6th Nordic-Celtic-Baltic Folklore Symposium "Supernatural Places" in Tartu June 4-7, 2012

International symposium organised by the Department of Estonian and Comparative Folklore, the Department of Scandinavian Studies, the University of Tartu, and the Tartu NEFA group in cooperation with the Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory.

In 1988 the Department of Irish Folklore, University College, Dublin, hosted the symposium “The Supernatural in Irish and Scottish Migratory Legends”. Other symposia then followed: in Galway (1991), Copenhagen (1993), Dublin (1996) and Reykjavik (2005), and now, for the first time, it will be held on the east side of the Baltic Sea. With each symposium, the international scope has expanded and the number of participants has increased. The local and migratory legends of Northern Europe have remained the major topic of the meetings, providing common ground for discussions about contents, form, performance, history and theories of folk narratives and their relationship to social realities.

The 6th Nordic-Celtic-Baltic folklore symposium returns to the topic of supernatural in legends, which was also discussed during the first meetings. It is also dedicated to the relationship between tradition communities and their environment, expressed in folklore. The symposium will explore the supernatural dimensions of natural places in the cultural landscape and in the wilderness, as they are narrated and manifested in legends and other genres. The supernaturalisation of places – holy groves, churches, haunted houses, cemeteries, grave mounds, hills, lakes, locations of hidden treasures and other tradition dominants of place-lore – will be studied as a narrative practice with social impacts, shaping the everyday-life and behaviour patterns of tradition bearers. The symposium will also study the localisation of legend plots in a local environment, blending legends with social realities and other strategies for enchanting the world through belief narratives. The supernatural also opens narrative space to the realms of fantasy and imagination. Representations of heaven, hell, lands of the dead and other supernatural worlds are a vital part of several oral and literary genres that will also be addressed at the symposium.

If you have any questions, please contact symposium secretaries Siiri Tomingas-Joandi ( siiri.tomingas@ut.ee) or Pihla Maria Siim ( pihla.siim@ut.ee).

Organising committee of the symposium:

  • Katre Koppel, MA Student of Ethnology, Representative of Tartu Nefa Group
  • Jonathan Roper, Senior Researcher, Estonian and Comparative Folklore, University of Tartu
  • Daniel Sävborg, Professor of Scandinavian Studies, University of Tartu
  • Pihla Maria Siim, Research Assistant, Estonian and Comparative Folklore, University of Tartu
  • Siiri Tomingas-Joandi, PhD Student in Scandinavian Studies, University of Tartu
  • Ülo Valk, Professor of Estonian and Comparative Folklore, University of Tartu
  • Ergo-Hart Västrik, Senior Lecturer, Estonian and Comparative Folklore, University of Tartu