University of Oulu

Elmgren, A. 2022. “Imperial Complicity: Finns and Tatars in the Political Hierarchy of Races.” In Finnishness, Whiteness and Coloniality, edited by J. Hoegaerts, T. Liimatainen, L. Hekanaho and E. Peterson, 315–43. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press. DOI:

Finns and Tatars in the political hierarchy of races

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Author: Elmgren, Ainur1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: , 2022
Publish Date: 2022-09-02


Finnish and Tatar intellectuals shared a position of subordination and relative privilege in the Russian Empire from the early 19th century onward. They did not simply accept or reject Western racial knowledge production, which was increasingly used to justify colonialism and imperialism toward the end of the 19th century; they appropriated it and created a localized version of racial hierarchy, subverting derogatory racial stereotypes to sources of vitality. Within that framework, the heritage of a another empire that had managed to menace the white West, the Mongol Empire, had an undeniable attraction to Finns and Tatars, who shared the experience of middle-men minorities providing experts and services to a multi-national empire, while aspiring for empires and colonies of their own.

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ISBN: 978-952-369-074-5
ISBN Print: 978-952-369-072-1
Pages: 315 - 343
DOI: 10.33134/hup-17-13
Host publication: Finnishness, whiteness and coloniality
Host publication editor: Hoegaerts, Josephine
Liimatainen, Tuire
Hekanaho, Laura
Peterson, Elizabeth
Type of Publication: A3 Book chapter
Field of Science: 615 History and archaeology
Funding: Academy of Finland, grant number 297032.
Copyright information: This chapter distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial 4.0 license. Copyright is retained by the author(s).