New approaches to the mind in the early North

deadline for submissions: 
January 15, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Felix Lummer and Declan Taggart, University of Iceland

New approaches to the mind in the early North

Date: 11th–12th May 2023

Location: University of Iceland, Reykjavík, Iceland

Keynote speakers: Prof. Sif Ríkharðsdóttir (Háskóli Íslands); Dr Stefka Georgieva Eriksen (Norsk institutt for kulturminneforsknings)

We are pleased to invite submissions to the two-day conference ‘New approaches to the mind in the early North’ from researchers exploring new approaches to the mind in the early history of the Nordic countries (400 CE to 1100 CE).

No historical source exists free of interpretation. Explaining past behaviours means considering the beliefs, motivations, desires, feelings and thoughts behind those behaviours, and so scholars necessarily hypothesize about the minds of both the creators of their sources and the people described within them. 

Often the act of interpretation is guided by the investigator’s intuitions and assumptions. This can be done with success, yet is there a way to make the process of reasoning more secure by better understanding how the early Nordic mind itself operates? And can the study of past minds support research in the social sciences on the mind in the present day?

The organizers of this conference are especially interested in interdisciplinary approaches to the mind, incorporating theories from fields such as the cognitive sciences, psychology and anthropology. However, we are conscious that a wide range of approaches can be taken to this subject and would be open to other contributions. These might explore, for example: 

  • Differing gender and class valuations of the mind;
  • Differentiation between the mind and brain (and/or body);
  • Metaphorical conceptualizations of the mind or the brain; 
  • Perceptions of intellect or emotion;
  • Mental illness and its treatment;
  • Interaction between mind and environment.

Great progress has recently been made in Old Norse studies towards understanding the early medieval mind, particularly in research areas related to emotion and memory, and the goal of this conference is to extend that progress even further. We also hope to provide a limited bursary for travel for junior scholars (PG and ECR) to Iceland, though that is dependent on the level of external funding that can be achieved.

General information: Presentations will be 20 minutes long and followed by a 10-minute discussion. There will be no registration fees. We hope to be able to hold the conference completely in-person but will make preparations in case this becomes impossible.

Please send your abstracts of ca. 200 words to Felix Lummer or Declan Taggart at by 15th January 2023.