Rethinking Historians’ Expertise

The ReThink network examines the practices of professional historical research and the acquisition of relevant skills from the point of view of education and the theory of history

Project overview

The ReThink research network examines the practices of professional historical research and the acquisition of relevant skills from the point of view of education and the theory of history, thus bringing together specialists on the conceptual foundations of history and the empirical testing of learning. The research is conducted jointly at three Finnish Universities: at the Department of Teacher Education at the University of Turku and the Departments of Philosophy at both the University of Oulu and Åbo Akademi University. The network aims to contribute to the development of history teaching in higher education and the training of teachers in primary and secondary schools, and provoke public debate on the role of history in schools in general as well as on the ways in which the past is dealt with by enthusiasts outside the discipline.

Keywords: Conceptual change; Constructivist theory of history; Epistemic cognition; Epistemology; Expertise in history; Eye-tracking; Higher education; Historical thinking; Motivation; Spatial Statistics; Structural Equation Modeling

Team members

Jonas Ahlskog

Jonas Ahlskog

Philosophy, Åbo Akademi University

Jonas Ahlskog holds PhD in philosophy and works at Åbo Akademi University, Finland. His research focuses on philosophy of testimony, memory studies, philosophy of history and cultural theory. He has published articles on these topics in journals such as Philosophical Investigations and Historisk tidskrift, and specialized in the role of testimonial knowledge in historical research. Ahlskog is also active as the director of Folkets bildningsförbund, an association organizing public discussion about social and cultural issues.

  • jonas.ahlskog(a)abo.fi
Anna Ahtola

Anna Ahtola

Department of Teacher Education, University of Turku

Anna Ahtola’s (MA, education) master’s thesis examined museums as multisensory learning environments, thus combining the perspectives of museum pedagogy and special needs education. Ahtola’s other research interests include lifelong learning and different types of learners. In addition to work in the field of education and teaching, she also has comprehensive experience in working in sales environments.

  • ajkaht(a)gmail.com
Erkki Anto

Erkki Anto

Department of Teacher Education, University of Turku

Erkki Anto (MA, education) works as a Project Researcher at the Department of Teacher Education and has specialized in the use of the eye-tracking methodology in educational research settings. He is preparing a doctoral dissertation about the text-comprehension skills of university students.

  • emanto@utu.fi

Natan Elgabsi

Natan Elgabsi

Philosophy, Åbo Akademi University

Natan Elgabsi is a Ph.D. candidate at the department of Philosophy at Åbo Akademi University. He works on the problem between epistemology and ethics, and especially on how this problem is evident in scientific debates on history, memory and genealogy. The major ethical problem for him is the researcher’s authority as an expert, and thus the question of his responsibility which undoubtedly tends to announce itself when scientifically rendering stories of historical or genealogical belonging. His point of departure is hermeneutic, and drawing mostly on ideas from J. Derrida, P. Ricoeur, H.G. Gadamer, and S.Weil.

  • nelgabsi(a)abo.fi
Mikko Kainulainen

Mikko Kainulainen

Department of Teacher Education, University of Turku

Mikko Kainulainen is a PhD candidate at the University of Turku, Finland. His research focuses on history education, mathematics education, epistemic cognition and conceptual change. In mathematics, he has studied the learning of rational numbers. Kainulainen has experience in teaching and other educational work in both academia and the private sector. He has designed digital learning environments and developed educational methods for using a mobile application to advance K-12 students’ spontaneous focusing on mathematical aspects of everyday life. Based in Helsinki, Kainulainen is currently working on a doctoral thesis about the development of history experts in higher education.

Jouni-Matti Kuukkanen

Jouni-Matti Kuukkanen

Centre for Philosophical Studies of History, University of Oulu

Associate Professor of Philosophy Jouni-Matti Kuukkanen received his PhD in Philosophy from the University of Edinburgh in 2006 and has also worked in the universities of Durham, Leiden and Hull. Kuukkanen is a founder and co-director of The Oulu Centre for Philosophical Studies of History, and has published widely on the philosophy of science and specifically on Thomas Kuhn, on the philosophical foundations of the historiography of science and the history of ideas, and on the philosophy of historiography. His book Postnarrativist Philosophy of Historiography (Palgrave) was published in 2015.

