A new frontier has been opened in the University of Turku. The John Morton Center of North American Studies was founded to coordinate and promote research dealing with USA, Canada and Mexico, and issues related to these. My own research is already partly concerned with North America, since Pentecostal Christianity in Finland shares many interests, discourses, and influences with their North American counterparts. Although religious movements in both geographical areas differ in many ways, they still deal with the same questions and teachings, albeit taking their own tradition and interpretation to shape their cultures relatively independently. But the more urgent reason for me to take part in the JMC-research-network is my forthcoming research project in Canada. We are currently planning this project, which would commence next year, and so far everything looks bright for the future. There is always the question of money, but that being provided I would spend one year doing research amongst Canadian Finns. Of this I will tell more when it is time for it.
The centre for North American Studies will officially open its activities later this spring. When the name “John Morton Centre” was chosen for the centre, there was – and still is – a question about how people will interpret the name. John Morton was a descendant of a Finnish Immigrant, and one of the “founding fathers” that signed the declaration of independence of the United States of America. Even though John Morton could be understood as a descendant of immigrants, the centre is not focused on immigration. Although immigration is one of the many research topics, the scope is more wide. The idea is to foster North American Studies in its totality. The range is therefore wiiiiide, and religion fits there very well.