The Viking Age as a Foreign Place
Welcome to the ViS Conference 2021 - see preliminary program and link for registration under 'practical information' below
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.
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.
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?
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. See our preliminary program of confirmed papers HERE.
The conference is now open for registration on a first-com, first-served basis. Due to uncertainties linked to the Covid situation, payment links for conference fee and social events will be made available closer to the date when we are certain to go ahead as planned. Register 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.