3rd Annual Conference: Cfp

Invenīre: Discovery & Innovation in Pre-Modern Scandinavia

Call for Papers


ScandGrads, the graduate organization affiliated with the Department of Scandinavian at the University of California, Berkeley, is proud to announce its third annual interdisciplinary graduate student conference.

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“Invention” resonates in our modern world as a creative process. The term’s Latin root invenīre, however, speaks to a medieval and early modern past that conceived of innovation as an unearthing of the past. At the heart of these multiple understandings of invention is a sense of re-discovery through which ideas and materials manifest themselves in the human world.

This conference aims to explore inventions as both process and product in Scandinavia before 1800. Broadly defined, these conceptions may include technological advancements, the navigation of global landscapes, cartography and spatial knowledge, economic networks, religious and political thought, history of the book, the reception of architectural and artistic modes, and cosmology. These nuances of invention raise questions regarding the nature of knowledge production, the construction and dissemination of ideas, communications, interactions, and exchanges, and human-nonhuman entanglements in the pre-modern world. Also inherent in this discussion is the capacity of language to communicate or manipulate ideas as a point of tension as much in the pre-modern world as in historical practice today.

We invite papers from, but not limited to, literature, history, theology, linguistics, art history, economics, archaeology, and legal history, as well as interdisciplinary approaches, from graduate students and early career researcher. All interested applicants are encouraged to submit an abstract of 200 words to the organizing committee at scandgrads@gmail.com by September 15, 2018.


Borders and Bridges 2018

Thank you to our 2018 speakers for another exciting and successful conference!

Borders and Bridges 2018 Schedule



Announcing Susan Brantly and Ryan Skinner as our 2018 Keynote Speakers

ScandGrads is proud to announce Susan Brantly and Ryan Skinner as the keynote speakers for our 2018 conference.

For the past three decades, Susan Brantly has worked as a professor of Scandinavian literature at at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her main research areas include Swedish literature, modernism, historical fiction, and decadence. Just this year, Brantly published The Historical Novel, Transnationalism, and the Postmodern Era as part of the Routledge Studies in Comparative Literature series.

Ryan Skinner is an associate professor of musicology at the Ohio State University specializing in analytic methods of ethnomusicology and anthropology. His current research focuses on modes of expression, identification and political engagement within the Afro-Swedish community. In 2015, Skinner published Bamako Sounds: The Afropolitan Ethics of Malian Music with the University of Minnesota Press.

We’re thrilled to have them both on board!

Call for Papers

ScandGrads, the graduate organization affiliated with the Department of Scandinavian at the University of California, Berkeley, is proud to announce its second annual interdisciplinary graduate student symposium:

Borders and Bridges: Nordic Nationalisms and Transnationalisms
March 9–10, 2018, Berkeley, California

The recent movement of people fleeing political conflict in North Africa and the Middle East, as well as the movement of workers from Eastern Europe and other parts of the world has brought global attention to questions of nationalism and transnationalism. In Scandinavia, 20th and 21st century immigration has unsettled notions of national identity, citizenship, and of the nation-state itself. Groups on the far right of the political spectrum have gained momentum, asserting a nationalistic agenda. At the same time, notions of national culture and identity have been challenged in Scandinavia, especially by the work of writers and artists interested in migration and its legacy. Such work and its reception often expose striking tensions and connections in Scandinavia’s increasingly multicultural societies. For example, the poetry of Palestinian-Danish writer Yahya Hassan has been simultaneously celebrated by the literary establishment and by anti-immigrant groups in Denmark for its critique of Islam, while the works of Jonas Hassen Khemiri explore the intersections of race, class, and gender in Sweden.

Yet it is not only contemporary literary production that questions the stability of nations and national identities in Scandinavia. The hard-won establishment of the Sami parliament, the longstanding language debates in Norway, Greenland’s relation to Denmark as “autonomous territory,” the role of Orientalist aesthetics in Danish National Romanticism, and the communities of Sweden Finns and Finland-Swedes all attest to the ways in which nationalism and the concept of nationhood have been contested.

We invite papers that explore nationalisms and transnationalisms in historical, political, literary, and artistic contexts in Scandinavia. We also welcome papers that examine the intersections of the medieval and the modern, such as the appropriation of Old Norse materials in the service of (neo-)nationalist projects. Broadly, conference-goers will grapple with such questions as:

How does migration to Scandinavia alter, challenge, or renew notions of the nation? How are national borders represented and perceived in a global age? How do race, gender, and sexuality impact the crossing of borders (or the impossibility of doing so)? How is the erosion of borders celebrated or lamented in art, literature, or political rhetoric? Is the nation an adequate configuration for meeting contemporary social challenges?

The conference will be hosted at the University of California, Berkeley by ScandGrads, the graduate student organization of the Department of Scandinavian. Graduate students and early career researchers are welcome to submit paper proposals of 300 words or fewer by September 30, 2017. Please submit paper proposals and inquiries to scandgrads@gmail.com.

Thank you!

Thank you to everyone who submitted papers. We have approximately 30 presenters from nine different countries. We anticipate that we will post the preliminary schedule in January, as well as registration information.

Just as a reminder, the conference is open to the public and there is no registration fee. Please invite your colleagues!

Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/131581443976364/

Announcing Two Plenary Speakers

We are happy to announce our two plenary speakers for the conference:

Professor Marianne Kalinke (Emerita, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Professor Jonas Wellendorf (University of California, Berkeley)

Both Professor Kalinke and Professor Wellendorf have written extensively on cultural and literary interactions between the Old Norse-Icelandic sphere and continental medieval Europe. We are very excited to welcome both of them in March!

Call for Papers

Scandgrads, the graduate organization affiliated with the Department of Scandinavian at the University of California, Berkeley is proud to announce an interdisciplinary graduate student symposium.

“Encounters and Reimaginings: Medieval Scandinavia and the World”

March 3-4, 2017 Berkeley, California

From the shores of Vínland to the halls of Byzantium, the Norse traveled widely and encountered many cultures-which in turn influenced Norse society at home. Traces of these journeys can be found in the archaeological record, saga narratives, and modern interpretations thereof. Moreover, continental ideas and literary forms-from romances to saints’ lives-informed Scandinavian intellectual and everyday life. The organizing committee welcomes papers exploring encounters and reimaginings across the Old Norse world, as well as echoes and influences of medieval Scandinavia in modern contexts.

Any student or early career researcher is welcome to submit a proposal related to the conference theme in areas of study including but not limited to: literary studies, material culture, migration, law, politics, religious studies, reception studies, linguistics, and textual studies.

All interested applicants are encouraged to submit an abstract of 200 words to the organizing committee at scandgrads@gmail.com by August 31, 2016.