Conference: Folklore and Old Norse Mythology, 27.–28. November 2017, Helsinki, Finland.

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We are pleased to announce that the international conference Folklore and Old Norse Mythology will be held 27th–28th November 2017 in Helsinki, Finland. This is the twelfth annual ‘Aarhus Mythology Conference’, as it has become commonly known.

      Across especially the past decade, research on Old Norse mythology has exhibited a boom of interest in both folklore collected in recent centuries and in perspectives and insights offered by today’s folklore research. Folklore and Old Norse Mythology has been organized to meet this growing interest by gathering specialists from a wide range of disciplines to share and discuss their views and approaches.  Earlier scholarship had seen the value of more recent folklore in terms of continuities from an earlier time.  This remains a topic of interest, approached through the frameworks of today’s methodologies, yet a look at the presentations of the event reveal that there has been shift in attention and concern.  Traditions in the background of Old Norse sources are becoming viewed in terms of folklore, looking at Norse mythology through that lens while capitalizing on the analogical value of more richly-documented traditions for approaching mythology in the Old Norse world.  The diverse perspectives and approached brought together in this event reflect new directions in thinking with the potential for a critical mass of discussion that could have a resounding impact on the field.

Joonas Ahola (University of Helsinki) “Myth and Character-Building in the Icelandic Family Sagas”

Maths Bertell (Mid-Sweden University) “Exclusivity in Old Norse Ritual and the Christianization of Ritual Space”

Matthias Egeler (Ludwig-Maxmillians University, Munich) “Medieval Irish Folklore and the Construction of Place in Eyrbyggja saga

Frog (University of Helsinki) “‘My God Can Beat up Your God!’Asserting Specialists’ Power and Authority through Mythic Discourse”

Leszek Gardela (University of Rzeszow) “Women and Axes in the North: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Viking Archaeology, Old Norse Literature and Folklore”

Gísli Sigurðsson (Árni Magnússon Institute, Reykjavík), “Mythology of the Prose Edda Interacting with the Sky”

Terry Gunnell (University Iceland) “George Marwick’s Account of ‘The Muckle Tree or Igasill’: Folklore or Literature?”

Eldar Heide (Western Norway University of Applied Sciences) “Magical Fishing in Historia Norwegie – Incomprehensible without Late Folklore”

Kirsi Kanerva (University of Turku) “Brynhildr, the Suicidal Valkyrie: Views of Suicide in Medieval Iceland”

Karolina Kouvola (University of Helsinki) “In Search of the tietäjä with a Little Help from Old Norse Material”

Henning Kure (Mythologist, independent scholar, Copenhagen) “Size Matters – Dwarfs in Old Norse Myths and Folklore”

Tommy Kuusela (Stockholm University) “A Brief History of Giants”

John Lindow (University of California, Berkeley) “Old Norse Mythology and Legend Tradition”

John McKinnell (University of Durham) “Traces of Pre-Christian Religion in British Ballads and Popular Poetry”

Stephen Mitchell (Harvard University) “Myths, Historiolas, and Magic”

Else Mundal (University of Oslo) “Old Norse Mythology, Heroic Legends, Religion and Folklore”

Andreas Nordberg (University of Stockholm) “The Configurations of Old Norse Religion and its Relevance for the Study of late Scandinavian Folklore”

Simon Nygaard (Aarhus University) “Skalds as Ritual Specialists? Looking for Religious Ritual Frameworks in the Oral Performance of Haraldskvæði, Eiríksmál and Hákonarmál

Judy Quinn (University of Cambridge) “Fifth-Column Mother: Týr’s Negotiation of Kinship (and jötunheimar) According to Hymiskviða

Catharina Raudvere (University of Copenhagen) “Transforming, Transgressing, and Terrorizing: Shape-Shifters in Swedish Medieval Ballads”

Jens Peter Schjødt (Aarhus University) “Pre-Cristian Religion of the North as Folklore: The Example of Freyr”

Rudolf Simek (University of Bonn) “Basic Instincts?”

Kendra Willson (University of Turku) "Approaching seiðr from Later Traditions – Possibilities and Pitfalls"

Laila Kitzler Åhfeldt  (Swedish National Heritage Board) “Gotland Picture Stones and Narration”

      Abstracts of papers and additional information are available on the conference website:

      We hope to see you in Helsinki!

      Folklore and Old Norse Mythology is organized by Folklore Studies of the Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies, University of Helsinki, the Academy of Finland Project “Mythology, Verbal Art and Authority in Social Impact”, the Finnish Literature Society (SKS), the Society for Medieval Studies in Finland Glossa ry., and the Department of Finnish, Finno-Ugric and Nordic Languages and Literatures, University of Helsinki, with support from the Federation of Finnish Learned Societies.

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