Konferenssit ja seminaarit

Protestantism and Negotiating Identities 24–26 August 2017

Protestantism and Negotiating Identities
24–26 August 2017

The year 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of Finland’s independence, but also 500 years since the beginning of the Reformation at Wittenberg. Historically Protestantism and national identity have been closely intertwined in Finland, first as a part of the Lutheran Swedish sphere until 1809 and then as a religious frontier under Orthodox Russia in the 19th and early 20th centuries and next to the atheistic Soviet Union since the independence until the 1990s. While the majority of Finns are members of the Finnish Evangelical-Lutheran Church, contemporary Finnish society is largely secular and increasingly pluralist both culturally and religiously.

But how is national identity negotiated in a contemporary secular and pluralist society such as Finland or in other North European countries? Or is national identity – in the singular – a misleading construct that should give way to understanding how different ethnic, religious and other minorities experience, understand and negotiate national identity from their perspectives?

Nationalism, on the other hand, has been on the rise in Northern Europe in the recent decade. But if nationalism is to be understood as a secularizing process, which goes hand in hand with privatization of religion and increasing pluralism in society, it is somewhat puzzling why nationalistic sentiments have been on the rise in secular pluralist societies. Is religiosity newly on the rise or does secularism breed new religious frontiers between traditional religion (e.g. Islam) and non-religious people? Since religion and nationalism have been researched largely in different scholarly domains, there is a new need for a more integrating and interdisciplinary approach to understand how national identity is negotiated in the context of religious pluralism, on the one hand, and in the context of the rising role of religion in public discussion, on the other.

We envision the conference as a forum for encouraging academic research on how religion, especially Protestant Lutheran faith, and national identities may be intertwined and how their relationship may be negotiated in contemporary secular societies beyond mere historical accounts. To achieve these ends we convene together scientists from the social sciences, humanities, law, education, theology, and arts to discuss Protestantism and the negotiation of identities in 21st century North European countries.

Possible questions may be related but not confined to the following:
– How has national identity been negotiated (and is being renegotiated) in Protestant Lutheranism context in Finland and in North Europe?
– How has national identity influenced and kept on influencing Protestantism in Finland and in North Europe?
– What are and have been the main channels and agents that have tied together religion and national identity in North Europe?
– What rhetorical, linguistic and other means are used to build national identity in the 2010s?
– What role do scientific institutions play in the negotiation of national identity?
– Minorities and national identity: who is allowed to and on which conditions to participate in building national identity? For instance, the Sami, Roma, Orthodox and Swedish-speaking people in Finland?
– Integration of asylum seekers and immigrants: what are they integrating to and what role (subtle or overt) does religion play in the demands? How are (secular) Lutheranism and Muslims being brought together?
– New perspectives on the role of the arts in bridging (secular) Lutheranism and national identities.

Confirmed keynote speakers
• Peter A. Kraus, University of Augsburg
• Philip W. Barker, Keene State College
• Katja Valaskivi, University of Tampere
• Jarkko Hautamäki, University of Helsinki


The conference is co-organized by The Finnish Society of Church History, The Finnish Psychological Society, The Westermarck Society, the Turku Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (Tucemems), and members of the ProFini 2017 -research network. The ProFini 2017 network (Protestant Roots of Finnish National Identities) is a multidisciplinary network of about 40 scholars who are interested in surveying and critically evaluating the societal effects of the Reformation, especially that of Lutheranism, as a way of honoring academically the first centennial of Finland’s independence and the fifth centennial since the beginning of the Reformation in 2017. The network is in cooperation with Finland 100 Together – the Project on the centenary of Finland’s independence administered by the Prime Minister’s Office and the Reformation 500 project of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland.

Conference Venue

The conference takes place at the House of Sciences (Tieteiden talo), a short walking distance from the Centre Campus of the University of Helsinki.


We call for three types of proposals: 1. oral presentations, 2. poster presentations, and 3. workshops. Oral presentations will be for 30 minutes: 20 minutes for presentation and 10 minutes for discussion. A separate poster session will be arranged during the second day of the conference. Please indicate in your abstract whether you would like to have your abstract reviewed primarily as an oral or as a poster presentation. Papers not accepted as oral presentations will be automatically evaluated as poster presentations. Workshops will be allotted one or more 90 minute sessions. The language of the conference is English, but a few sessions or a workshop can be in Finnish and/or Swedish.

Anonymous proposals of maximum 500 words should be submitted by 20 February 2017 through EasyChair <http://easychair.org> (see instructions below). Abstracts will be evaluated by the organizing committee. Notification of acceptance will be sent by 20 March 2017.


For all correspondence concerning the symposium, please contact the conference organizers through the conference’s email address negotiatingidentities[at]gmail.com.

With best regards,
The Organizing Committee

Jarkko Hautamäki
Andreas Häger
Anna-Maija Pirttilä-Backman
Anneli Portman
Kirsi Salonen
Kaius Sinnemäki
Sanna Supponen
Jouni Tilli

Submitting through EasyChair

All the abstracts should be submitted through EasyChair. The deadline is February 20th, 2017.

Step 1. Existing users may login to EasyChair with their existing account (user name and password). New users must register an account on the EasyChair website. The system will send you instructions through email on how to finish the registration of the account. Sometimes university spam filters block emails from EasyChair. Please make sure to check your spam folder and change your email setting to avoid EasyChair emails from being blocked.
Step 2. Go to the NEGID 2017 EasyChair submission page.
Step 3. Login with your username and password.
Step 4. Click NEW SUBMISSION (at the top of the page).
Step 5. Fill in the form and upload your anonymous abstract, following the instructions. Then submit.
Step 6. EasyChair sends a confirmation e-mail to you. Please check that everything is as it should be.

If you wish to revise your abstract or other information later, you can save that information in the system and return later, until the submission deadline.