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9th Austmarr Symposium “Genius Loci in the Prehistory of the Baltic Sea Region”
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5/29/2019 to 5/31/2019
When: Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Where: University of Klaipėda, Institute of Baltic Region History and Archaeology

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The 9th Austmarr Symposium will take place in Klaipėda, Lithuania, on May 29–31, 2019. Austmarr IX is devoted to the topic of genius loci. The term genius loci literally refers to ‘spirit of a place’, rooted in a concept for a type of supernatural being of Roman religion. The concept has been extended metaphorically from a supernatural agent inhabiting a place to the ‘spirit of a place’ as an abstract atmosphere that can be conceived in many ways and becomes particularly interesting as a tool for exploring the past. A challenge is that the phenomenon is difficult to pin down and can be conceived in different ways. Nevertheless, studies of it involve a wide range of specialists, and interdisciplinary discussion is much needed.

The organizers invite theoretical and methodological discussion based on empirical data from the Baltic Sea Region and cultures inhabiting it. Ideally, research should consider both the development and transformations of the history of sites in question, or the history behind sites of a particular type in a broader survey. Discussions of genius loci may take a broad comparative perspective; consider its perception in local collective experience or in individual engagement with a site. Relevant topics include:

  • The emergence of construction of a genius loci
  • The evolution or change of a genius loci over time
  • Typologies of genii loci
  • Variation and stratification of genii loci in a particular area or of a particular type
  • Meanings of genii loci for individuals or communities, or in personal or collective experience
  • Genius loci and cultural memory
  • Genius loci and practice
  • Is there a strict distinction between a genius loci as a supernatural agent and as an abstract agency or as an abstract atmosphere? Are these competing interpretations, or perhaps in fluid variation?
  • Can a genius loci persist after a place has been lost?
  • What causes a place to lose its genius, and with what consequences?
  • How do different sorts of source materials relate to genii loci or what methodological issues do different types of sources present for their study?

A main aim of the symposium is to promote a better understanding of genius loci through fruitful communication across disciplines that share common interests and concerns for cultures and their contacts and networks in the Baltic Sea region.

Austmarr IX is organized as a two-day event, followed by an excursion.

All researchers (including PhD students) who are interested in presenting their ideas or research results connected to these or similar topics are encouraged to submit proposals with a short (up to 250 words) abstract for 20-minute paper presentations (followed by 10 minutes of discussion). Those interested in participating without presenting a paper are also asked to register in advance.

The deadline for paper proposals and workshop registration is May 7th. Please send abstracts and personal information for registration to

The venue of the symposium will be: University of Klaipėda, Institute of Baltic Region History and Archaeology.

Further information can be found on the symposium website:

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