Announcing the new Finnish Chair

Photo of Dr. Oula Seitsonen

Dr. Oula Seitsonen

The Finnish Chair Advisory Committee and the Department of Anthropology are pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Oula Seitsonen as the 11th Lakehead University Chair in Finnish Studies. The Chair in Finnish Studies is an interdisciplinary appointment for one or two terms during the regular academic year.

Chairs are chosen by the Advisory Committee through an open competition and are expected to have a significant research profile. Dr. Seitsonen is an archaeologist with a particular interest in contemporary archaeology of, for instance, immigrant and refugee populations.

Dr. Seitsonen will be in Thunder Bay for the fall term and will be teaching a course entitled Modern Conflict Archaeology (ANTH 3811). During his time at Lakehead University, he will also be conducting a research project entitled “Finnish-Canadian homestead research in the footsteps of archaeologist Sakari Pälsi.”

He will be carrying out a multidisciplinary contemporary archaeological study of early-20th century Finnish Canadian homesteads and exploring the material heritage of Finnish Canadians in the Thunder Bay region, and retracing the trail that Finnish archaeologist Sakari Pälsi took in 1927 across Canada. Pälsi visited Finnish societies in different parts of Canada and documented their lifeways in photographs and writing, for instance, in the Port Arthur area, and at Sointula on the Malcom Island, British Columbia.

Dr. Seitsonen has taught a wide variety of courses at Universities of Helsinki and Oulu, and been in charge of archaeological field schools and fieldwork in various areas, besides Fennoscandia, for example in Mongolia and eastern Africa. His recent teaching has included e.g. the following lecture series: “Archaeologies of 20th Century Conflicts” and “Remote Sensing methods and approaches in Archaeology”. In addition to teaching, he enjoys community engagement that he has practiced for example through public lectures and community archaeological projects.

Research Interests:

Dr. Seitsonen’s doctoral dissertation “Digging Hitler’s Arctic War: Archaeologies and Heritage of the Second World War German Military Presence in Finnish Lapland” was the first theoretically informed, wide-scale study of the Second World War in Finland from archaeological and heritage perspective. His research has framed this difficult material legacy of the Nazi German military presence in Finnish Lapland during the Second World War as ‘dark heritage’ that is in varying ways significant to different communities.

He has also examined various archaeological and material culture approaches to contemporary discussions on heritage perception and ownership, indigenous rights, community empowerment, relational ontologies, effects of Anthropocene, and the ongoing refugee crisis. Besides contemporary and conflict archaeologies, Dr. Seitsonen studies the archaeology of pastoralist societies in northern Fennoscandia, Mongolia, and Kenya and Tanzania, and the prospects of applying remote sensing and artificial intelligence in archaeological research and heritage management. Dr. Seitsonen is the author of several publications, including the first monograph on modern conflict archaeology in Finland: Seitsonen O. 2021. Archaeologies of Hitler’s Arctic War. Heritage of the Second World War German Military Presence in Finnish Lapland (310 pp). Routledge: Abingdon.

Dr. Seitsonen’s office will be in BB2002-B in the Department of Anthropology. He can be contacted via email at and will soon have a Lakehead University email address.