On 26 November Utrecht Forum for Memory Studies organizes a seminar with Hanna-Leena Nissilä on forced migration in Finland during and after WWII.
The presentation is part of the research project "Recognition and Belonging: Forced Migrations, Troubled Histories and Memory Cultures", which investigates how evacuees or refugees from Karelia and Lapland narrated their experiences of recognition and misrecognition in the communities that received them in Finland. Nissilä will focus on evacuee literature written by Finnish authors who experienced evacuation from Karelia to Finland during and after WWII.
Characteristically reminiscing, "evacuee literature" can be seen as a genre of creative remembrance, playing a central role in both individual and cultural memory of Karelian refugees. When trying to understand micro and macro histories of Karelian forced migrations, an interesting level in autobiographical fiction is created by modes of remembering and emotions, also by embodied memories which can be seen as part of silenced and troubled history of Karelian refugees. Nissilä approaches this literature from perspectives of recognition and belonging, which both depend on social relations and have political and emotional aspects. She will particularly pay attention to emotions. As Sara Ahmed has mentioned, emotions work to align individuals with collectives - and on the surfaces of bodies, aligning them with or situating them outside communities.
Hanna-Leena Nissilä received her PhD in literature from the University of Oulu in 2016 and is currently working in the research project "Recognition and Belonging: Forced Migrations, Troubled Histories and Memory Cultures" (funded by The Academy of Finland 2018-2021, PI Seija Jalagin). Earlier Nissilä worked in the research project "The Transnational Connections of Finnish Literary Culture" (2012-2013). Her research focusses on the transnationalization of Finnish literary life, transnational and border-crossing literature, memory and creative remembrance and questions of migration, belonging, nation and otherness in literature. Nissilä is also the chairman of the Finnish Literary Research Association. She will work as a visiting scholar in The Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICON) until 20th of December.