Satu Laitinen

Satu Laitinen

Department of Teacher Education, University of Turku

Satu Laitinen (PhD, education) works as a Research Coordinator at the Study and Work Well-being services at the University of Turku. Her research focuses on motivation and its structure and stability. In her work, Laitinen has specialized in the use of sophisticated statistical tools, such as Structural Equation Modeling (SEM). She has published on motivation and associations between language skills and child’s interest in, e.g., Finnish Journal of Education and Research Papers in Education.

Ilkka Lähteenmäki

Ilkka Lähteenmäki

Centre for Philosophical Studies of History, University of Oulu

Ilkka Lähteenmäki is a PhD candidate at University of Oulu, Finland. His research focuses on possibilities and limitations of different forms of historical (re)presentation, including games, social media feed, museum exhibitions, and of course the traditional narrative historical text. Lähteenmäki is currently working on a thesis which discusses the theoretical usefulness of conceptualising different kinds of historical representations as historical worlds instead of informative texts or explanations.

  • ilkka.o.lahteenmaki(a)oulu.fi
Jan Löfström

Jan Löfström

Department of Teacher Education, University of Turku

Jan Löfström, PhD, is Associate Professor in History and Social Studies Education at the University of Turku (2019–), and previously University Lecturer in History and Social Studies Education at the University of Helsinki (1999–2019). His research interests include uses of history, teaching of controversial and sensitive history, historical consciousness, theoretical foundations of school social studies, economic education, and gender education. He is since 2018 Researcher (25 %) at the Linnaeus University, Sweden, in a project directed by Professor Niklas Ammert (Linnaeus University), on the intersections of historical and moral consciousness, funded by the Swedish Research Council.

  • jan.lofstrom(a)utu.fi

Kalle Pihlainen

Kalle Pihlainen

Philosophy, Åbo Akademi University

Kalle Pihlainen is Adjunct Professor of Philosophy and Cultural Theory at Åbo Akademi University and of Political History and Cultural History at the University of Turku, Finland. His research focuses on the theory and philosophy of history as well as literary and historical culture, with particular emphasis on the ethics and politics of historical representation, embodiment and existential phenomenology. He has published extensively on these topics in journals and anthologies, and a book, The Work of History: Constructivism and a Politics of the Past (Routledge). His current research project, funded by the Estonian Research Council, concentrates on the turn to materiality in recent theory debates. He is active in a number of organizations for the promotion of research in the theory and philosophy of history, including the International Network for Theory of History (INTH), of which he is a co-founder.

Marjaana Puurtinen

Marjaana Puurtinen

Department of Teacher Education, University of Turku

Marjaana Puurtinen’s (Adj. Prof.; PhD, education; MA, history) research focuses on the characteristics of expertise and the development of skills related to proficiency in both history and music. In addition to her interests in bridging general cognitive theories on expertise to more domain-specific views on proficiency, she has specialized in the application of eye-tracking methodology to learning research and worked on the visual processing of music notation, written text, and historical images. Puurtinen works as a University Lecturer at the Department of Teacher Education, University of Turku, and is also one of the two coordinators of the Turku Eye-Tracking Laboratories.

Pekka Tolonen

Department of Teacher Education, University of Turku

Pekka Tolonen (MA, contemporary religion) is a University Teacher at the Department of Teacher Education and in charge of the teaching of religion and history didactics to future elementary school teachers.

  • petolo@utu.fi

Institutional and organisational affiliations

ÅA

ÅA

Åbo Akademi University
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UTUGS

UTUGS

University of Turku Graduate School
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University of Turku

University of Turku

University of Turku
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University of Oulu

University of Oulu

University of Oulu
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Turku Eye-Tracking Laboratories

Turku Eye-Tracking Laboratories

Turku Eye-Tracking Laboratories
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Oulu Centre

Oulu Centre

The Oulu Centre for Theoretical and Philosophical Studies of History
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ISHD

ISHD

International Society for History Didactics
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INTH

INTH

International Network for Theory of History
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FBF

FBF

Folkets Bildningsförbund
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EARLI

EARLI

European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction
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Feel free to contact us directly through our personal emails or Marjaana Puurtinen (marjaana.puurtinen(a)utu.fi) regarding general network activities and coordination.