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Eddic Gods and Heroes - the Milieux and Media of their Reception

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Eddic Gods and Heroes - the Milieux and Media of their Reception

International Conference 25 - 27 June 2009, Johann Wolfgang
Goethe-Universität Frankfurt

- Call for papers -

Since the 18th century eddic myths have been reproduced, represented and
adapted for use in various ways, first in European countries and then
worldwide. Their spread has coincided with the development of a great
diversity in the media available, culminating in the rise of the so-called
"new media" whose character often makes it impossible to classify a
particular example of "eddic reception" as belonging to any one given
linguistic or national cultural context. Via computer games and "myth
portals", in mangas or in music ("pagan metal") Norse or eddic myths spread
without regard for national borders and language barriers.

Despite this worldwide circulation the myths themselves are often used as a
means towards the establishment of a particular identity. Myths are pressed
into the service of many different contexts and ideologies, sometimes ones
which are diametrically opposed to one another. Thus the Norse goddess
Idunn has lent her name to numerous journals, to several insurance
companies, to choruses and sports clubs and to enterprises which produce
yeast and cosmetics. Idunn is also the patroness of fruitgrowers and of the
transfer of electronic data. The god Baldr is invoked as a representative
of pacifism, but also as a representative of white supremacy. Brynhild
oscillates between the role of a Fury and the role of a liberator.

Aim of the conference

The goal of the conference is to shed light upon the conditions which lead
to the utilization of eddic myths in such a protean manner and also to
identify the areas in which eddic myths have chiefly been used. The
conference will examine these aspects of the problem from an international
perspective using comparative and interdisciplinary methods. It will focus
upon the period from the mid-19th century to the present.

The themes of the conference can be summed up in two key words:

/Milieux in which reception occurs .../

... for example youth subcultures, political movements, the educated
bourgeois establishment (Bildungsbürgertum), the "back-to-nature-movement"
(Lebensreformbewegung), the role-play groups, etc.

In which milieux and socio-cultural contexts have the myths been used, and
what do the myths represent or what is their function?

Is the use of Norse myth a phenomenon associated with popular culture,
subcultures or the culture of an elite?

How is the international character of Edda-reception reconciled with a
function in the creation of national or regional identity or of the
identity of a particular group?

/Media through which reception occurs .../

... for example opera, "Singspiel", literature, art, journals, computer
games, internet, cards as collector's items, etc.

Which media are the preferred vehicles in which milieux?

Do developments in the media employed change the manner in which the myths
are employed?

What is the aesthetic effect of the interaction between myths and media?

Call for papers

We would welcome contributions to the conference from the broadest spectrum
of fields possible: study of literature, cultural studies, media studies,
musicology and art history, religion, sociology and related fields. The
lectures may be held in German, English, Danish, Norwegian and Swedish.
Abstracts of not more than one page should be sent to us by June 15, 2008.

We plan to publish the papers contributed to conference in the series
"Skandinavistische Arbeiten" (Universitätsverlag Winter, Heidelberg).

Kindly submit abstracts of proposed contributions to the following e-mail


DFG-Projekt Edda-Rezeption
Institut für Skandinavistik
Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität
Grüneburgplatz 1
D-60323 Frankfurt am Main


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