Ph.D. Folklore/Scandinavian Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2014
MA Scandinavian Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2008
MA Folklore and Ethnomusicology, Indiana University-Bloomington, 2008
BA English and Anthropology, Michigan State University, 2003
Spring 2022: MWF 10:10-11:00; 2:00- 3:00 also by appointment
Finnish American Culture
Gender in Nordic Society
History and Culture of Finland
Paloheimo Fellows Seminar
Sámi History and Culture
Upper Peninsula Folklore
Dr. Hilary-Joy Virtanen is Assistant Professor of Finnish & Nordic Studies at Finlandia University. She is a folklorist/ethnologist specializing in Nordic and Upper Midwestern (USA) cultural practices, including festivals, traditional arts, oral genres, music, folk dance, ethnic and national dress, and heritage language maintenance. Historical moments that interest her include 19th century national romanticism, particularly in Finland, as well as 1905-1920, a period when American worker culture developed certain hallmarks during intense labor unrest and the entrance of the United States into World War I. This historical period is reflected in the present in existent labor music and laborlore (especially songs associated with the Industrial Workers of the World) and through monuments and museums documenting industrial heritage and the lives of workers. Her research in the iron and copper mining regions of the Upper Midwest and the post-industrial city of Tampere, Finland are related through Finnish American migration and certain similar historical developments in each place.
Areas of Interest / Speciality
Folklore and Cultural Anthropology, digital humanities, Finnish and Nordic ethnicities, American Studies, festivals, Upper Peninsula studies, languages of Finland, epic poetry, mythology, labor lore, folk dance, national dress traditions, oral history, museum studies, audio preservation.
Academic Advisor for Criminal Justice, Finnish & Nordic Studies, and Liberal Studies programs
Faculty Advisor, Alpha Lambda Delta National Honor Society
American Folklore Society
Association of Critical Heritage Studies
International Society for Ethnology and Folklore
Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study
“Let the Blood Roses Grow: Workers’ Worldviews in the Performances of Oren Tikkanen.” In Culture Work: Folklore for the Public Good. B. Marcus Cederström and Tim Frandy, eds. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. 2022.
“’Do you Claim Exemption from Draft?’: Voicing Dissent through the World War I Draft Card.” In Homefront in the American Heartland. Steven Walton and Patty Sotirin, eds. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Press. 2020.
Songs of the Finnish Migration: A Bilingual Anthology. Edited by Thomas A. DuBois and Marcus Cederström. Translated by Thomas A. DuBois, B. Marcus Cederström, Sara Tikkanen, and Hilary-Joy Virtanen. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. 2020.
The Making of Finland: The Time of the Grand Duchy. Special Issue of Journal of Finnish Studies 21(1&2). Helena Halmari, Scott Kaukonen, Hanna Snellman, and Hilary-Joy Virtanen, eds. 2018.
“The Saint Urho Tradition in the USA.” In Saint Urho/Pyhä Urho: From Fakelore to Folklore. Anne Heimo, Tuomas Hovi, and Maria Vasenkari, eds. Turku, Finland: University of Turku. 2012.
Finnish-American Songs and Tunes, from Mines, Lumber Camps, and Workers' Halls. Special Issue of the Journal of Finnish Studies 14(1). James P. Leary and Hilary Joy Virtanen, guest editors. 2010.
“What Official History Forgets Lives on in Song: On a Finnish-American Parody of `It's a Long Way to Tipperary.'” Journal of Finnish Studies 14(1). 2010.
“Literary Performance of Folkloric Knowledge: The Works of Bernhard Hillila and Jingo Vachon.” Journal of Finnish Studies 11(2). 2007.
“Take the Power Back: Tradition, Cultural Memory and Heikki Lunta.” Journal of Finnish Studies 11(1). 2007.
Awards & Recognitions
2019 Finlandia University Board of Trustees Distinguished Faculty Award.
2017 to present University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures Honorary Fellow.
2016 Finlandia University Five Year Service Award.
2014 Keweenaw Peninsula Chamber of Commerce Spark Plug Awards Project of the Year. (Awarded to the Board of Directors of FinnFest USA 2013).
2010 American Folklore Society Nordic-Baltic Section Boreal Prize for Best Graduate Student Published Article.
2006 Indiana University Council for Advancing Student Leadership Certificate of Recognition.
"From Ontonagon to Sugar Island to Petrozavodsk: Leftist Worker Culture in the Lives of the Hokkanen Family,” Exploring Sugar Island’s Early Finnish History Symposium. University of Helsinki. 2022.
