25.06.2018

Pasi Ihalainen

I work as a Professor of Comparative European History, specialising in the early modern and modern periods. My studies typically focus on the history of political and social discourse in the long term from comparative and transnational perspectives. I have cooperated with political historians, historians of ideas, political theorists and language policy researchers to produce multidisciplinary analyses of the dynamics of past political discourses in Finland, Sweden and major European powers. Recently I have increasingly integrated digital history to these analyses. I am particularly interested in interrelationships between political discourse, political practices, material reality and physical action as well as in cross-national transfers in which the mobility of individuals has often played a crucial role.

I wrote my dissertation on conceptualisations of political and religious pluralism in 18th-century Britain. This brought me to work on the construction of national identities from the point of view of the secularization of nationalism also in the contexts of the Dutch Republic and Sweden. My research has later focused on the history of parliamentary discourse, among other themes, and particularly on how the political role of the people, democracy and parliamentarism have been defined by competing political groups in different historical periods. My latest book discusses the ferment that the Russian Revolution initiated in European political cultures and transfers in political discourse between Britain, Germany, Russia, Sweden and Finland. This theme has made me increasingly interested in the discursive construction and challenging of the legitimacy of political power – including discourses of violence – in Finland and elsewhere.

I have edited international collected volumes on the comparative study of political cultures, the dynamics of language policy debates, parliamentarism as a European concept and conceptualisations of internationalism. My articles have also addressed questions related to the political use of history. As a researcher of European history, I use comparisons to make historical developments in Finland understandable for both Finns and the academics and audiences of other countries. I also wish to contribute to international scholarly debate and to the development of historical methods through ambitious and exploratory research projects that often apply methods borrowed from neighbouring fields of research creatively to the past.