Postmemory of Family Separation: An Intergenerational Perspective

Academy of Finland 2019-2023

Project Manager: Academy Research Fellow, Docent Johanna Leinonen

Project objective:

The project examines the intergenerational remembrance and effects of family separation caused by exile and deportations in the second and third generation. The research focuses on people with an Ingrian or Finnish American background whose parents and/or grandparents experienced forced migration and deportations in the Soviet Union in the early 1900s (during Stalin’s persecutions and World War II). We look at the intergenerational transfer of family memories, blackouts and the impact of the memory policies of various nation states on the intergenerationality and transnationality of memories. We also look at how family separation in the past has an impact on the structure and quality of family relationships and the well-being of the mind in the present. The project collects survey material and life story interviews among the descendants of Ingrian Finns. For Finnish Americans, existing archive material is utilised.

Project researchers:

PhD Aleksi Huhta (2022–2023)

Key partners:

Finnish Literature Society, Inkeriläisten sivistyssäätiö, Suomen Inkeri-liitto ry, Suomen Akateeminen Inkeri-Seura ry, Population Register Centre, Lakehead University Archive (Canada). In addition, we cooperate with a number of researchers.

Steering group: Sonia Cancian (Max Planck Institute for Human Development), Andres Kasekamp (University of Toronto), John Loehr (University of Helsinki), Irina Takala (Petrozavodsk State University), Marja Tiilikainen (Migration Institute of Finland).


Outi Kähäri (2019). Poliittiset olosuhteet ja sodat johtivat inkerinsuomalaisten perheiden hajaannukseen 1900-luvulla. Liikkeessä yli rajojen blog, 11 September 2019. Available:

Events/other activities:

Perheen erossaolo ja ylisukupolvinen muisti (Family Separation and Intergenerational Memory) seminar, 8 October 2019, Migration Institute of Finland.