Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Language, Texts, and Gender in the Viking Diaspora Viking Identities Network IV

Call for Papers

Language, Texts, and Gender in the Viking Diaspora
Viking Identities Network IV

30-31 March 2009
University of Leicester

The Viking Age is traditionally seen as the aggressive, militaristic
expansion of a Scandinavian seafaring and warrior culture with imperialist
ambitions. The Viking Identities Network is challenging this view and
researching the implications of reconfiguring the period as a diaspora,
with subsequent effects on ethnic, religious, linguistic, cultural and
genetic identities. While the Viking ‘migrations’ were a physical
movement, with the re-settlement of people and the re-establishment of key
institutions, ‘diaspora’ can be seen as the consciousness of being
connected to people and traditions of a homeland and to migrants from the
same ethnic origin.

While the raiding warrior vikings were male, the settlements of the Viking
diaspora included women, who may have been of Scandinavian origin or from
the areas settled. This seminar aims to address the impact that the gender
relations which pertained to the various areas of Viking settlement had
upon their linguistic – and, later, textual – milieus.

Papers might address such questions as:

• To what extent is it possible to assess gender roles and gender
construction within the various contexts of the Viking diaspora?
• How might we assess the role of women in the transmission of languages
and myths during the period of Viking expansion and settlement?
• How can we account for the relatively ‘pure’ Norseness of the Icelandic
language in relation to the genetic evidence which suggests that Iceland’s
male settlers came from Scandinavia, while its female settlers came from
the British Isles?
• What part can place-names, or mythology, play in the assessment of such
• What part does gender play in later accounts of the diasporic movements?

Keynote lecture: Professor Neil Price (University of Aberdeen): ‘Bodylore:
material narratives and the gendered creation of Norse mythology’.

The symposium is open to all, and postgraduates are particularly
encouraged to offer papers or posters. We are looking for around fifteen
30-minute papers and up to five posters. To facilitate discussion,
preprints will be made available on the internet in advance, and the
overall number of participants will be limited to around 30.

There will be no conference fee, and lunch and refreshments will be
provided free of charge for all participants who choose to stay in campus
accommodation. Accommodation and evening meals will be available to
participants at a cost to be confirmed shortly.

Please send an abstract (no more than 300 words) by e-mail to Jayne
Carroll ( no later than December 19th 2008.

Jayne Carroll, University of Leicester
Judith Jesch and Christina Lee, University of Nottingham
Christopher Callow, University of Birmingham

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