Hot off the press is my contribution to an edited collection entitled Finnish Settler Colonialism in North America: Rethinking Finnish Experiences in Transnational Spaces (Helsinki University Press 2022), edited by Rani-Henrik Andersson and Janne Lahti. The book and its contributions seek to reexamine Finns in North America by situating them in the context of global settler colonialism. For the book I wrote an article that examines what popular geographical publications, published at the end of the nineteenth and early decades of the twentieth century, reveal about the shaping of Finnish geohistorical imaginations concerning the roles of Finns in settling the United States. The article examines how, why, and what types of maps and geographical knowledge were utilized to document and represent the historical roots of Finns in America and make them visible on the map of the United States. I argue that the geographical texts and maps were tools for Finns and Finnish Americans to make claims for spaces on the North American terrain and to showcase how they too had contributed to “civilizing” the lands and building the settler colonial society, past and present. I contextualize the maps and geographical texts within the colonial cartographic frame where the roles of Europeans as “discoverers” were emphasized and Indigenous land use and geographical knowledge became marginalized.
The article, Claims for Space: Unpacking Finnish Geohistorical Imaginations of the United States is available open access, as is the entire book.