Posted 9 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022

Associate Professor of History Heidi Morrison and her family recently returned from completing a two-year visiting researcher post in Finland.

Professor’s two-week trip to Finland becomes much more

Heidi Morrison, associate professor of history, recently returned from completing a two-year visiting researcher post in Finland.

However, this extended period abroad was not the original plan.

On March 1, 2020, Morrison and her family traveled to Finland so she could attend a conference held by the Academy of Finland’s Center of Excellence in the History of Experiences (HEX) at Tampere University.

As COVID-19 unexpectedly struck the world, plans changed. Morrison was convinced by the university to apply for an open senior researcher position that would allow her to stay for an additional two years studying historical experiences. Out of nearly 100 applicants from around the world, she was the grant recipient.

Heidi Morrison, associate professor of history

The study of experiences highlights history from the bottom-up. Morrison looks at children in order to gain an understanding of their actual lived experiences and emotions throughout time. In her work, she seeks to create a historical narrative based on oral history. 

She goes on to say that holding the university position was a great chance to explore Finland as a country, and that students should try to study abroad there if possible.

Morrison is in the process of trying to establish an international partnership between UWL and Tampere University that could initiate further exchange.

“It is one of the safest and most progressive places I’ve ever been,” she notes. “The country is a social welfare state, and its government takes care of its people resulting, for example, in near non-existent homelessness. The people are content with their education, health care, and livelihoods, as highlighted in the Nordic country’s recent No.1 ranking on Bloomberg’s World Happiness Report, for the fifth consecutive year now.”

Morrison’s interest in other countries and cultures does not end with Finland.

Her forthcoming book —Surviving Memory in Palestine: Narrative, Trauma, and Children in the Second Intifada — traces the life stories of 11 Palestinians who grew up during a period of intensified violence under Israeli military occupation forces in their land. 

Morrison finds that conventional approaches to children’s war trauma usually take a biomedical approach that does not deal with the trauma's root historical causes. Her research urges a more holistic approach to diagnosing and treating childhood trauma.