AHA Member Spotlight: Jeremy Land
Jeremy Land is a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Helsinki. He lives in Helsinki, Finland, and has been a member since 2013.
Alma maters: BS (history, secondary education), Appalachian State University, 2008; MA (history), Appalachian State University, 2010; PhD (history), Georgia State University, 2019
Fields of interest: Atlantic, early America, economic, business, maritime, global economy
Describe your career path. What led you to where you are today?
My path was heavily influenced by Jari Eloranta while he was teaching at Appalachian State University in my master’s program. He connected me to the larger economic history community, providing opportunities to not only participate but to organize conferences. He encouraged me to be willing to join and actively seek out collaborative projects with scholars from around the world, not to stay sequestered in my own research interests. This openness has opened many doors for my career, including short stints with the Atlanta Federal Reserve and private research and consulting firms, helping me to create a large, multidisciplinary, and international network of friends and scholars that provides a never-ending supply of new ideas and methodologies to expand my research and content for teaching. These networks directly led to my move to the University of Helsinki and will likely influence the rest of my career path.
What do you like the most about where you live and work?
Living in Helsinki has several advantages to the study of maritime economic history, especially with its tradition of relatively high levels of educational and research funding. Pandemic restrictions aside, Helsinki is also within easy reach of many different countries and port cities, all of which offer unique opportunities for both research and tourism. Finland also has many, many libraries to visit.
What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently employed via a long-run study of Nordic Fiscal states from the early modern era to the present, exploring the transition from warfare-focused states to welfare-oriented societies. Much of my non-project work largely focuses on trade, early America, and imperial capacity, including my first monograph on global trade and the origins of the American Revolution. This has led to several other interrelated projects including a coauthored book project on the economic relationship between Portugal and British America prior to independence and a digital history project with colleagues throughout Europe to expand the accessibility and quality of digital datasets on early modern trade and commerce.
Have your interests evolved since graduation? If so, how?
My interests have shifted from being Atlantic-focused to a more global approach to my research, perhaps as much a result of my move to Finland as anything else. My research has improved from being in close contact with scholars from so many backgrounds, especially in the newer projects where collaboration is as much the point of the work as the research itself, a benefit of the Finnish research funding schemes where collaboration is considered an output not just part of the process.
What’s the most fascinating thing you’ve ever found at the archives or while doing research?
In the National Archives in London, I found a number of petitions from English merchants who were deeply concerned about the competition that American merchants posed to their livelihoods as early as the 1750s, with many requesting that Britain pursue more stringent regulations. This was surprising, as the traditional historiographical narrative has treated American merchants as being, at best, peripheral to the relative dominance of English merchants in Atlantic trade.
What do you value most about the history discipline?
Its very nature is evolutionary, in that each generation of historians improves, diversifies, refines, and reinterprets the past and the archives of that past. I genuinely enjoy the subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) narrative shifts and new data analyses that can not only find new sources and evidence, but also take old material and reinvigorate its significance to the field.
Why is membership in the AHA important to you?
Membership in the AHA provides a centralized perspective of the depth, breadth, and diversity of our field, providing an opportunity to learn and meet new scholars whom you can exchange important ideas and improve your research.
AHA members are involved in all fields of history, with wide-ranging specializations, interests, and areas of employment. To recognize our talented and eclectic membership, Perspectives Daily features a regular AHA Member Spotlight series.
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