Finnish universities and research establishments as well as from abroad to complement the instruction. The Renvall In- stitute has annually some 200 visitors from abroad to teach in these programs. Many of the courses involve new intensive learning processes, with frequent essays to write and different kinds of work to present.

Graduate schools provide research opportunities for students of the North American Studies and the Russian and East European Studies. Fulbright grants have taken several scholars to the USA to work for their doctorates at American universities. Numerous researchers of the programs at the Renvall Institute work in the projects financed by the Academy of Finland. The multidisciplinary programs form an important factor in providing expertise needed e.g. for the media, business, administration or academic world.

The Bicentennial Chair of American Studies, founded by the agreement between the United States government and the Univer- sity of Helsinki, will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year. The Chair is located at the Renvall Institute, and its holder for the academic year 1995-96 is John R. Wunder, Professor of History and Director of the Center for Great Plains Studies at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. He has previously held academic appointments e.g. at Columbia and Case Western Reserve University. His publications include several books on the history of the West and the American Indians, such as "Retained by the People": A History of American Indians and the Bill of Rights (1994), Historians of the American Frontier: A Bio- Bibliographical Sourcebook (1988) and At Home on the Range: Essays on the History of Western Social and Domestic Life (1985).

Dr. Eino Lyytinen, Director of the Renvall Institute

History, race, and law in the American West

The following is an abridged version of the Inaugural Address given by Professor Wunder as the holder of the Fulbright Bicentennial Chair in Finland on October 12, 1995.

The intersection of history, race, and law in the American West is a story that is just beginning to be told. It is a story of triumph and tragedy, of drama, violence and serenity, of heroes and scoundrels, and realizations about our past and our future. It is a very important story, and it is unique for several reasons.

Perhaps the most compelling reason for its specialness is that the history, or some would say the myth, of the American West has served as the epic of the United States, and it is important to have one's epic represent an accurate reflection of one's past. Our American epic is not a traditional epic like Finland's beloved Kalevala. The epic of the American West as it has been written about in the past histories and as it has been provided to Americans and the world through monographs, biographies, academic articles, texts, school lessons, the media, and the movies, is a story of a beautiful, yet harsh landscape miraculously tamed by white people, descendants of Europeans, who through tenacious, hard work and ingenuity were able to triumph. This happened in the face of great obstacles, according to the epic storyteller, including an irrational and inhumane resistance of the Indians in the West, the unstable and inept Mexican presence in the Southwest, and an environment that tested the mettle of each conquering generation. This epic is much worse than a myth. It is false, and it is dangerous to the survival of the United States as a nation. Thus, it must be corrected with the truth, and the New Western Historians have set about the process of explaining what really happened in the American West.

A second reason for why the intersection of history, race, and law is of great importance is related to the first. The American West is unique, we Western historians believe, in part because it is a place where more diverse peoples have congregated than any other place on Earth. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the American West has been the site of significant migrations of numerous Asian peoples, European peoples, African and Latino peoples. They met on a land inhabited by over 200 different Native peoples who spoke or continue to speak over 150 different languages and language dialects. I challenge each of you to identify any other place in the world that has witnessed this kind of diverse migration in so short a time period. It should follow that we need to know how this migration has worked; what were the successes so as to emulate them and what were the failures so as to avoid them. It also follows that the drama of this intersection is graphically portrayed before the law. The West thus becomes the racial crucible for the United States as has so recently been reverified through the Simpson trial. The old epic of the American West does not explain this vital aspect of Western history.

A third reason for telling the story of the American West as it actually happened is to understand the relationship of human beings to their environment. The Finnish people are seriously concerned about the use and abuse of their lands, water, and air. There is good reason to be concerned because of abuses of the environment by neighbors, most notably from accidents with nuclear power. Americans, because of the epic of the American West, and until the last two decades, had come to believe that their environment was inexhaustible, that it was replenishable, and that it was better simply to conquer it rather than to understand, preserve, or enhance it. This aspect of the American West epic is frightfully dangerous, and Americans are now just beginning to understand the consequences. Again, the truth of the past has important ramifications for the future.


To be a historian of the American West today requires a great deal of responsibility. It used to be until my generation that one was simply charged with retelling the old American epic. It could be done in a number of ways, but the complete story was never told. Indeed, many of the main characters were left out of the script. Can you imagine reading the Gettysburg Address and not remembering Abraham Lincoln?

