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Song and Emergent Poetics: Oral Traditions in Performance
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11/21/2013 to 11/24/2013
When: 11/21/2013
Where: Kuhmo
Contact: Pekka Huttu-Hiltunen

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Song and Emergent Poetics: Oral Traditions in Performance
A multidisciplinary conference on the interfaces of form, meaning and imagination in sung poetry

21–24 November, 2013
Kuhmo, Finland

Song and singing represent a fundamental of human artistic behavior as well as a multivalent mode of expression and communication that, in some form, seems to manifest itself in every oral culture. Sung poetry transmits and renews cultural knowledge through resources that are simultaneously conventionalized and variable. It is a vital site of imagination that carries earlier established images and concepts about life and the world from the past that are used to construct, reflect and negotiate the ideas and understandings of singers in the present. Song and singing is approached from a multitude of diverse angles in research, from its socially stable formal features to flexibility and meaningful creative personal expression in improvisation, from its role and interconnection with mythic knowledge, beliefs and mythology to the vernacular aesthetics of the melodic structures through which its poetics are realized. It is studied by many disciplines, including Folklore Studies, Musicology, Philology and Anthropology. In order to draw their dynamic and diverse perspectives into fruitful dialogue, we are organizing an international, multidisciplinary and multilingual conference concentrated on "Song and Emergent Poetics: Oral Traditions in Performance”.

We invite papers addressing any of the following themes:

•    Song and singing as a form of oral tradition
•    Individual creativity and vernacular imagination in oral poetry
•    Communicating the language and structures of poetry through song
•    Communicating mythic knowledge through poetry and song
•    Improvization and emergent structures in singing traditions

Keynote speakers at this event include:

•    Dr John Shaw (University of Edinburgh, the School of Scottish Studies)
•    Dr Taive Särg  (Estonian Literary Museum, the Department of Ethnomusicology)
•    Licentiate in Philology, Olga Susoreva (Mordvian State University, Finno-Ugric Research Center)
•    Dr Astrid Nora Ressem (The Norwegian Folk- and Popular Song Archives)
•    Professor Emeritus, Dr Karl Reichl (University of Bonn)
•    Academy Research Fellow, Docent Jarkko Niemi (University of Tampere, Music Studies)

Scholars are invited to submit proposals for papers to be presented at the conference. Paper presentations should be 20 minutes in length and reflect a topic of the seminar. The language of presentation may be in Finnish, English or Russian. There will be simultaneous translation of each presentation into the other two languages.

If you would like to participate with a paper presentation in this event, please submit:
•    An abstract of up to 500 words in Word-compatible documents (NO pdf documents)
•    A CV-like summary of up to one page including degrees, research field(s), current position/occupation and affiliation, and current contact information

These materials should be sent Karina Lukin at The deadline for proposals is August 15, 2013.

The conference is organized by the Runosong Academy in cooperation with the University of Tampere ("Song and singing as cultural communication," Finnish Academy project), the Sibelius Academy (Folk music Department) and University of Helsinki ("Oral Poetry,  Mythic Knowledge and Vernacular Imagination,"  Finnish Academy project).

Further information with suggestions for travel and accommodations will be made available on our website, or contact Pekka Huttu-Hiltunen at or +358 40 2501395.

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