Conflicting Concepts: Linguistics, Ideologies and Geopolitics in Pan-National Movements in Eurasia

Date: November 12-13, 2018
Venue: Aleksanteri Institute, University of Helsinki, Unioninkatu 33, 2nd floor meeting room

The concept of linguistic kinship transgresses the limits of linguistic inquiry. It has been interpreted as a
manifestation of a special bond between cultures and nations. The idea that the speakers of the so-called Finno-Ugric languages, for instance, should form a closer community, shaped national ideologies in Finland, Estonia, and Hungary in the 19th century. These ideas turned into radical political ambitions after the collapse of the Russian and Hapsburg empires. In Finland and Estonia the idea strengthened the formation of national identity, while in Hungary political elites and intellectuals turned even further, to the idea of Turanism, which included Turkic, Altaic, and even Korean and Japanese-speaking peoples. Until the end of the Second World War, the Finno-Ugric kinship informed and mobilized nationalist, and even fascist political, economic, military, and intellectual elites of three European states.

This two-day interdisciplinary workshop gathers experts on linguistics, history, philosophy, and literature to explore the conceptualizations of linguistic kinship and its uses in pan-nationalist movements in modern Eurasian history. The workshop will discuss concurrences, diversities, and interactions between the various “pan-movements” which emerged in the 19th and 20th centuries. The workshop will be carried out in cooperation with the Herder Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe (LOEWE-Project, Marburg, Germany), the Hokkaido University Slavic-Eurasian Research Center, (Hokkaido, Japan), the Hokkaido University European Office in Helsinki, and the Aleksanteri Institute at the University of Helsinki.

Organized by Eszter Gantner, Takehiro Okabe, Sanna Turoma