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

People as of January 2019

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

Current work involves: (1) Creation and analysis of language corpora from social media. (2) Non-standard language, sociolinguistics, dialectology, morphology, typology


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

Major research project (1): Reading American History (a joint book project on American historiography with Allan Megill, UVa).

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


Hanna Honkamäkilä, doctoral student, History of ideas and science

Research interest: Scientific co-operation between the United States and Finland after the Second World War. Her cases will take a closer look to the development of the University of Oulu, founded 1958.


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


Matti Mäntylä, Ph.D, History

Project: President Urho Kekkonen and the United States, 1956-1981


Joni Partanen, doctoral student, History

His doctoral thesis examines the international co-operation of atomic sciences and how the growing attention of the studies of low doses of radioactive radiation has evolved between and after two calamitous nuclear accidents, the Chernobyl accident in 1986 and Fukushima accident in 2011. The role of the American scientists is essential in the history of atomic sciences. Americans have been key part of the many international atomic study projects and thus they have created strong transatlantic ties with many European countries.


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.


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: 20.2.2019