Muut ilmoitukset

Colloquium ”Silenced Sources, Heritage, and the Oral-Literary Continuum”

28–31 June 2023
Helsinki, Finland
CFP 15 Feb 2023

Proposals with a short abstract of fewer than 300 characters, a long abstract of fewer than 250 words, and a short biographical note should be sent by 15 February 2023 at (Google Forms).


Notions of culture, heritage and literature are formed in historical processes entangled with values and institutionalized power that are constantly challenged by countermoves in society and art. Not only are the notions intrinsically contested in this manner. Similar ideologically motivated dialogues determine the formation of historically specific, empirically observable cultures, folklore collections, heritage regimes and literary fields. The colloquium Silenced Sources, Heritage, and the Oral-Literary Continuum – Rewriting the Margins of the National focuses on the making of national cultures and canonized regimes of folklore, literature, and cultural heritage in Northern Europe during the long 19th century.

In the context of Romantic Nationalism, the conceptual and ethnographic invention of folklore and oral poetry laid the basis for creating elite cultures and literatures – within and across national borders. The practices of dismissal, integration and transformation were strategic in the mediation between oral and literary forms of artistic expression. Rather than simple transformation of the oral into the literary, the processes of textualization and heritagization consist of phases of decontextualization and recontextualization that set the elements of cultural practices into novel symbolic and political articulations.

19th century developments in the nationalization of culture and society continue to be a significant topic in the humanities and social sciences. This constant scholarly attention reflects the contemporary concern for upsurging cultural and political movements in Europe that have produced ideological visions of national pasts and political agendas based on them. The colloquium focuses on the diverse textualization practices that have laid the ground for the notions and narratives of allegedly national pasts. Setting the processes of using, transcribing, editing, and publishing oral and literary traditions into a larger national and transnational context deepens the understanding of the creation of nations, heritages, and canons, i.e., building culture and ascribing it the meaning and value of ‘national’.


We invite researchers on e.g., folklore, literature, cultural heritage, and history to delve on topics such as

  • The interaction between oral and written cultures and evaluation of hybrid forms of expression
  • The institutional actors and ideological premises in the cultivation of the oral-literary interface (e.g., in the context of archives)
  • Epistemological issues related to documentation, textualization and editing
  • The formation of values and notions linked to national heritages and literatures
  • Documentation, editorial and textualization practices – omissions, silences, editorial decisions, and issues of representation in the field, the archive, research, and the literary field
  • Processes of heritagization and canonization of folklore and expressive traditions
  • Hidden sources and muted expressive genres on the fringes of cultural canons
  • The criteria for marginalization or canonization of folklore, such as genre, area, content, social group
  • Cultural appropriation, folklore, and national cultures

Keynote speakers

  • Kelly Fitzgerald, Assistant Professor, Head of School of Irish, Celtic Studies and Folklore, University College Dublin
  • Joep Leerssen, Professor Emeritus, University of Amsterdam
  • Karina Lukin, Academy Research Fellow, University of Helsinki


Language of the colloquium: English

Registration fee: 60 €

Organizer: Academy of Finland research project The Muted Muses of Oral Culture. Ideology, transnationalism and silenced sources in the making of national heritages and literatures (University of Helsinki, PI Lotte Tarkka)

The acceptance of proposals will be informed by 1 March 2023.

Conference venue: Finnish Literature Society, Helsinki

The colloquium will be organized in cooperation with The Finnish Literature Society, The Kalevala Society Foundation and the Folklore Department, University of Helsinki.