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Folklore and Old Norse Mythology Conference
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11/27/2017 to 11/28/2017
When: Monday, November 27, 2017
Where: Helsinki

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The twelfth annual Folklore and Norse Mythology Conference, commonly known as the ‘Aarhus Mythology Conference’, will take place this November in Helsinki.

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.


  • “Myth and Character-Building in the Icelandic Family Sagas”
    Joonas Ahola (University of Helsinki)
  • “Exclusivity in Old Norse Ritual and the Christianization of Ritual Space”
    Maths Bertell (Mid-Sweden University)
  • “Medieval Irish Folklore and the Construction of Place in Eyrbyggja saga”
    Matthias Egeler (Ludwig-Maxmillians University, Munich)
  • “‘My God Can Beat up Your God!’ – Asserting Specialists’ Power and Authority through Mythic Discourse”
    Frog (University of Helsinki)
  • “Women and Axes in the North: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Viking Archaeology, Old Norse Literature and Folklore”
    Leszek Gardela (University of Rzeszow)
  • “Mythology of the Prose Edda Interacting with the Sky”
    Gísli Sigurðsson (Árni Magnússon Institute, Reykjavík)
  • “George Marwick’s Account of ‘The Muckle Tree or Igasill’: Folklore or Literature?”
    Terry Gunnell (University Iceland)
  • “Magical Fishing in Historia Norwegie – Incomprehensible without Late Folklore”
    Eldar Heide (Western Norway University of Applied Sciences)
  • “Brynhildr, the Suicidal Valkyrie: Views of Suicide in Medieval Iceland”
    Kirsi Kanerva (University of Turku)
  • “In Search of the tietäjä with a Little Help from Old Norse Material”
    Karolina Kouvola (University of Helsinki)
  • “Size Matters – Dwarfs in Old Norse Myths and Folklore”
    Henning Kure (Mythologist, independent scholar, Copenhagen)
  • “A Brief History of Giants”
    Tommy Kuusela (Stockholm University)
  • “Old Norse Mythology and Legend Tradition”
    John Lindow (University of California, Berkeley)
  • “Traces of Pre-Christian Religion in British Ballads and Popular Poetry”
    John McKinnell (University of Durham)
  • “Myths, Historiolas, and Magic”
    Stephen Mitchell (Harvard University)
  • “Old Norse Mythology, Heroic Legends, Religion and Folklore”
    Else Mundal (University of Oslo)
  • “The Configurations of Old Norse Religion and its Relevance for the Study of late Scandinavian Folklore”
    Andreas Nordberg (University of Stockholm)
  • “Skalds as Ritual Specialists? Looking for Religious Ritual Frameworks in the Oral Performance of Haraldskvæði, Eiríksmál and Hákonarmál”
    Simon Nygaard (Aarhus University)
  • “Fifth-Column Mother: Týr’s Negotiation of Kinship (and jötunheimar) According to Hymiskviða”
    Judy Quinn (University of Cambridge)
  • “Transforming, Transgressing, and Terrorizing: Shape-Shifters in Swedish Medieval Ballads”
    Catharina Raudvere (University of Copenhagen)
  • “Pre-Cristian Religion of the North as Folklore: The Example of Freyr”
    Jens Peter Schjødt (Aarhus University)
  • “Basic Instincts?”
    Rudolf Simek (University of Bonn)
  • "Approaching seiðr from Later Traditions – Possibilities and Pitfalls"
    Kendra Willson (University of Turku)
  • “Gotland Picture Stones and Narration”
    Laila Kitzler Åhfeldt (Swedish National Heritage Board)

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

Folklore and Old Norse Mythology Conference 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 Glossary, 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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