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Finnish Oral History Network Private and Public Memories Symposium
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11/29/2012 to 11/30/2012
When: 11/29/2012
Where: Helsinki

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 (Updated 10/17/2012)

Private and Public Memories: the Fourth International Symposium of the Finnish Oral History Network
Helsinki, 29–30 November 2012

Private and Public Memories symposium will be arranged in Helsinki 29–30 November 2012. The symposium is hosted by the Finnish Oral History Network (FOHN) in collaboration with the Finnish Literature Society and the Academy of Finland project Strangers from the East (2009-2012).

The event is the 4th international symposium organized by the Finnish Oral History Network. Our intention is to stimulate discussion and bring together scholars interested in private and public memories from different parts of the world and representing various fields. The invited speakers are:

Paula Hamilton
: Professor Paula Hamilton is a historian at the University of Technology, Sydney, and the co-director of the Australian Centre for Public History. She has been a practitioner of oral history for 30 years and has worked in a range of projects with community groups, museums, heritage agencies, and local government councils. She has published widely in public history, oral history and memory studies.

Daniela Koleva
: Daniela Koleva is associate professor at the University of Sofia. Her research interests are in the field of oral history and anthropology of socialism and post-socialism, biographical and cultural memory, biographical methods, and social constructivism. Her current work is on vernacular memory of socialism in Bulgaria and on religious and secular life-course rituals in the UK, Romania and Bulgaria.

Kirsti Salmi-Niklander
: Kirsti Salmi-Niklander is Academy Research Fellow and adjunct professor in Folklore Studies at University of Helsinki. In her current research project she explores oral-literary traditions in 19th- and early 20th-century popular movements and among Finnish-Canadian immigrants.

Vieda Skultans
: Vieda Skultans is professor emerita of Social Anthropology at the University of Bristol. She currently teaches at the Stradina Medical University and University of Latvia in Riga. Her research and teaching interests include gender, narrative, cross-cultural psychiatry, medical anthropology and the history of psychiatry.


Thursday 29.11.2012 Finnish Literature Society, Great Hall, 2nd floor, Hallituskatu 1:

10.30 – 11.45: Paula Hamilton: Oral History as Memory-work: From Personal to Public Remembering

Friday 30.11.2012 Finnish Literature Society, Great Hall, 2nd floor, Hallituskatu 1:

9.15 – 10.30 Daniela Koleva: Memory Tactics: Private Uses of Public Memory Cultures

10.30 – 11.30 Kirsti Salmi-Niklander: From Shadows to Spotlights: Exploring the Grey Areas in Life Stories

The keynote lectures, sessions and the final panel are open for all.

All of the sessions and the final discussion will be held at the House of Sciences (Kirkkokatu 6).  Thursday 29.11.2012 from 3.15. to 17.00. and Friday 30.11.2012 from 13.15. to 16.15.

The principal language of the symposium is English.

Program and additional information:


Ulla-Maija Peltonen

Chair, FOHN
Finnish Literature Society
P.O. Box 259
FIN-00171 Helsinki

Ulla Savolainen

Conference Secretary, FOHN
Folklore Studies/ Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies
P.O. Box 4
FIN-00014 University of Helsi

----- (Original post w/ CFP) -----

Papers are invited for contributions to the fourth international symposium of the Finnish Oral History Network Private and Public Memories hosted by the Finnish Literature Society in collaboration with the Academy of Finland project Strangers from the East (2009-2012). Our intention is to stimulate discussion and bring together scholars from various fields interested in private and public memories. The invited speakers include Paula Hamilton (Australian Centre for Public History, University of Technology Sydney), Daniela Koleva (Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski), Kirsti Salmi-Niklander (University of Helsinki) and Vieda Skultans (University of Bristol).


Memory is a way for people to give meaning to and transform their past. Memory is shared, transmitted and expressed in various and complicated ways and continuously reworked in relation to changing political and emotional needs. In addition to "private” we have chosen to use the term "public” in relation to "memories” to signal our understanding of the essentially social nature of remembering. Personal memory is not merely private and internal, but always draws on knowledge and information from the surrounding society. Public can be used with reference to the "memory of publics”, in other words, the ways memory affects and is affected by various publics. Another way to view it, is the "publicness of memory”, which examines the processes through which private memories become public. Politics of memory are always at stake in this process. "Public memories” are shaped by complex power struggles. Who gets to say what about a given community? What kinds of practices are used to authorize some versions of a story and to silence other ones?

The program will include keynote lectures, paper sessions and a closing panel. The working conference language will be English. Some special sessions will be organized, entitled "Oral-literary traditions in immigrant communities”, "Oral history from above” and "Life-cycles and memory”. Proposals may be submitted for individual papers or workshop sessions. Individual proposals may be addressed to specific sessions or in general.

All proposals should include a title and a maximum 250 word abstract (per paper). The proposals must be written in English. Proposals for whole sessions should include all abstracts of the suggested papers. Please include with the proposal the following information:
- name (with your surname in CAPITAL letters)
- affiliation
- postal address
- e-mail address
- telephone and fax numbers

Proposals will be evaluated according to their focus on the topic. Please e-mail your proposal as an e-mail attachment by 25 May 2012 to The acceptance or rejection of proposals will be announced by 15 June 2012.

The admission to the symposium is 50€ (standard) / 35€ (Concession: students /unwaged). Registration by 30 August 2012.


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