Archive for January, 2010

PhD Studentships in Aberdeen

Good news from the University of Aberdeen, where–despite the economic difficulties that are smiting higher education in Britain–the Centre for Scandinavian Studies is offering four funded PhD places for 2010/11 and a further four for the next academic year. They are looking for qualified candidates in the following subject areas:  Nordic medieval law and policy, Old Norse sagas and poetry, the pre-Christian religion and mythology of Scandinavia, Christianization of Scandinavia, Viking Studies, early landscape studies or related fields.

These studentships are fees-only, although they say that they may also be able to contribute to students’ maintenance. Three posts each year are for British or EU students with the other one open to candidates from anywhere in the world. See the advertisement for details or the Centre’s own website.

Viking Society Student Conference 2010

The Viking Society is holding its annual student conference in London on 13 February. Everybody is welcome to attend–whether a student or not or a Society member or not.

The theme of this year’s conference is Skaldic Poetry, and the programme is as follows:

10.30 Coffee, Registration (Jeremy Bentham Room)

11.00 Richard North (London): ‘Skaldic verses. How to read them; how not to fear them’.

11.45 Debbie Potts (Cambridge): ‘Myth and metaphor in the self-referential language of early skaldic verse’.

12.30 Erin Goeres (Oxford): ‘My hope of wealth died”: Personal gain and personal grief in the commemorative verses of Glúmr Geirason and Eyvindr skáldaspillir’.

1.15 LUNCH

2.00 Alaric Hall (Leeds): ‘Kennings, personal names, and understanding supernatural beings’ (across the skaldic corpus as a whole, but definitely with some reference to Ragnarsdrápa).

2.45 Heather O´Donoghue (Oxford): ‘Skaldic verse in saga prose’.

3.30 David Ashurst (Durham): ‘Verse as sex act: chiefly in Kormaks saga‘.

4.15 TEA

The conference will be held in the Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, University College London. (South Junction of the main building, at the top of the stairs. Registration and refreshments will be in the Jeremy Bentham Room.)

To Register: Please email Alison Finlay <> by Monday 8 February to inform us of your intention to attend. The conference costs £10 — which covers the cost of coffee, tea and a sandwich lunch. Please send a cheque for this sum to Alison Finlay, Department of English, Birkbeck, University of London, Malet Street, WC1E 7HX (to arrive by 12th February) OR pay using a credit card via PayPal at the Society’s website.

Bergen, Norway: Conference on Retrospective Methods in the Study of Pre-Christian Scandinavia

September 13, 2010toSeptember 14, 2010

13-14 September 2010

Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Bergen, Norway

Retrospective Methods in the Study of Pre-Christian Scandinavia

Conference Website

Conference in Bergen: Retrospective Methods

Helen Leslie kindly wrote in to tell us about a conference to be held at the Centre for Medieval Studies, University of Bergen on 13-14 September 2010. Here’s how Helen introduces the theme of the conference:

The conference is organized by the Retrospective Methods Network in cooperation with the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of Bergen, Norway. The purpose of the network is to promote and develop retrospective methods in historical studies in a wide sense. The background is the growing interest in folklore and other 19th and 20th century evidence as a supplement in studies of pre-Christian Scandinavian beliefs. Methodologically this is highly problematic, however; we must not use late evidence in the same naïve way as the scholars of the early 20th century. Therefore, a renewed effort in the development of retrospective methods is required, hence the network and the conference.

The conference is open to all and only half of the papers will be invited. Papers on all kinds of retrospective approaches are welcome, from all kinds of fields, treating all kinds of topics and material, as long as they can help develop better and more explicit methods for retrospective reasoning. The organizers hope that a renewed discussion of retrospective methods can lead to a higher level of methodological consciousness and a stronger demand for explicitness in claims, methods and reasoning in Old Norse studies.

The Call for Papers is out now, with a deadline of 15 February. Please see the conference website for further details.