"’Telling the Copper Story: Multivocality and Silences at the Keweenaw National Historical Park,” International Society for Ethnology and Folklore /Société Internationale d’Ethnologie et de Folklore, Helsinki, Finland. 2021.
"What’s Finnish and What’s American in Finnish American Tradition?” FinnFest USA 2021 Virtual Conference and Festival. 2021.
“From Class War to Great War: Copper Country Finnish Leftists in World War I,” University of Oulu Migration Studies in Archaeology and History Seminar. 2019.
"Teaching and Talking of Kalevala in Finnish America," FinnFest USA 2019.
"Social Scientists Now: Adventures in Ethnography with the Paloheimo Fellows," Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study. 2019.
"Let the Blood Roses Grow: Workers' Sentiments in the Music of Oren Tikkanen," Folklore and the Wisconsin Idea Conference. 2018.
"Gossip, Memes, Memorates, and Ballads: Narrating the Legend of a Local Outlaw," American Folklore Society. 2017.
"An American Laestadian in Postwar Finland," FinnFest USA 2017.
"The Emerging Legend of John Wesley Saatio, Copper Country Outlaw," Sonderegger Symposium for Upper Peninsula Studies. 2016.
“On the Repertoire of Kay Seppälä, Folk Dancer and Kantele Player,” Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study. 2016
“An Ancient Finnish Midsummer Ritual on the Shores of Lake Superior: Juhannus in Toivola,” Sonderegger Symposium for Upper Peninsula Studies. 2015
"Gogebic Range Finns: From Past to Present,” presented at UP History Conference, Historical Society of Michigan. 2015
“Folklore, Resistance, and Why the Humanities Matter,” Suomi College of Arts and Sciences Colloquium Series, Finlandia University. 2015
“A Folklorist's Dream: Collecting Folk Culture among Copper Country Finns,” Keweenaw National Historical Park Fourth Thursday in History Lecture Series. 2014
“From Finland to Fulton to the Library of Congress: The Alan Lomax Recordings of Gusti Similä,” presented in connection with Michigan's Folk Song Legacy: Grand Discoveries from the Great Depression exhibition, Finlandia University. 2014
“Alternative Models for the First Year Seminar,” Yes We Must Coalition National Conference. 2014
“Heikinpäivä in Hancock: Commemoration, Creativity, and Community,” FinnForum X. 2014
Finnish American Chip Wood Carvers. Project Director and Researcher. Documentary Film. Michael Loukinen, director. Running time: 56:22. Marquette, MI: UP North Films. 2021.
Finnish American Rag Rug Weavers. Project Director and Researcher. Documentary film. Michael Loukinen, director. Running Time: 52:53. Marquette, MI: UP North Films. 2021.
Melvin Kangas: Kantele Man. Project Director and Researcher. Documentary film. Michael Loukinen, director. Running time: 27:03. Marquette, MI: UP North Films. 2021.
Yooper Creoles: Finnish Music in Michigan’s Copper Country. Project Director and Researcher. Documentary film. Running time: 65:29. Michael Loukinen, director. Marquette, MI: UP North Films. 2021.
Burbot: American Finlander Lobster. Project Director and Researcher. Documentary film. Michael Loukinen, director. Running time: 38:14. Marquette, MI: UP North Films. 2020.
Pelkie: 100 Years of Finnishness in Michigan’s North Woods. Researcher. Documentary film. Michael Loukinen, director. Marquette, MI: UP North Films. 2019.
Building the Bonfire: 2018 Juhannus Midsummer Festival. Short film. University of Wisconsin-Madison 2018 Summer Folklore Field School. https://vimeo.com/281031003
Paloheimo Fellows Program Blog: paloheimofellowsprogram.wordpress.com
This is the blog for the Paloheimo Fellows Program, a competitive study abroad program that I direct and teach, which brings 3-4 students with me to Finland each year to conduct qualitative field research in Finnish culture and society.
Heikki Lunta Internet Exhibit: http://csumc.wisc.edu/exhibit/HeikkiLunta/index.htm
This internet exhibit, hosted on the website of the Center for the Study of Upper Midwestern Cultures at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is based on my 2006 Masters thesis at Indiana University on the Copper Country's own Finnish American Snow God.