Let us take the story of Lone Wolf, a Kiowa Indian who lived in Oklahoma at the turn of the nineteenth century. The Kiowas are a Plains Indian nation whose history is still being written. The stories of their migrations are the subject of dispute, even among the Kiowas. Part of this mystery is because of the Kiowa language, which is unique to the region and related only to the language of one Pueblo in New Mexico. The Kiowas' origins may be in Mexico or Canada, but whatever is the case, they at least for two centuries were an extremely important force on the Great Plains.

Lone Wolf was the name of a superior warrior and leader of the Kiowas, who led their resistance to the United States that eventually collapsed in the 1870s. He was captured and put in a prison where he died in 1879. But before he was imprisoned, the Kiowa patriot bestowed his name upon a young warrior named Mamaydayte who had saved the life of Lone Wolf's son from some white buffalo hunters. Lone Wolf the younger or Mamaydayte's intersection with law and history is of great significance.

Lone Wolf the younger was probably born around 1855 in Oklahoma or Texas. He came of age at approximately the time when the Kiowa people were tracked down on the Plains, starving and beaten, and forced to reside on a reservation in southwestern Oklahoma. Kiowa culture was undergoing a major trauma. Lone Wolf lived for most of the rest of his life at the reservation. Shared by the Kiowas, Comanches, and Plains Apaches, this reservation a large one that contained several mountains and extant grasslands. The soil was tillable in places, but the greatest value on the reservation were the grasses.

The placement of Indians on reservations was the result of a nineteenth century U.S. government policy of ethnic cleansing in the American West. The land was supposed to be land that supposedly no one else would want, but as soon as reservations were created the clamor began to take even these lands away. The federal government passed the Dawes Severalty Act in 1887 ostensibly to assistant Indians to become better Americans by giving them their own allotment of land, usually 160 acres, for farming. Allotments came from their reservation lands, and those lands not allotted were declared "surplus" by the government and sold to non-Indians. Most Indians could not farm either because of the initial investments needed for farm equipment and seed or because, like the Kiowas, their allotments were not conducive to farming 160 acres. Thus, many allotments were lost. Those children who had white guardians appointed for them had their allotments stolen, or sometimes the children simply disappeared or were killed by their guardians. The allotment policy proved to be a disastrous policy. More Indian lands were lost because of this law than from all of the Indian wars put together. Approximately fifty million acres were taken from reservation lands.

The Kiowas had signed a treaty, the Treaty of Medicine Lodge, before moving on to their reservation,and in that treaty the document stipulated that no lands could be taken from their reservation unless 3/4 of the adult Kiowa men had agreed. This, however, did not stop those whites who wished to take the Kiowa lands. A Commission was sent by Congress to visit with the Kiowas. They wanted to persuade the Kiowas to agree to the allotment, but the Kiowas refused. Instead the Commission used trickery, fraud, and bribery to put signatures on a petition. Even with this chicanery, the commission did not bother to turn in petitions with the required 3/4 number needed. Nevertheless, Congress approved the allotment of the Kiowa land, and the law was signed by the President.

Lone Wolf refused to agree to this action, so he along with several other leaders from the reservation got help from a white organization, the Indian Rights Association, who was sympathetic to the Kiowas' plight. They brought suit in court to stop the allotment. Lone Wolf lost at the first stages, and eventually the case, Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock, Ethan Hitchcock being the Secretary of Interior, was heard by the United States Supreme Court in 1902. This court decided in a devastating opinion for the Kiowas and all other Indians that Congress could do whatever it wanted to do with Indian lands. It could abolish treaties, and it didn't matter whether there was fraud or bribery. Congress had what was called "plenary power" over Indian affairs. This case as a result has been cited in future Indian law cases more frequently than any other.

This was a terrible blow to the Kiowas. Their land was stolen from them never to be returned, and the tribe fell into extreme poverty. The legacy of the Lone Wolf decision is one of despair. Nevertheless, the Kiowas have persevered. Lone Wolf's battle in the courtroom has not been for naught, as today the Kiowas are resuming their role as great speakers, tellers of history, and legal warriors. Kiowas are represented by N. Scott Momaday, Pulitzer prize-winning novelist and numerous attorneys pressing the battle for Kiowa rights. The Kiowas are still a force in Oklahoma. Their history represents how the law and race have intersected in the American West.


