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BBS 2015 : The Barents and the Baltic Sea region: contacts, influences and social change


When Dec 10, 2015 - Dec 11, 2015
Where University of Oulu, Finland
Submission Deadline Jun 30, 2015
Notification Due Jul 31, 2015

Call For Papers

Symposium at the University of Oulu, 10–11 December 2015

From a global viewpoint, the Barents Sea and the Baltic Sea – which are separated by the relatively narrow Fennoscandian peninsula – belong to the same Nordic sea region. The shortest distance by land from the Gulf of Bothnia to the White Sea is less than 400 kilometres. Northern Europe gradually becomes an Arctic area as one moves from the shores of the Baltic Sea to the Barents Sea. Inevitably, the Nordic, maritime character of the Barents Sea and Baltic Sea has shaped the formation and history of societies. The region has always been a meeting point of cultures. Contacts between communities, movements of people, and transfer of goods and ideas have created an area that is unique while still, in many respects, resembling the surrounding areas. The aim of the symposium is to analyse the characteristics of the Barents and Baltic Sea region from interdisciplinary perspectives.

Cross-border relationships are an essential part of our increasingly global world. The symposium sets out to examine the versatile interaction and interdependencies between different cultural areas and communities in the Barents and the Baltic Sea region. The aim is also to discuss the application of different scientific paradigms and methods to the study of transcultural encounters. Recognising the processes by which interaction and interdependencies form will help us to understand the challenges and opportunities of multiculturalism. Research provides means of encountering the “Other” and questioning the internal boundaries and normativeness of communities.

The keynote speakers of the symposium are Professor Lars Elenius from the University of Umeå and Professor Anssi Paasi from the University of Oulu.

The symposium focuses on cultural, economic, political, religious, social and other phenomena that affect the region and its relationships with the surrounding world. For example, these themes can be approached from the following viewpoints, among others:

• The Barents and the Baltic Sea region as a concept: under what preconditions could the region be said to form a whole? Or does it form an entity at all?
• The Barents and the Baltic Sea region in the eyes of its inhabitants and/or others: what kind of interests have been shown towards the region and what importance has been accorded to the area? What mental images does the region evoke?
• Critical resources in the region: what conditions and factors in particular have enabled and influenced human communities?
• The spread of influences and innovations in various walks of life to and within the Barents and the Baltic Sea region
• The development of contacts and cooperation within the area; acculturation and the intersection and blending of cultures
• Conflicts and disputes in the area; cultural differentiation; the formation of hierarchies and the exercise of power
• Comparison of the Barents and the Baltic Sea region to other Arctic areas
• Arctic- and Nordic-related issues in other areas

The symposium continues series of researcher meetings at the University of Oulu. These will contribute to Arctic and Nordic research, both of which belong to the university’s focal areas.

We invite scholars from all disciplines to discuss the symposium themes. We ask you to kindly submit your proposals by 30 June 2015. The maximum length of the proposals is one page. Authors of approved proposals will be notified by the end of July and the symposium programme and other practical information will be sent to participants by the end of August. No participation fee will be charged. The symposium languages are English and Finnish. Plans have been made to publish the symposium presentations in an edited scientific volume.

Proposals and any enquiries are to be sent to Professor Kari Alenius:

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