The Viking Age as a Foreign Place

Call for papers is now closed. Conference registration and payment opens May 3rd and closes October 15th on a first-come, first-served basis.

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Welcome to the ViS Conference 2021: Call for papers.

Rather than seeking similarities and trends, this conference will focus on what seems unfamiliar, exotic and even strange in what we perceive as the Viking Age. With this in mind, we will look into the way people interacted with the landscapes in which they lived, how they related to changing environmental preconditions, the way they related to human made objects, and the way narratives of their world were made, used and understood. An additional reception history approach to narratives about the Viking World will enable us better to see how, or if, these narratives influence our perception of the period today.

Viking Age Narratives

Session organizer: Jan Bill

How were and are narratives used to shape the perception of the Viking world? And concurrently, what are the different Viking worlds we can envisage, when recognising that the Viking Age was not a uniform period, but rather a class-based society where different perceptions of reality must be imagined. Building on this, and following lines of perceived social classifications, such as age, gender, social class and conceivably ethnicity, we can imagine multiple, concurrent Viking Ages. As such, the conference encompasses two chronological spheres: That of the Narratives in the Viking Age and that of posterity’s Narratives about the Viking Age. The goal is to achieve a better understanding of the function of narratives in Viking Age society, the way these were upheld or abandoned in later periods and how/if modern narratives about the Viking Age still influence our perception of the period today.

Speaking Objects

Session organizer: Kristel Zilmer

This theme sets out to investigate a variety of Viking Age objects as material, visual and textual signs of communication. The objects were shaped and marked in various ways, and they became meaningful participants in interactions on different levels. The marks on them could range from lexically meaningful inscriptions to diverse visual forms of mark-making and physical shaping. The session explores the textual, visual, tactile, and material qualities of the speaking objects, their interrelationships with their makers and environments as well as present-day possibilities of study. What do these layers of meaning do to the objects, and how can they be approached and interpreted? Could the composite properties of the objects in themselves generate or invite particular actions and perceptions on the part of their makers and users? How do we as modern researchers engage with their manifold qualities? The session proceeds from a broad understanding of the concepts of writing, visuality, materiality – as related to items of material culture.

Human-environmental interactions

Session organizer: Karoline Kjesrud

This theme sets out to investigate a multispecies Viking society, in which human beings constitutes a minor part of a broader reality. Changing environmental conditions represented risks and opportunities, which challenged the multispecies Viking society in numerous ways. In a changing world, humans, animals and plants responded and acted, and by doing so interacted with, and altered, their environment. Human interaction with the natural world was complex; Forests were sanctuaries, oceans a route, plants were food, wood served as building material, and minerals were the source to weapons and tools. The close interaction between humans and animals was essential in farm life, and the energy and strength of wild animals were upheld as ideals. How did the changing environmental conditions affect the multispecies Viking society?

Call for papers and posters

The conference seeks papers that contribute new data and interpretations, methodologies and/or theoretical approaches within the three session themes. Each paper will be given a 25 minutes timeslot, with a presentation of max. 20 minutes followed by 5 min. of discussion. In addition we call for posters in combination with short presentations of 5-10 minutes.

Abstracts of max. 200 words may be sent to, deadline March 15th, 2021.

Please indicate the session theme you want to contribute to and whether you wish to contribute with a full presentation and/or short presentation/poster. Accepted paper proposals will be notified by April 30th.

Practical information

The final program will be available on this website in May.

In line with current guidelines for public arrangements, the conference will only be able to receive 80 participants including presenters but parts of the program will be live-streamed. If further restrictions for public arrangements prevents a physical conference, we will provide a fully digital alternative. We will open for registration in the first week of May when a final program and link for registration/payment will become available here.

The conference fee is 250 NOK and includes lunch/refreshments at the conference. A pizza-night will be arranged on November 24th at additional 100 NOK. A conference dinner will be held on November 25th for additional 550 NOK.

The conference encourages visiting PhD candidates and early career researchers to attend and offers 5 travel grants each of NOK 5000 for accepted papers/poster contributions. Please attach your grant application when submitting your abstract.

Please note

  • Deadline for proposals: March 15th
  • Accept of paper proposals: April 30th
  • Conference registration and payment opens May 3rd and closes October 15th on a first-come, first-served basis.
Emneord: Viking Age
Publisert 13. jan. 2021 10:47 - Sist endra 19. mars 2021 08:55