Anna Kuismin is a former Associate Professor of Comparative Literature, director of the Literary Archives of the Finnish Literature Society and Senior Researcher at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. In 2001, she established the multi-disciplinary research network focusing on the processes and practices of literacy in nineteenth-century Finland) in 2001. Among other things, Kuismin has coordinated the Nordic research project “Reading and writing from below: Toward a new social history of literacy in the Nordic sphere during the long 19th century” (2011–2014). She was PI of the Academy of Finland funded research project “Exploring Social Boundaries from Below: Class, Ideology and Writing Practices in Nineteenth Century Finland in 2011–2015”.

Publications in the research database TUHAT


Articles in progress:

1) “Ideal Types and Odd Men Out: Legal Literacy and Social Mobility in 19th-Century Finland”. The article to be published in Learning Law by Doing (ed. by Mia Korpiola, Palgrave 2019) will explore autobiographical and biographical sources in order to present “ideal types” of people who had acquired legal literacy and, consequently, increased their human capital as well as those who did not follow this pattern. The focus in this research is on non-elite people who had very little or no formal schooling, living in the countryside.

2) “The Image of Lay Scribes and Advocates in Finnish Newspapers and Fiction in the Long Nineteenth Century”. The article discusses the persistent image of a boozy and treacherous scribe that appears in newspaper articles as well as stories and novels. The Finnish term “nurkkasihteeri” comes from the German Winkeladvokat that emphasises the shady aspects of the figure, while the Swedish “brännvinsadvokat” points to the drink-related motivation of the lay advocate.