Animals and Religion - The Joint Annual Conference of The Finnish Society for Human-Animal Studies and the Finnish Society for the Study of Religion

Tiina Salmia Discussion
Call for Papers
February 12, 2021
Subject Fields: 
Animal Studies, Religious Studies and Theology
Animals and Religion - The Joint Annual Conference of The Finnish Society for Human-Animal Studies and the Finnish Society for the Study of Religion 
Dates: April 6th-8th, 2021
Location: Online
Languages: Finnish, Swedish and English
Participation fee: € 10 (Members of YKES or SUS € 0)
Organizers: The Finnish Society for Human-Animal Studies (YKES) and the Finnish Society for the Study of Religion (SUS) 
Diverse beliefs associated with animals reflect the ways in which people across different times and cultures experience and structure reality. The theme “Animals and Religion” invites discussion that examines religious and spiritual aspects of the relationship between human and other animals, or otherwise animal related phenomena in different traditions, myths, worldviews, and non-religious movements. 
Presentations may address, for example but not limited to, the following questions: How do different religious traditions or spiritual and secular worldviews address the question of animals? How are animals represented in myths, religious texts and images? How does the relationship between humans and non-human animals appear in rites and rituals? What kind of religious or religious-like descriptions of human-animal relationships can be found in fiction, visual arts, or media culture? How to take into consideration the animals’ nonhuman agency in a religious or spiritual context? In what ways are questions of power intertwined with these relations and interpretations of them?
We encourage a broad understanding of the theme and welcome proposals for presentations from different disciplines and fields of study. Presentations can address both methodological and ethical issues or be case studies of the human-animal relationship. Presentations must be in Finnish, Swedish or English. 
Keynote speakers
Graham Harvey, The Open University, UK 
Graham Harvey is Professor of Religious Studies with research interests in indigenous cultures, ecology, animism, paganism, and everyday rituals. 
Liisa Kaski, University of Helsinki
Liisa Kaski is a folklorist and classical philologist. Her research interests include animality in myths, animal-related belief systems and ways of conceptualising animal life in both classical antiquity and the Finnic oral tradition. She is currently working on her PhD, focusing on the prehistory and early evolution of the concept of “animal” in archaic Greek.
Anni Kytömäki, Novelist
Anni Kytömäki has published three novels, including the recent winner of Finlandia Prize Margarita (2020). Human-nature relationship is a recurring theme in her historical novels, in which animals appear as both material animals and mythical creatures.
Proposals for individual presentations and panels 
Please submit your proposal for a presentation (max 300 words), preferably as a word document or a pdf file, by 12th February 2021 to The organizing committee forms panels from approved individual papers. You can also propose a full panel (3-4 presentations), also by 12th February 2021. In that case, please include a title of the panel, chair’s name, a short description of the panel in a few sentences, and names, titles and abstracts (max 300 words) of presenters in your submission. 
Artistic performances
We also invite academic and non-academic artists to present their work as presentations, performances or other creative ways under the theme of the conference. Submit your proposal (max 300 words) by 12th February 2021 to You can also include links in your proposal. 
Workshop for undergraduate and PhD students
The conference starts on the 6th of April with a text workshop for undergraduate and PhD students. Apply for the workshop by sending a one-page summary of your text by 12th February 2021 to workshop leaders Jaana Kouri (, and Nina V. Nygren ( Be prepared to send max 20 pages of text for discussion in the workshop. You will receive more detailed instructions by e-mail after your proposal is approved. A maximum of ten students will be admitted to the group.
Contact Email: