EuroSt­orie research sem­inar: Johanna Leinonen 22.10.2021

12.10.2021
We are live streaming this event – join us from the link below.

Time: Friday, 22 October 2021 at 1:00pm - 2:00pm EEST
Please join us live via Zoom-stream on the following address:
https://helsinki.zoom.us/j/69853459330
Meeting ID: 698 5345 9330

Paces of Forced Mobilities

Johanna Leinonen's (Academy Research Fellow, University of Oulu) research examines journey memories in the narratives of World War II evacuees from Karelia and international refugees who arrived in Finland in the 2010s. While these periods of forced migration have been extensively examined, a crucial aspect of the refugee experience – the journey – has received less scholarly attention. This is even though the studies that exist on the topic suggest that displaced persons consider the journey as a formative experience. For exampe, BenEzer and Zetter argued in 2014 that “the process of flight (…) is one of the most significant processes of ‘becoming’ and ‘being’ a refugee.” Leinonen tentatively conceptualizes the refugee journey as a biographical rupture for those who experience it, one which is constituted by its spatiality and temporality as well as by its emotional, embodied, social, and material dimensions. Leinonen views refugees as mnemonic agents, for whom remembering the journey is part of the process where they make sense of their exilic experience from the perspective of today, and in negotiation with the future. Theoretically, Leinonen takes inspiration from mobility studies to examine meanings attached to movements, i.e., mobilities. Through a few examples from interview data, Leinonen's talk discusses the ways in which temporality and spatiality intertwine in the experiences of (im)mobility during the refugee journey. The paper is based on 20 interviews with WWII evacuees and 10 interviews with international refugees, along with archival materials. The data collection is on-going.