September 26-27 2013, Helsinki, Finland

International Workshop

Thursday 26 September and Friday 27 September 2013, in Helsinki, Finland, at the House of Science and Letters (Tieteiden talo), Kirkkokatu 6.

Download the workshop programme here.

The Jarl Gallén prize in North European Middle Age Studies will be awarded at the seminar and the recipient will present a ceremonial lecture.

The Medieval and Early Modern periods in Northern Europe (ca. 600-1600), defined broadly to include both Scandinavia, the Baltic, the British Isles and the Hanseatic areas of the southern coast of the Baltic Sea, were characterized by the simultaneous existence of oral and literary as well as Latin and vernacular cultures. Worldviews, ideas, beliefs, customs and norms were neither purely Christian nor purely pagan. Instead, the surviving sources show traces of various cultural layers as a result of cultural blending; sometimes the different elements are easily discernible, but sometimes they are so intermingled that they cannot be distinguished. The syncretism applies to both religious and secular texts; the coexistence of Latin and vernacular sometimes appears literally in manuscripts that combined both Latin and vernacular content or used different vernacular languages in parallel. Moreover, some texts (defined in the broad sense of the word) were never written but remained oral, manifesting themselves in later folklore. The workshop Indigenous Ideas and Foreign Influences will offer an arena for discussion of the interaction between oral and literary and the Latin and vernacular cultures in Medieval and Early Modern Northern Europe.

The invited guest lecturers are:
Marco Mostert (Utrecht University)
Mara Grudule (University of Latvia)
Terry Gunnell (University of Iceland)
Tuomas Heikkilä (University of Helsinki, Institutum Romanum Finlandiae)

The seminar is free of charge (including coffee and lunch during the seminar days), but registration is mandatory. Unfortunately, we cannot offer any travel grants; the costs of travel and accommodation must be covered by the participants themselves. Those wishing to participate in the event, please contact by September 23, 2013.

The seminar is funded by Thure Galléns stiftelse and organised by Glossa - the Society for Medieval Studies in Finland in collaboration with Centre of Nordic Studies CENS and Historiska Föreningen i Finland.

Jarl Gallén award to Professor Lars Boje Mortensen

Jarl Gallén (1908-1990) was a Finnish historian and Swedish-speaking professor in history at the Helsinki University. The prize carrying his name is awarded every third year to a researcher distinguished in North European Middle Age Studies. The prize was awarded in 2004 for the first time, and it has previously been received by Sverre Bagge (University of Bergen), Monica Hedlund (University of Uppsala) and Anders Andrén (University of Stockholm).

This year, the Jarl Gallén prize is awarded to Professor Lars Boje Mortensen from University of Southern Denmark. He will present a ceremonial lecture titled The Rise of Prose - a Comparative View (Greek, Latin, Old French, and Old Norse) on Thursday 26th at 16.00 at the House of Science and Letters (Tieteiden Talo), and the prize will be awarded by Thomas Wilhelmsson, Chancellor of the University of Helsinki. Lecture and the reception afterwards are open to all, and those wishing to participate are asked to contact by September 23, 2013.

Lars Boje Mortensen (1958) is currently a Professor of Ancient and Medieval Cultural History in University of Southern Denmark (Odense) and a head of the Centre for Medieval Literature (Odense and York, Mortensen has researched over the years the many aspects of medieval Nordic and Italian book history and historiography, as well as the dynamics holding between the Latin and vernacular.

List of Lars Boje Mortensen's selected publications can be downloaded here.
More information: