Interrelating Distance and Interaction (IDI) / Trans-Atlantic Impacts (TAI)



Principal investigator Henry Oinas-Kukkonen, Ph.D, title of docent, university lecturer, History

Major research project: Plans to Settle Finnish World War II Refugees in Alaska


Steven Coats, university lecturer, English Philology

Key themes: Twitter, Social Media, Computational/Quantitative Analysis Research approach: Mainly quantitative analyses of lexical and grammatical features of online Englishes with a particular focus on the Englishes of Northern Europe using Python and R for data collection, statistical analysis and GIS visualization. The methods can be used to characterize discourse, explore genre effects, compare English use in national contexts, correlate English use with demographic features or use of other languages, etc. Data collection from other Social Media APIs is envisioned.


Ari Helo, Ph.D, university lecturer, History of ideas and science

Major research project (1): Lord Kames's Impact on the American Founders

Major research project (2): The Politics of American Egalitarianism from a European Perspective


Hanna Honkamäkilä, doctoral student, History of ideas and science

Project: Scientific co-operation between University of Oulu and the United States, 1959-2000


Katrin Korkalainen, doctoral student, English Philology

Project: Jewish-American Immigrant Literature, 1880s – 1920s: The Experience of Eastern European Jews on New York’s Lower East Side


Eric Sandberg, University Lecturer, English Philology

Major research areas are British and American Crime fiction; the intersection of cultural prestige, prize culture, and adaptation; and 20th and 21st century British and American fiction. He is currently working on a study of the role of the Atlantic crossing in P. G. Wodehouse’s comic novels.


Kati Vuontisjärvi, doctoral student, History

                      Project: Image of the North American Indians in Finland


The Research

The trans-Atlantic experience has profound implications on both shores. People, their ideas and constructions have overcome barriers and met, conflicted and blended together. Instead of over-generalizing or labeling cultures with stereotypical or subjective characterizations Trans-Atlantic Impacts (TAI) research group focuses on explaining the traits and events of the trans-Atlantic sphere and their implications in comparison and contrast with the rest of the world. We have five key issues to address.


Constructing communities: On both sides of the Atlantic people have constructed and imagined communities in intimate political, economic, and ideological interaction with one another since the Columbian encounter. From the Native American trading towns that grew in response to commerce with the European newcomers to the emergence of online communities at the turn of the twenty-first century, trans-Atlantic connections and impacts have crucially shaped the ways in which people relate to one another, assert authority, and envision themselves as local, ethnic, political, ideological, and virtual communities.


Information, communication and networks: Interpreting trans-Atlantic connections and communication has a long history. Instead of triangular trade routes of the past there are Open Skies in the trans-Atlantic sphere today. Increasing pressures and opportunities of globalization have made transnational and international networks invaluable large-scale resources for the major trans-Atlantic economic powers, as well as for various communities. New media and networks have intensified the flow of information and acquisition of knowledge on both sides of the Atlantic. Unexpected frameworks for innovation, social collaboration and cultural change have been created in the trans-Atlantic sphere. These processes and phenomena are impacting the attitudes and value systems of individuals and communities, as evidenced, for instance, by their communicative behavior, including the language they produce.


Ideas in motion: The eastern as well as the western shores of the Atlantic have been platforms for concepts, innovations, ideas and ideologies, which have crossed the ocean to be adopted on the opposite shore. People have put words into action in the cause of shared beliefs, as well as shared beliefs into words and texts, but they have also had fundamental disagreements over issues which continue to cause major trans-Atlantic rifts.


Transforming nations and states: There are multiple ways to conceive and conceptualize entities such as nation, nationality and state throughout the Atlantic world. The project considers the birth of the modern understanding of federalism in the American early national period and its roots in the early modern European natural law tradition; the interplay between Native and European peoples in constructing both indigenous and Euro-American nations and political ideologies; and the impact of U.S. federalism on the current debates over federalism in the EU.


Intervention, aid and democratization: Major players in the trans-Atlantic sphere have encroached upon the matters of others. States, institutions, communities and even individuals have tried to intervene and influence others in issues ranging from individualism to open source software development and the politics of diversity and multiculturalism. Trans-Atlantic interventions have become intertwined in global turning points like World Wars and some of the major impacts have included international aid and democratization.



Dr. Henry Oinas-Kukkonen

Faculty of Humanities, History

P.O. Box 1000

FIN-90014 University of Oulu


Henry.Oinas-Kukkonen at

Last updated: 20.10.2015