Historians without Borders in Finland carried out the first ever Finnish-Estonian History Dialogue in the autumn. At the dialogue meeting held in Tallinn on 4-5 October 2023, five Estonian and five Finnish historians compared their countries' history and memory culture and politics and current issues in historical research. The dialogue was organised in cooperation with Tallinn University and with the support of the Finnish-Estonian Culture Foundation.
At the dialogue meeting, the participants discussed research cooperation between the countries, the role of historiography and historians, and the processes of management of the past in Finland and Estonia. The historians also discussed current methods of historical research in Estonia and Finland.
The Dialogue project used the internationally pioneering Historian without Borders method of a History Dialogue, which can be used to enhance international dialogue on history and to help resolve conflicts within societies and between countries.
At the meeting, participants stressed the importance of taking transnational perspectives and diverse memory cultures into account in the writing of history and the role of historians in contextualising societal phenomena. At the same time, participants felt that historians have a duty to warn against the straightforward repetition of past strategies in the present.
According to the participants, the History Dialogue was a fruitful and effective method for exploring new perspectives and research topics in historical research. Historians felt that they had a unique opportunity to focus on listening, learning and generating new ideas together, as opposed to the typical academic seminar with its emphasis on presentations.
There was strong support for continuing the dialogue and broadening the range of participants and perspectives to be explored, so that the dialogue can be targeted at different areas of historical research. Dialogue on history can help to deepen the general understanding of the methods of historical research and the importance of history and memory politics in a transnational context.
Finnish-Estonian History Dialogue. Report.
HWB Report 6, 1/2024
Historians without Borders in Finland