CFP: Mythology, Discourse, and Authority: Retrospective Methods in Cultural Research

Mythology, Discourse, and Authority: Retrospective Methods in Cultural Research
University of Tartu
22–23 November 2016

'Mythology', 'discourse' and 'authority' have become key terms and concepts in a number of disciplines. However, they can be extremely challenging to analyze especially in cultures of the past, particularly because they interact and affect one another so that they easily seem to shift or become ambiguous under scrutiny. In addition, each term may be defined in different and sometimes inconsistent ways depending on the discipline and background of the approach being used.

'Mythology', for example, is sometimes narrowly defined in terms of stories about gods and cosmology but may also be conceived broadly in terms of symbols in mythic discourse or still more broadly in terms of beliefs and ideologies. Whichever way it is defined, mythology only has reality through social manifestations in discourse, and it is reciprocally constructed through various discourses in dialogue with one another as they engage with different mythologies or with the same mythologies in different ways. Hierarchies of relative authority also develop between individual genres and registers of discourse – both verbal and non-verbal – according to how they are used and who uses them, and indeed the authority of individuals and of social roles seem to emerge from the same processes. The dynamics of different sorts of interplay between mythology, discourse and authority are fascinating and they connect in various ways with many areas of cultural research. As a consequence, it is of great benefit for a scholar to develop a nuanced understanding of how these phenomena interact and can be mobilized in social life, and how different types of data may reflect such processes. 

"Mythology, Discourse, and Authority: Retrospective Methods in Cultural Research" combines a scientific symposium with a workshop for doctoral and advanced MA students. The event is organized by the Department of Estonian and Comparative Folklore, University of Tartu, and Graduate School of Culture Studies and Arts (GSCSA), and the Department of Folklore Studies, University of Helsinki.

This two-day event is organized around lectures by six plenary speakers:

Yuri Berezkin (European University at St Petersburg)

Matthias Egeler (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich)

Frog (University of Helsinki)

Leszek Gardeła (University of Rzeszów)

Daniel Sävborg (University of Tartu)

Ülo Valk (University of Tartu)

If you would like to give a presentation (20 min. followed by 10 min. discussion), please contact Frog ( and/ or Ülo Valk ( , include a presentation title and 300-word abstract. The deadline for applications is Oct 3rd, 2016. You will be notified by Oct 14th, 2016 if we can include your paper in the symposium program.

Participation is free of charge; participants are responsible for their own accommodation and travel costs.

We look forward to seeing you in Tartu!

Frog (University of Helsinki)               Ülo Valk (University of Tartu)

The symposium is supported by the (European Union) European Regional Development Fund (University of Tartu's ASTRA project, PER ASPERA) and the Academy of Finland project "Mythology, Verbal Art and Authority in Social Impact" (Folklore Studies, University of Helsinki).