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Provisional Conference Programme:

Northern Myths, Modern Identities: The Nationalization of Mythologies in Northern Europe 1800-2014

Groningen, 27-29 November 2014

Thursday 27 November


Session 1: The North as a mythical space.

Moderator: Simon Halink (University of Groningen)

-         Kim Simonsen (University of Amsterdam): Pan-Scandinavism and the use of mythology in C.C. Rafn’s and Rasmus Rask’s early philological work.

-         Gylfi Gunnlaugsson (Reykjavik Academy): Norse Myths, Nordic Identities: The Special Case of Iceland

-         Sumarliði R. Ísleifsson (University of Iceland): Pliny Miles, Myths and Modernity in the mid-19th Century

-         Thomas Mohnike (University of Strasbourg): Rasmus Rask and the imaginative geographies of the North through comparative philology


Session 2 : Modern Scandinavian literature.

Moderator: Goffe Jensma (University of Groningen)

-         Petra Broomans (University of Groningen): Saga DNA in Contemporary Nordic Literature According to Dutch Literary Critics

-         Katja Schulz (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main): Crossing the Borders – Loki and the Decline of the Nation-State

-         Daisy L. Neijmann (University of Iceland): Norse Mythology in Icelandic Fiction of the Second World War

-         Carline Tromp (University of Oslo): Odin's millennial crisis: Norse mythology and Nordic identities in Janne Teller’s Odins ø and Cornelius Jakhelln’s Gudenes fall




Session 3 : Northernness in the East.

Moderator: Petra Broomans (University of Groningen)

-         Toms Ķencis (University of Tartu): Cultures of Mythology: Roots and Branches of Latvian Nationalism

-         Kendra Willson (University of Turku): Kalevala dell'arte and Noh - Finnish epic meets other theater traditions

-         Monika Baár (University of Groningen): Shifting concepts of the North in Eastern Europe

-         Dmitry Shlapentokh (Indiana University): Nordic Myths and Post-Soviet Russia


Keynote address : Tom Shippey: Heirs of Elias Lönnroth: Kreutzwald, Longfellow, and Tolkien

Chair: Simon Halink


Keynote address : Joep Leerssen: Grim purity: The North between culture, biology and metaphor

Chair: Monika Baár



Friday 28 November


Session 4 : Regional Northernness: Friesland.

Moderator: Nelleke IJssennagger (Frisian Museum, University of Groningen)

-         Goffe Jensma (University of Groningen): Freezing chill Chili: The myth of Medieval Frisian settlements in Chile and where it came from

-         Han Nijdam (Fryske Akademy): Redbad, the Once and Future King of the Frisians

-         Rolf H. Bremmer Jr. (Leiden University) and Philippus H. Breuker (University of Amsterdam): The “Old Frisian” Tescklaow as Invented Tradition: Forging Friesland’s Rural Past


          Session 5: The visual arts and music.

Moderator: Han Nijdam (Fryske Akademy)

-         Jón Karl Helgason (University of Iceland): Villain or a superhero? The development of Marvel's Mighty Thor

-         Ester Jiresch and Vincent Boswijk (University of Groningen): Contemporary reception of Eddic themes in the New Media – virtual "Northern" identities

-         Wisse Ruyter (Utrecht University): Nordic Tune: Music and Nordic Identity

-         Simon Halink (University of Groningen): The gods in sculpture: Einar Jónsson and his mythological universe




          Session 6: The myth of the North from an international perspective.

Moderator: Ester Jiresch (University of Groningen)

-         Robert A. Saunders (Farmingdale State College): Neopaganism and Nationalism in Northern Europe since 1800: A Preliminary Analysis

-         Mateo Ballester Rodríguez (Complutense University Madrid): The Gothic Myth as a source of political legitimacy and national affirmation in Spain

-         Raymond Taras (University of Sussex): Master Myths of the Canadian North in 1967: A Critical Retrospective


          Round table and conclusions.



Saturday 29 November

-         Excursion to the Frisian Museum and festival Explore the North in Leeuwarden.


The conference will take place on three different locations in the centre of Groningen, all within walking distance from each other. The first day, the entire programme will still take place in the monumental 'courtroom' of Oude Boteringestraat 38. On the Friday, the morning programme (9:00-13:00) will take place in the building of the Law Faculty (Turftorenstraat 21), room A1. The afternoon programme (13:00-end) will take place in the monumental Academy Building. Of course we can show you all these locations on the Thursday.
Last modified:25 July 2018 3.55 p.m.