• 'Nostalgia for the future' is a research project into communities displaced from their homelands in the aftermath of the Second World War.

    'Nostalgia for the future' focuses on the displaced communities of the Italians from Istria and parts of Dalmatia, and the Finns from the part of Karelia ceded to the Soviet Union. I hope that bringing the two communities together under the same critical lens will yield findings, which have hitherto remained invisible. I also hope that this perspective will benefit the two respective communities, by offering a broader, 'bird-eye’ perspective on their cultural memory and its impact and significance in the current European geopolitical landscape.

    Since the collapse of the Iron Curtain, the displaced communities along Europe's eastern peripheries have been able to re-assert their transnational belonging in personally rewarding and socially beneficial ways. Through their homeland associations, private networks and NGOs, they have participated in collaborative cross-border activities in a range of sectors, including humanitarian aid, public health, environmental protection, tourism, heritage and arts. These activities point to a gradual, yet significant cultural shift within the displaced communities, which is potentially a great resource for building a cultural climate of tolerance and cooperation along European borderlands. The project will map, document and contextually explain the involvement of the two displaced communities under scrutiny in grassroots cross-border encounters and cooperative initiatives over the last two decades. Findings from the two case studies will be compared and contrasted, hopefully producing insights that would not be possible if these areas were investigated separately.

  • Anne Kuorsalo

    When talking to the descendants of the displaced Karelians and Istrians, one often hears that their stories could not be properly heard during most of the Cold War period. Those were sensitive years, and the precarious balance of powers was paramount.

    This was reiterated recently by Anne Kuorsalo, a Finnish journalist and author, active in the Finnish Society of Children Displaced by the War. In her opening speech at a commemorative event held in Kangasala, Finland, Anne spoke about 'closet Karelianism' in the post-war period. After decades of being hidden in a closet, the Karelian identity is now considered a badge of honour for anyone who can claim some connection to the evacuee story.

  • This is an accepted manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Rethinking History on 20 November 2014, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13642529.2014.982347

  • This is an accepted manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in International Journal of Heritage Studies on 23 March 2015, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13527258.2015.1020961#.VRMiWPmsV7d