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45th International Ballad Conference of the Kommission für Volksdichtung
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The annual meeting of the International Ballad Commission, an association of song scholars.

8/31/2015 to 9/4/2015
When: 8/31/2015
Where: Institute of Albanology
Contact: Thomas McKean

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45th International Ballad Conference of the Kommission für Volksdichtung: 31 August–4 September 2015,
The Institute of Albanology in Prishtina, Kosovo

The 45th International Ballad Conference will be held in Prishtina (also spelled Pristina), the capital city of Kosovo and home to the University of Prishtina. During the Roman period, Prishtina was part of the Illyrian province of Dardania and Ulpiana – a recently excavated early Neolithic settlement nearby the city – was considered one of the most important Roman cities in the Balkans. On these foundations were later layered Eastern and Western cultures, a legacy which lives on in Prishtina’s legendary hospitality and tolerance.

Kosovo, in the center of Balkan Peninsula, is the newest state in Europe (2008), but its geographical position has historically made it a crossroads for multicultural contact resulting in great periods of harmony and cultural exchange as well as difficult times of conflict and dispute. Due to this turbulent history, industrial development in Kosovo has been quite slow and much of this history and experience is still reflected in everyday life, culture, and folklore. Consequently, some of the old oral genres, such as ballads and epic songs, continue to be actively performed.

Conference theme: “Parallel Worlds in Ballad and Folk Song”

Considering the pace of social, economic, and cultural developments in Kosovo and the quite prominent presence of the traditional past, including the presence of Ballads, we would like to reflect on a specific dimension present in this genre, that of ‘parallel worlds’. By parallel worlds we mean the presence of alternate realities in the mythological sense: the real world and the other world, whose presence is usually known through miraculous events and deeds of ballad heroes, such as wakening from the dead, revival, sacrifice and immurement, warning dreams, transformation into different animals and floral beings.  Another conduit of communication is through mythological figures, such as fairies, dragons, and people with supernatural powers. These characteristics are prominent in local Kosovo ballads and folklore.

This interplay between parallel worlds establishes a range of cultural values, such as faithfulness, honesty, loyalty, betrayal, love, hate, sacrifice, hospitality and tolerance, all very much present throughout humanity.

We hope to explore how these parallel worlds, or parallel universes, are addressed in modern popular culture, in novels, songs, cartoons, movies and serials, intertwining the past and present, tradition and modernity, the local and the global.

These parallel worlds may also be used as a metaphor for the oppositions that different dimensions generate in present-day reality.

We invite you to contribute papers reflecting examples from your culture which, with their particularities, peculiarities, and similarities, would enable intercultural comparison and more comprehensive mutual understanding.

Possible subthemes include: real and imaginary worlds; tradition and modernity; folk and literary ballads. We also encourage papers on ballad music, the ballad and popular culture, as well as on other aspects of ballad and folk song studies.

Papers will be accepted in any of the official languages of the Kommission für Volksdichtung: English, French, or German.


Abstracts will be peer-reviewed. Submission is invited by 31 March 2015.

Papers should focus on new, unpublished research.

Abstracts should include a résumé of the paper including, where appropriate, questions and problems addressed, methodology used, and the context of the work in relation to previous scholarship.

The author’s address, affiliation (if any) and contact details should be clearly stated, along with a brief account of the author’s interests and other research (up to 200 words).

It is intended that papers will be published.

Please submit abstracts of up to 300 words within an email, or as a Word/RTF attachment, and place IBC 2015 ABSTRACT in the subject line,  to:

Arbnora Dushi ( and Lumnije Kadriu (

(If you do not receive email acknowledgement of your submission, please resend).

Important dates:

31 March 2015: Submission of abstracts

15 April 2015: Acceptance of papers mailed out

1 June 2015: Early registration (reduced rate) closes

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