Jukka Kortti is a Doctor of Social Sciences and Docent of Economic and Social History at the University of Helsinki. He currently works as a researcher at the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Helsinki where he studies and writes the history of the faculty. As a contemporary historian, Jukka is especially interested in the formation of the modern world, which he studies through the prism of media. In media history he is interested in how the media shapes our view of history and how the representations of history are being used in culture and politics. Jukka is also Chairman of The Nordic Media History Network, which was founded in the fall of 2018. Jukka, who graduated from the Master’s programme of the History of Science and Ideas at the University of Oulu, is also interested in intellectual history and has previously worked as a senior lecturer in political history.
“History has a multidimensional meaning in contemporary society. More people have the possibility to study history and derive their own interpretation of the past, which emphasises the importance of academic history research”, says Jukka and continues: “It is historians’ responsibility to make sure that academic research and its results become a part of the public discussion. Even though history does not provide unequivocal truths, it can still be misused.”
Jukka also stresses that the importance of history is in no way diminishing, but rather history is present in our every-day-lives even more than it used to: “History is being used more widely now even outside of politics and culture. Heritage industry is growing and it shows us how history can be used and harnessed in a completely new way.” Jukka considers history to have an especially big significance in the Finnish culture. “According to research the Finns are avid readers and particularly interested in history. We are truly a nation of history enthusiasts”, he summarises.
HWB has a significant role as an actor between the academic world and the rest of society. “There is a clear need to communicate research and its results to the public outside the academic world”, Jukka says and continues: “The core mission of HWB is to provide assistance to peace mediation, but the organisation can also have an indirect influence on conflict resolution efforts by promoting a better and deeper overall understanding of history and the backgrounds of current phenomena.” Jukka thinks it is especially important to understand that history is always interpreted through the prism of the present, which is why we can get new information even on thoroughly researched subjects.
Jukka has been a member of HWB since 2015 and a board member since 2019. “HWB has always organised many interesting events. The founding conference of the International Network of Historians without Borders was especially impressive because of the distinguished speakers, interesting presentations and wide publicity”.