The deadline for submission of abstracts has now passed. We have received submissions from scholars in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Russia, Ukraine, Byelorussia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, England; Scotland, Ireland, India and China. You will all hear from us by mid-January!
By the end of January we will announce registration fees, open the formal registration and give advice for travel and lodging. Welcome to Visby in June!
On July 1, 2013 Gotland University merged with Uppsala University. One of the results was the coming into existence of Sweden’s largest department of ethnology. We take it as our pleasant duty to use this new situation as a starting point for inviting colleagues to a thorough examination of folkloristics’ positions in humanistic research and knowledge production.
In Sweden, ethnology was established as an academic discipline in 1972, as a consequence of the unification of the two subjects folk life studies, typically focused on material folk culture, and folk memory research, normally dealing with popular narrative, folk beliefs, and customs or what in many contexts would be labeled folklore studies. Since those days, Swedish ethnology has developed into becoming a broad discipline of cultural research, embracing several different branches of interest.
Today, folkloristics in the Nordic countries faces many and far-reaching challenges. While our discipline has grown substantially at the universities of Reykjavík and Tartu, during the last decades in Sweden its space within academic research and education has been reduced. As a result of administrative decisions, folkloristics no longer exists as an independent discipline in Denmark and Norway and its fate at Åbo Akademi University in Finland is uncertain.
Against this background we wish to gather folklorists, ethnologists and other cultural researchers to an open discussion of folkloristics’ possible future contributions to the production of knowledge in the field of cultural sciences. In October 2014, the conference “Mapping Disciplinary History” will be arranged in Riga, Latvia, with the purpose to address ”the history of folkloristics, with a particular focus on the international nature of scholarship”.
The conference ”Why Folkloristics?” in Visby in 2015 to which we hereby invite you could be regarded as a continuation with the purpose of looking to the future of folkloristics in the Nordic countries. Above all, we wish to pay attention to the potential contributions of folkloristics to contemporary ethnological and in a wider sense, cultural scientific research. A beginning could be to map today’s folkloristic research in the Nordic countries, its frontiers and its challenges, bearing in mind the explicit aim to create new roads of cooperation, new common research projects and new joint efforts in education.