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CFP: 6th Nordic-Celtic-Baltic Folklore Symposium "Supernatural Places" in Tartu June 4-7, 2012

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International symposium organised by the Department of Estonian and Comparative Folklore and the Department of Scandinavian Studies, University of Tartu.

In 1988 the Department of Irish Folklore, University College, Dublin, hosted the symposium “The Supernatural in Irish and Scottish Migratory Legends”. Other symposia then followed: in Galway (1991), Copenhagen (1993), Dublin (1996) and Reykjavik (2005), and now, for the first time, it will be held on the east side of the Baltic Sea. With each symposium, the international scope has expanded and the number of participants has increased. The local and migratory legends of Northern Europe have remained the major topic of the meetings, providing common ground for discussions about contents, form, performance, history and theories of folk narratives and their relationship to social realities.

The 6th Nordic-Celtic-Baltic folklore symposium returns to the topic of supernatural in legends, which was also discussed during the first meetings. It is also dedicated to the relationship between tradition communities and their environment, expressed in folklore. The symposium will explore the supernatural dimensions of natural places in the cultural landscape and in the wilderness, as they are narrated and manifested in legends and other genres. The supernaturalisation of places – holy groves, churches, haunted houses, cemeteries, grave mounds, hills, lakes, locations of hidden treasures and other tradition dominants of place-lore – will be studied as a narrative practice with social impacts, shaping the everyday-life and behaviour patterns of tradition bearers. The symposium will also study the localisation of legend plots in a local environment, blending legends with social realities and other strategies for enchanting the world through belief narratives. The supernatural also opens narrative space to the realms of fantasy and imagination. Representations of heaven, hell, lands of the dead and other supernatural worlds are a vital part of several oral and literary genres that will also be addressed at the symposium.

We also welcome papers on the following sub-topics:

  • The history of legend research
  • Classification of legends
  • Legend and everyday life
  • Pragmatics of legends and other genres of belief
  • Legends and other place-lore
  • Legends in sagas and other ancient sources
  • Fantasy realms between belief and fiction
  • Legends and theorising the supernatural

The working language of the symposium will be English. Each paper will be given 20 minutes for presentation with 10 minutes for discussion. Proposals for papers and panels may be submitted via the web site:, by contacting the conference secretaries by email (Pihla Maria Siim, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; Siiri Tomingas-Joandi, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) or by sending a letter to the conference secretariat

Department of Estonian and Comparative Folklore
University of Tartu
Ülikooli 16
51003 Tartu
Tel./ Fax: +372-737 5310

The deadline of registration and submitting the abstract (up to 300 words) will be January 20, 2012. You will be notified about your proposal by February 20, 2012. The second circular letter will be sent out in late February, 2012. There is no registration fee but participants are expected to cover their travel and accommodation costs. Symposium is supported by the European Regional Fund (Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory, CECT).

Welcome to Tartu!

Daniel Sävborg, Professor of Scandinavian Studies, University of Tartu

Ülo Valk, Professor of Estonian and Comparative Folklore, University of Tartu


You are welcome to download and re-circulate the CFP in pdf-format or proceed to Online Registration page!