Race in American history is fraught with many complexities. Its history has led to some of America's finest hours and some of America's darkest moments. The American West, like the American South, has participated in these triumphs and traumas. The story of Chung Sun, an immigrant who came from China to California in 1871, demonstrates the experience of the Chinese in the American West. After the discovery of gold in California, America came to be known as Gold Mountain to the Chinese. It was a place of oppor- tunity. Chung Sun came to California better off than most. He arrived with a substantial amount of money, $600, and he could speak English. He hoped to start a tea plantation in California.

Los Angeles in 1871 was known as a rowdy town. Law enforcement was relatively undeveloped. Some things do not change in history. Chung Sun moved into Chinatown to what whites in Los Angeles called "Nigger Alley." On the evening of October 24, 1871, he was suddenly attacked by a huge mob, estimated by those present at over 500 whites and Hispanics. The riots started ostensibly from a police action. Los Angeles police arrested the participants, booked them, and then released them on bail. Upon bail, the Chinese resumed fighting, the police intervened, and two officers were wounded and a civilian killed. The riot then ensued, with some police reportedly encouraging the violence by offering bribes to encourage the rioters.

When the riot was over, Chung Sun was near death, having been seriously beaten and robbed of all his possessions. According to him, he was saved only because he could speak English. He later migrated to the Monterey Bay area in northern California. Nineteen other Chinese were not as fortunate. They were murdered, fifteen being lynched from specially constructed gallows in Los Angeles. At least $30,000 in cash and personal property was stolen from Chinese residents.

Chung Sun was bitter over his treatment but at least he survived. He found his way north, penniless, where he became a laborer digging ditches in a small California town, Watsonville, for $1.50 per day. At this job, he became friends with the publisher of the local Watsonville newspaper. The publisher, C. O. Cummings, printed letters written by Chung Sun who explained his reactions to the riot and the impact it had had on his life.

The publisher took considerable risk in printing these unique historical documents.

Chung wrote, "Unlearned as you may think us to be, we are not wholly ignorant of your history. We Chinese are taught to believe that your government is founded and conducted upon principles of pure justice and that all of every clime, race, and creed are here surely protected in person, liberty and property." Chung Sun had left China, as he explained, because he sought in the United States "freedom and security which I could never hope to realize in my own country, and now after some months' residence in your great country, with the experience of travel, study and observation, I hope you will pardon me for expressing a painful disappointment. The ill treatment of my own countrymen may perhaps be excused on the grounds of race, color, language and religion, but such prejudice can only prevail among the ignorant."

Shortly thereafter a bitter Chung Sun who had saved enough money went home to China, never to return to Gold Mountain. Many Chinese, however, did stay. Although the legal system at first had failed to protect them, by the 1900s the West was changing. The Chinese had had to endure the anti-Chinese riots that Chung Sun had experienced, numerous legal and racial affronts, and the first anti-immigration laws passed in the United States. Today Chinese Americans are an extremely important contributor to life in the American West, and only recently has their story begun to be told.


The law in the American West has been at the heart of the relationships of race and history. It is either the failure of the legal system to handle potential confrontations that led to violence or the success of the legal system that resolved these very difficult clashes. One such historic moment occurred in the West in the twentieth century, and on this occasion the legal system provided the setting for a monumental decision.

Of course, I am talking about a place in the American West called Topeka, Kansas; the time was the early 1950s, and the case became known as Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, the successful legal challenge to segregation in public institutions.

Topeka was a cautious community. It was conservative. It was what came to be known as a Jim Crow town where segregation in public accommodations was the rule. African Americans in Topeka knew their place not so much because of outright discriminatory laws but because of custom. Most blacks worked for the railroad and lived by the railroad. Blacks could not sit in white sections of the theater; blacks could not stay in hotels reserved for whites; and blacks could not go to white schools, even if they were close to where they lived.

Linda Brown was the oldest African American daughter of Oliver and Leola Brown. They lived near the railroad tracks. Oliver worked as a welder repairing boxcars in the Santa Fe railroad shops. In order for Linda to go to school, she had to walk between train tracks for several blocks, then catch a school bus and spend an hour getting to her school which was poorly maintained, did not have good school materials, or feature a full curriculum. Only three blocks from her home was a much better white school. When Linda was about to go into the third grade, the Browns that summer received a notice of registration for the white school. Everyone in the neighborhood did. Oliver Brown decided at that moment that Linda deserved to go to a better school, so he took her to register at the white school. She was denied entrance to her neighborhood school, and this began probably the most important legal decision in American history. It would result in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka in which the Supreme Court in 1955 ruled that American institutions must be de-segregated.

