Interdisciplinary Workshop, Aarhus University

April 25, 2016 at Aarhus University

Participants included: Agnes Arnorsdóttir, Sophie Bønding, Jürg Glauser, Pernille Hermann, Hans Henrik Lohfert Jørgensen, Wulf Kansteiner, Stephen Mitchell, Simon Nygaard, Jens Peter Schjødt, and Lisbet Torfing.

Past workshops and events

2012: The Ambiguities of Memory Construction in Medieval Texts: The Nordic Case (Cambridge, Massachusetts USA)

April 13-14, 2012, at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.

Participants included: Anders Andrén, Agnes Arnórsdóttir, Bjørn Bandlien, Nicole Burgoyne, Thomas DuBois, Jürg Glauser, Joseph Harris, Pernille Hermann, Merrill Kaplan, Stephen Mitchell, and Gísli Sigurðsson

2014: Cultural Memory in Medieval Scandinavia (Tønsberg, Norway)

June 6-7, 2014, at Midgardsenteret in Borre and Slottsfjellet in Tønsberg.

2013: Memory Studies and Pre-modern Scandinavian Culture (Basel, Switzerland)

June 6-9, 2013, at Landgut Castelen, outside of Basel.

Participants included: Agnes Arnorsdóttir, Bjørn Bandlien, Nathalie Christen, Maja Egli, Jürg Glauser, Pernille Hermann, Kate Heslop, Anders Gade Jensen, Stephen Mitchell, Slavica Ranković, Lukas Rösli, Sandra Schneeberger, Gísli Sigurðsson, and Laura Wamhoff.

Participants included: Agnes Arnorsdóttir, Bjørn Bandlien, Jürg Glauser, Pernille Hermann, Kate Heslop, Verena Hoefig, Stephen Mitchell, Mathias Nordvig, Frida Espolin Norstein, Slavica Ranković, Lukas Rösli, Sandra Schneeberger, and Gísli Sigurðsson.

2015: Pre-Modern Nordic Memory Studies. An International Seminar (Zürich, Switzerland)

November 14-16, 2015, at the University of Zürich

Participants included: Janina Fontanive, Jürg Glauser, Gísli Sigurðsson, Pernille Hermann, Kate Heslop, Karl G. Johansson, Dale Kedwards, Sarah Künzler, Stephen A. Mitchell, Kevin Müller, Klaus Müller-Wille, Marie Novotná, Ragnheiður Hafstað, Slavica Ranković, Lena Rohrbach, Lukas Rösli, Justus Mathis Schmitz-Hübsch, Marek Tamm, Michael Trindler, Torfi Tulinius, Maria Zucker

2015: The Trouble With Memory II: The Middle Ages, Landscape, Heritage, Crisis, War, Travel.

March 13-14, 2015, at the University of Iceland

Organising institution: Centre for Studies in Memory and Literature, University of Iceland.

Paper presented collectively by Prof. Jürg Glauser, Assoc. Prof. Pernille Hermann and Prof. Stephen Mitchell

Abstract: Old Norse Memory Studies

Initial investigations have shown that memory studies can provide a useful methodological and theoretical framework for understanding Old Norse literature and culture in new ways and interest in combining memory studies with Old Norse literature and culture is growing steadily. Old Norse literature is significantly preoccupied with the past and offers a unique opportunity to investigate such themes as construction and identity, medieval perceptions of memory, memory imagery and metaphors, and the relevance of media for memory. This presentation deals with the state-of-the-art of Old Norse memory studies and presents current research within the field, including ongoing projects, such as a planned multi-authored Handbook of Nordic Memory Studies, the Memory and the Pre-Modern North research network, recent publications, and Old Norse memory seminars that have been held annually since 2012.

2015:Round table discussion on “Memory Studies, Old Norse, and the Disciplines”

At the 16th International Saga Conference in Zürich and Basel, Switzerland, August 2015.

Speakers addressed how 'recent' work in memory studies intersects with and influences their own work in Old Norse from the point of view of the disciplines each represents (i.e., history, folkloristics, linguistics, literature and so on— including cross-disciplinary approaches).

Organised by Stephen Mitchell (Harvard University)

Presentations by Stefan Brink (University of Aberdeen); Terry Gunnell (University of Iceland); Verena Hoefig (University of California, Berkeley); Sverrir Jakobsson (University of Iceland); and Slavica Rankovic (University of Leeds)

2017: Nature, Landscape, and Place:

Memory Studies in the Nordic Middle Ages

January 19-20, 2017, Kungl. Gustav Adolfs Akademien, Uppsala

Participants included: Daria Aeberhard, Stefan Brink, Thomas DuBois, Janina Fontanive, Gísli Sigurðsson, Jürg Glauser, Monika Gradalska, Terry Gunnell, Katharina Heinz, Reinhard Hennig, Pernille Hermann, Kate Heslop, Jón Karl Helgason, Sarah Künzler, John Ljungkvist, Steve Mitchell, Kevin Müller, Anne Pedersen, Ragnheiður Hafstað, Lena Röhrbach, Lukas Rösli, Sandra Schneeberger, and Sigurlín Bjarney Gísladóttir.

