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5th International Conference of Young Folklorists "Folklore of Connections, Folklore of Conflict"
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10/7/2015 to 10/9/2015
When: 10/7/2015
Where: Viljandi
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Organized by the Department of Estonian and Comparative Folklore (University of Tartu), Viljandi Culture Academy (University of Tartu), and Tartu Nefa Group, in partnership with the Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore (Vilnius)

Keynote speakers: Alexander Panchenko (Institute of Russian Literature, Russian Academy of Sciences/St. Petersburg State University), William Westerman (New Jersey City University)

The 2015 Conference of Young Folklorists is the fifth of its kind, following previous meetings in Tartu (2011, 2013) and Vilnius (2012, 2014). The conference aims to foster academic communication, collaboration and research in the field of folklore by bringing together advanced students and recently graduated scholars from different countries and giving them an opportunity to present their research to an international audience. The forthcoming event will be the first one to be held at and in cooperation with the Viljandi Culture Academy, a college of the University of Tartu that provides applied higher education in music, Estonian native crafts and various other areas of culture.

The 2015 conference "Folklore of Connections, Folklore of Conflict" focuses on the role of folklore in the formation of relationships and attitudes, as well as confrontations. Folklore bridges and connects individuals and groups, providing them with means to construct, reinforce, display, or question identities and cultural patterns. As numerous examples from history show, however, folklore serves also as an instrument for exclusion and othering. The same stories, gestures, patterns and objects can be invested with different meanings in varying contexts. Hence, the topics of interest for the conference include but are not limited to:

  • The power of genres and themes to connect, unify, mediate and divide;
  • The role of music and material culture in communication, consolidation and separation;
  • The role of authority in uniting or creating dissent: domination and the arts of resistance; creativity as conformism or dissidence;
  • Choices (in-)between inclusion and exclusion: majority, marginalization and the art of staying betwixt and between;
  • Religious/folk/vernacular beliefs as connecting/dividing agents;
  • Means of monologue and the promotion of dialogue: essential conditions and possible outcomes;
  • The relationship between the researcher and people in the field, their respective strategies, tactics and consequences thereof; the results of intervening in each other's life;
  • Questions of ownership, authorship and creative reworking of traditions;
  • The role of folklore studies in shaping the public discourses in knowledge and policy making.

The applicants are invited to e-mail the preliminary title of their presentation by March 1, 2015 and to send their abstracts (max 250-words including bibliography) by April 30, 2015 to Please include your name, institutional affiliation, position, and contact information. All prospective presenters will be notified by e-mail by June 1, 2015. More information regarding the conference venue, travel and accommodation will also be sent. There is no registration fee but participants are expected to cover their travel and living expenses.

Organizing Committee: Anastasiya Astapova, Kristi Jõeste, Kristel Kivari, Eilve Manglus, Ave Matsin, Margaret Lyngdoh, Lina Leparskienė, Elo-Hanna Seljamaa, Madis Rennu, Pihla Maria Siim, Jaan Sudak, Ülo Valk.

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