Shared Past, Different Interpretations: Bibliometrical and qualitative analysis of the historiography of the common early modern history of Sweden and Finland

In Finnish / In Swedish

Charta_öfver_Svea_och_Göta_Riken_med_Finland_och_Norland.jpgUntil today, not many studies touch the historiography of the common history of Sweden and Finland in neither of these countries. This project explores how the common early modern history, from the Middle Ages to beginning of 19th century, of these countries has been created in professional historiography (1860–2020), which methods have been used and which themes studied. Which themes and time periods, on the other hand, have been neglected or even completely ignored? Which issues have been most popular and which themes most significant, and why? How can we explain the differences and similarities of history writing between the two countries? And also, have the researchers in Finland referred to the historical studies conducted in Sweden, and vice versa? Are there national differences?

In contrast to previous studies, this project combines "traditional" historical methods with bibliometrics. Digitalization and huge databases open new ways to analyze vast amounts of data effectively. Bibliometric methods have traditionally been used as a tool for evaluation, but in this project, we are going to use them primarily as a tool for data collection. It is also extraordinary that we are studying two national states and a large discipline as a whole, in transnational comparison. Internationally, the project is likely to be the first inside the humanities, with a systematic utilization of bibliographic records and bibliometrics.

We believe that the results of the investigation will be of significant scientific and societal importance. The research help us to understand, how the historiography has been formed in Sweden and Finland, but widely in the Northern Europe around the Baltic, too. Furthermore, the project observes, how the shared past and historiography influences today in Finnish and Swedish everyday life, politics, economy, institutions, population, mentalities and culture etc. In general, transnational, systematic and comparative research will also answer to the basic question of sociology of scientific knowledge: how the scientific knowledge is formed (in humanities).


Musta-Koneensaatio-logo1_1.jpgThe project starts in 2018 and is funded by Kone Foundation. The project is directed by Professor Petri Karonen, and executed in Department of History and Ethnology in University of Jyväskylä, in association with Open Science Centre.



historiography, bibliometrics, bibliography, Finland, Sweden, Kingdom of Sweden, early modern period, image(s) of history, interpretations of history, history culture, history policy, use of history, sociology of scientific knowledge, history scholars, schools, reference networks, publishing formats

Research group
  • Professor Petri Karonen (director), petri.k.karonen@jyu.fi
  • PhD, docent Anu Koskivirta studies especially the historians of Old Finland – Viipuri Province, who played a role in historiographical separation of Sweden and Finland.
  • PhD Miia Kuha studies the historiography of cultural history in Finland and Sweden particularly in relation to the professionalization of historical research and the discussion of themes appropriate for historical research.
  • PhD, docent Antti Räihä will concentrate in the project the era from 1720s to the early 19th century. Besides creating a historiographic general view, he will focus on disasters in wars against Russia; How and from which perspectives the wars and their consequences i.e. the shrinkage of the Swedish realm, are handled in Finnish and Swedish historiography (“Historiography of defeats”).   
  • M.A. Petteri Impola is interested in bibliometrics, reference networks, and how historiography is focused at different topics and agents. Impola studies especially the Swedish and Finnish dissertations concerning early modern period of these two countries.
  • M.A. Kenneth Partti has through his dissertation study specialized in comparative Finnish and Swedish historiography during the last decades, focusing especially on methodological applications in dissertations. In this project, “Shared Past, Different Interpretations”, Partti mainly studies dissertations of history.
  • PhD, docent, Marja Kokko, Chief Information Specialist at Tampere University, marja.l.kokko@tuni.fi