July 24 – 28, 2024

Finnish Emergence as an independent nation was in 1917, very recently. However, Finland had been developing as a cultural unity, or nation, long before they became a nation-state. This presentation will talk about the difference between “nation” and “state” as it applies to Finland.

Presenter Bio: Sharon Franklin-Rahkonen, Ph.D. Sharon Franklin-Rahkonen received her Ph.D. from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, where she specialized in Finnish history. Her dissertation was entitled “Jewish Identity in Finland.” During this research, she and her husband lived in Finland as Fulbright Scholars for two years. In addition to studying minority identity in Finland, especially the Jewish community, her research includes the development of Finnish education, Finnish Independence and Civil War, and women’s suffrage. She has made several trips to Finland to visit schools, the National Board of Education, and the Ministry of Education. Sharon serves on the Board of FinnFest USA, which hosts an annual lecture series and festival. Sharon was named one of the Finlandia Foundation Lecturers of the Year for 2016-2018. She spoke to civic groups on her topic “Finnish Independence.” She retired in June 2021 as an associate professor of history at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she taught Russian history, Scandinavian history, and secondary social studies education.