2018: Old Norse Studies and Collective Memory at Leeds IMC (Leeds, UK)

July 02-05, 2018, Leeds International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, Sessions on Old Norse Studies and Collective Memory organized by Simon Nygaard and Yoav Tirosh

Memory in Performance: Simon Nygaard, Ann Sheffield, Anna Solovyeva

Moderator: Jürg Glauser

Memory and performance are intrinsically connected. Performers embody in their actions the traditions and identity of the group. This session will focus on Old Norse performers, how they convey the concept of memory and how the collective memory is conveyed through their actions. This can be achieved through performance both of a pre-Christian and Christian nature. Poetry and ritual are very potent media for collective memory and are at the core of the papers in this session, which will center on orality, women and skaldic poetry.


New Perspectives in Old Norse Memory Studies: Lukas Rösli, Marion Poilvez, Pernille Hermann

Moderator: Yoav Tirosh

Collective and Cultural Memory studies are a useful prism through which to look at Old Norse material, and yet it is only in the recent two decades that these studies have gained a real foothold in Old Norse scholarship, manifested in recent anthologies dedicated to the topic of Memory and the upcoming Handbook of Pre-Modern Nordic Memory Studies. Interdisciplinary Approaches, edited by Jürg Glauser, Pernille Hermann and Stephen A. Mitchell. In this session the handbook will be presented, as well as papers providing fresh approaches to Memory Studies in the Old Norse field. 


Memory in Runes and Community: Jonas Koesling, William Pidzamecky, Maja Bäckvall

Moderator: Simon Nygaard

In the formation of communities, memory plays an important part. In Old Norse society complexes in which runes occupied a significant position were used in this social process. This is true in Scandinavia as well as the Scandinavian diaspora. The papers in this session will explore how different Scandinavian communities negotiated their identities and what part different societal forces (such as kingship or encounters with other cultures) had in this process.  


Memory in Old Norse Literature: Timothy Rowbotham, Thomas Morcom, Sofie Vanherpen

Moderator: Lukas Rösli

In the discussion of Memory in the Old Norse field, it seems that the Íslendingasögur (Sagas of the Early Icelanders) have taken a prominent place. However, other genres such as the otherwise much debated Íslendingaþættirfornaldarsögur, and post-medieval literature have not received as much attention. This session will focus on these (somewhat neglected) texts and what they bring to the table. The question of their composition will be in the forefront of the discussion.

2018: 17th International Saga Conference

August 12-17, 2018, 17th International Saga Conference, Reykjavík and Reykholt, Iceland

Seminar Session: Memory Studies and Íslendingasögur (August 17, 2018)

Chair: Jürg Glauser (Zürich /Basel)

Panel: Pernille Hermann, Kate Heslop, Sarah Künzler, Stephen Mitchell, Torfi Tulinius, Úlfar Bragason

It is no exaggeration to say that during the last 15–20 years memory studies emerged as a new field in saga scholarship and is still attracting considerable interest among scholars from different disciplines. Examples of this varied activity are among many others a series of international workshops, organised since 2012 by “Memory and the Pre-Modern North: An International Memory Studies Research Network Focussing on Viking Age and Medieval Scandinavia (MPMN); the general theme of the Fifteenth International Saga Conference, “Sagas and the Use of the Past”, held in Aarhus in 2012; a number of publications such as Memory and Remembering: Past Awareness in the Medieval North, ed. Pernille Hermann and Stephen Mitchell. Special issue of Scandinavian Studies, 85:3, 2013; or Minni and Muninn. Memory in Medieval Nordic Culture, ed. Pernille Hermann, Stephen A. Mitchell and Agnes S. Arnórsdóttir. Turnhout: Brepols, 2014; or the Handbook of Pre-Modern Nordic Memory Studies. Interdisciplinary Approaches, ed. Jürg Glauser, Pernille Hermann, Stephen A. Mitchell. Berlin: de Gruyter (planned for 2018).

The seminar session “Memory Studies and the Íslendingasögur” proposes to analyse the intellectual background of this development in international memory studies and the present status as well as the potential and main perspectives of the study of Viking Age and Medieval Nordic literature and culture via memory studies. The six members of the panel–Pernille Hermann, Kate Heslop, Sarah Künzler, Stephen Mitchell, Torfi Tulinius, Úlfar Bragason–will in their short initial presentations display a variety of different approaches to memory studies, while the following panel discussion will focus on methodological and interdisciplinary aspects of current memory studies and its application to the Old Norse-Icelandic studies on a more general level.