1972 - Frances Karttunen

Frances Karttunen

Fulbright lecturer
Department of English Philology at the University of Tampere
Spring 1972

I am writing on behalf of myself, Frances Karttunen, and my husband, Alfred W. Crosby. Both of us have enjoyed the good fortune to be repeat beneficiaries of Fulbright support. (Al has also been a Fulbright research fellow in New Zealand.)

In the spring of 1972 I was a Fulbright teacher in the Department of English Philology at the University of Tampere. As a mother with young children, I made friends with other mothers both within and outside the university, and we have cherished and maintained our friendships ever since. One of the most memorable experiences of that spring was going on a University of Tampere faculty study trip to Tallinn and Tartu. Several of us brought our children along, which was greatly appreciated by our Estonian hosts.

In 1985 I did research for the chapter on Larin Paraske in my book Between Worlds (Rutgers University Press 1994, 1996) at the University of Helsinki. This work was supported by a Fulbright research fellowship, and I was generously assisted by colleagues at the University of Helsinki and at the Finnish Literature Society (SKS).

In 1985-86 my husband, environmental historian Alfred W. Crosby, held the Bicentennial Fulbright Chair in North American Studies in the University of Helsinki Department of History. Memorable that year were visits to Tallinn, Viipuri, St. Petersburg, and (especially!) Petroskoi and the wooden churches of Kizhi. Also memorable was that on the eve of a planned trip to Moscow, we learned from the Yleisradio 10 p.m. news of the nuclear accident at Chernobyl. Checking the weather map, we saw a high pressure center sitting right on top of Moscow with strong winds blowing away from there, so we went ahead and traveled the next morning, certain that Moscow was one of the safest places to be at that moment in time.

We returned to Finland in 1997-98 to jointly hold the Bicentennial Fulbright Chair at the Renvall Institute. Al taught environmental history and also a seminar on the history of jazz. I taught a comparative course about Finnish and American literature and another about the language history of North America. In the Department of Linguistics I taught about Mesoamerican languages and writing systems. In the spring of 1998 we were able to return to Kizhi with a study group from the University of Joensuu and also to travel independently to Tartu, which had changed greatly since my visit in 1972.

Our experiences and friendships in Finland have enriched our lives beyond description. Facts about Finland have informed Al's writing about environmental history, and readers of Between Worlds have told me that my career history of Larin Paraske stands out among the chapters of the book.