What is frequently forgotten about this case is that it was a case from the American West - not the South - not the East - but the West. It involved Westerners. There was a Nebraskan Attorney-General Herbert Brownell and a Kansan President Dwight Eisenhower, who together enforced the Court's pronouncement, and the Supreme Court Chief Justice was a Californian, Earl Warren. All sought to make fundamental changes in the racial relationships in the American West and thereby for the American nation, and together, Linda Brown, Dwight Eisenhower, and Earl Warren prevailed against a long standing impediment to racial harmony.


What I have provided you today is a mere snapshot from the many pictures that are being newly framed featuring the history of the American West. It is a new kind of photograph. It belongs in an album has never before been put together. There is the excitement of discovery, and the satisfaction of uncovering important new understandings.

If you can imagine it, visualize the scene. There is Lone Wolf standing next to Watsonville editor, C. O. Cummings. Then seated in front in this portrait is young Linda Brown, next to Chung Sun, and then the grandfatherly Earl Warren. It is a fascinating picture unlike any other you can create from American history. These are the kinds of persons we must study to learn more about the intersection of history, law, and race in the American West

These are also the stories that will create a modern American epic.

John R. Wunder

In Tanzania a chanterelle is a wisogolo

Unnamed species challenge authors of Tanzanian mushroom guidebook

Nowadays the publication of a new mushroom guidebook is hardly a newsworthy event in Finland. But it is in the case of the unique new book entitled Edible Mushrooms of Tanzania by Marja Härkönen, Tiina Saarimäki and Leonard Mwasumbi: it is the first guide to the mushrooms of Tanzania. Moreover, the book will serve as a contribution to long-term development cooperation, if only it can be given a broad distribution in Tanzania.

Tanzania and Finland have at least two things in common: vast forests and an abundance of wild mushrooms. The book is the result of years of work by the authors. They first travelled extensively in the Tanzania countryside, questioning the local people about how they use mushrooms, buying and studying the varieties that were for sale, and asking people to show them what mushrooms they knew to be edible or poisonous.

Although the number of edible mushrooms in Tanzania was not enormous, writing the book was a lengthy process because so many of the species were unknown to science. And the guidebook couldn't be written until the different varieties had names.

In the end some species still went unnamed, and the book had to be brought out without them. Urbanization and migration in modern Tanzania have cut many of the traditional bonds with Nature, and knowledge of natural phenomena is no longer handed down from generation to generation as efficiently as in the past.

The mushroom guidebook has three parts. First the authors describe Tanzanian mushroom culture and heritage and the popular use of mushrooms. Wild mushrooms are a very common source of nourishment in Tanzania, but the use of mushrooms varies from one tribe to the next. In some parts of the country, people typically eat only two or three mushroom species. In other areas, people know and use a few dozen varieties. The second part of the book gives a mycologist's view of the different mushroom species, describing their structure, telling where they grow and how to identify them.

The third section of the book catalogues some 30 widely-known edible mushrooms, one newcomer that can be recommended for eating, three dangerously poisonous types (only one of which is indigenous), and two recent arrivals which occur in areas planted with imported tree species.

Forests planted with foreign species are usually poor in comparison with natural woodlands, and indigenous mushroom species do not succeed in them. Then again the poisonous Red Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria) and Death Cup (Amanita phalloides) which have been brought in with the planting of coniferous forests, occur very commonly.

Africans have traditionally used the edible Amanita varieties that grow naturally in the miombo forests. Some of these species can easily be mistaken for the dangerous Red Fly Agaric or the fatally poisonous Death Cup. And, sadly, some of these imported species have caused numerous deaths.

Seppo Vuokko

Book review: Edible Mushrooms of Tanzania (1995) by Marja Härkönen, Tiina Saarimäki and Leonard Mwasumbi. 90 pages, illustrated with colour photos and black-and-white drawings. Available from Societas Mycologica Fennica, P.O. Box 47, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki. Price: FIM 60 + postage.