International multidisciplinary conference
Organized by the University of Tartu and the Université du Québec à Montréal
5-6 March 2020, University of Tartu (Estonia)
Forest of the northern territories (Estonia, Quebec, Scandinavia, Finland, Russia, Canada, Alaska, Poland and, by extension, the high mountains) generates complex images, from the inhabitants living in close relationship with it as well as from people who imagine it from a distance, through documentary and fictional representations. It constantly produces cultural ‘discourses’ and geocultural images, evidences of the relationship that develops between it and humans. These discourses add up to offer a more or less substantial ‘idea’ of this space, composed of numerous assemblages of living (trees, mushrooms, insects, animals, etc.) and nonliving (soil, water, climatic elements, devices, etc.) entities, networks whose agency participate to the production of discourses. Nordic forests thus appear like real places, but also mythical, transcendent, ones, wild places or, on the contrary, rationalised by exploitation, shelters or disturbing, dangerous places.
The objective of this multidisciplinary conference is to study representations/images of northern forests considering the relationship between humans and this type of plant community, whose ecological, linguistic, cultural and gendered aspects intertwine in diverse ways throughout history and depending on regions. By bringing together works on various representations of the Nordic forest and offering multiple approaches on the topic, it will allow to evaluate the common grounds and distinctions between these representations. This reflection also engages in the growing awareness of the last decades toward the complexity of our local and global relationship to the living and the catastrophic consequences of destructing and overexploiting ecosystems such as forests.
This is the 15th international conference organized by the International Laboratory for the Comparative Multidisciplinary Study of Representations of the North from Université du Québec à Montréal. Following the conference, speakers will be invited to submit an article for a publication in the series "Droit au pôle" of the Presses de l’Université du Québec, co-published with the University of Tartu Press.