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Where Scholars are Made: Gendered Arenas of Persona Formation in Finnish Folkloristics, 1918–1932
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of History.
2019 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation investigates how two Finnish folklorists, Elsa Enäjärvi (1901–1951) and Martti Haavio (1899–1973), obtained information about perceptions of what constituted good and acknowledged scholars and how they responded to these implicit and explicit expectations and requirements. The dissertation uses the concept of scholarly persona as an analytical tool to identify notions of good scholars as well as Enäjärvi’s and Haavio’s processes to form themselves as such. The analysis is based on a deep reading of private and public documents, with an emphasis on Enäjärvi’s and Haavio’s diaries and private letters to each other and friends in academia.

The dissertation’s timeframe, 1918–1932, covers Enäjärvi’s and Haavio’s earliest years at university, from attending university to obtaining doctoral degrees. Being new to the academic community meant that these two young folklorists were in acute need of information regarding expectations and requirements in their discipline. Reflecting over observations of other scholars and sharing these observations with peers were important means of forming oneself as a scholar. This formation process was often articulated by making normative descriptions of the personal qualities, behaviour and research of other academics. By describing what was desirable, acceptable or inept in scholars, Enäjärvi and Haavio established what they themselves were like as scholars. The analysis also shows that the early phase of scholarly persona formation included informal rites of passage that integrated the students deeper into the academic community. The letters to friends offered a forum to make and test these formative descriptions and to reflect upon and give meaning to these rites of passage.

The dissertation makes a systematic analysis of six arenas of Enäjärvi’s and Haavio’s academic life, where scholarly personae were formed: the university, the capital Helsinki, fieldwork, the transnational exchange with Estonian academics, international scholarly communities in Western Europe, and the scholarly home. The analysis shows that these arenas activated different dimensions of the folklorists’ persona. Moreover, the analysis shows that the different arenas activated different gendered practices and expectations of scholars and academic life. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of History, Stockholm University , 2019. , p. 310
Keywords [en]
Scholarly persona, gender, Finnish history, history of folklore, history of humanities, history of knowledge, students
National Category
History
Research subject
History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-171246ISBN: 978-91-7797-763-6 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7797-764-3 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-171246DiVA, id: diva2:1340234
Public defence
2019-09-20, hörsal 12, hus F, Universitetsvägen 10 F, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-08-28 Created: 2019-08-02 Last updated: 2019-08-12Bibliographically approved

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Where Scholars are Made: Gendered Arenas of Persona Formation in Finnish Folkloristics, 1918–1932(8331 kB)74 downloads
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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
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