Otso Kortekangas

Otso Kortekangas


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Works at Department of History
Visiting address Universitetsvägen 10 D, plan 9
Room D 851
Postal address Historia 106 91 Stockholm


  • History of education
  • History of the Sámi
  • The Nordic countries in early twentieth century
  • Comparative and transnational history 

Doctoral dissertation: Tools of teaching and means of managing: Educational and sociopolitical functions of languages of instruction in elementary schools with Sámi pupils in Sweden, Finland and Norway 1900–1940 in a cross-national perspective

My dissertation contributes to recent research on Sámi education from two different angles. First of all, the dissertation pioneers as a cross-national study of the education of a cross-national population previously mainly studied within different nation states. With its theoretical framework of institutional and sociopolitical functions of languages of instruction, the dissertation also places a strong focus on why different Sámi varieties were or were not prioritized as languages of instruction in elementary schools with Sámi pupils in early twentieth century Sweden, Finland and Norway. Studying what functions of languages of instruction regional educational authorities, Sámi teachers and a number of other Sámi actors prioritized in the institutional and sociopolitical contexts sheds new light on the language policies within the elementary education systems of Sweden, Finland and Norway. Also, the focus on cross-nationalism points out tendencies that earlier research on the educational history of the Sámi has missed when the focus has been within, rather than across, national borders. These findings include examples of cross-national recontextualizations that lay bare a conditioned awareness of the policies in the neighboring countries among the regional educational authorities. This awareness was conditioned since language policies in neighboring countries were viewed through the lens of the home country of the authorities. What also emerges in a cross-national analysis is a certain active rather than re-active Sáminess, unbound by the national borders of Sweden, Finland and Norway. These findings should not be taken as attempts to construct essentialising notions of pan-Sáminess in the early twentieth century. Rather, they are calls for opening up research frameworks to include other frames than the nation states of today.

Articles and anthology chapters

‘Useful Citizens, Useful Citizenship: Cultural Contexts of Sámi Education in Early 20th Century Norway, Sweden and Finland’, Paedagogica Historica. International Journal of the History of Education (No 53:1&2 2017, peer reviewed).

‘Whose history is Sámi history? Utility, nation state and the indigenous studies paradigm – a historiographical comment’, in Alenius and Enbuske (eds.) The Barents and the Baltic Sea region: Contacts, influences and social change, University of Oulu, Finland (Rovaniemi 2017, peer reviewed).

‘Globaalit ideat ”Pohjan perillä”. Kohti saamelaisen koulutushistorian kansainvälisempää kontekstia.’ Historiallinen Aikakauskirja 1/2015, review (Finnish, peer reviewed).

‘Uusia suuntia, vanhoja rajoja - saamelaisten kouluhistorian moniääninen tulevaisuus’ in Keskitalo, Lehtola, Paksuniemi (eds.) Saamelaisten kansanopetuksen ja koulunkäynnin historia Suomessa (Turku 2014, Finnish, peer reviewed).

Book reviews

‘The Church of Sweden and the Sámi. Broad perspectives on history in reconciliation’ Scandinavian Journal of History (2017) [Review of Lindmark and Sundström, De historiska relationerna mellan Svenska kyrkan och samerna (Skellefteå 2016)].

‘Alkuperäiskansat ja koulutushistoria – menneisyyden mietintöjä, tulevaisuuden tutkailuja’ Ennen ja nyt (3 2016) [Review of Evjen and Shanley, Mapping Indigenous Presence: North Scandinavian and North American Perspectives (Tucson 2015)].

Popular history publications

‘Nyttiga medborgare i nomadskolan – statliga, samiska och nordiska perspektiv under tidigt 1900-tal’

Tidskriften vägval i skolans historia 3/2017 (Swedish). 

Other Publications

Kaupunki maailman keskellä. Turun lasten maailmanhistoria (Finnish, 2017), a children’s book about the history of the city of Turku, Finland.

En stad mitt i världen. Åbobarnens världshistoria. (Swedish, 2017), a children’s book about the history of the city of Turku, Finland.


Last updated: March 28, 2019

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