Symposium: The Middle Ages in the 20th and 21st Centuries: Relevance, Reimagination, Inspiration

Thursday 22 August 09:00 - Friday 23 August 16:30,
Hulda Garborgs hus, University of Stavanger.

Organised by the MARRI project group.

Published Updated on

A modern 'Viking' warrior in the forest using a smartphone

Thursday 22nd August

9:00-9:15 Welcome and Introduction

Location: Auditorium

Oliver M. Traxel, Stavanger

9:15-10:15 Keynote Lecture

Location: HG N-105

Moderator: Oliver M. Traxel, Stavanger

Gods, Vikings and the end of the world: Old Norse medievalisms in the current decade (Carolyne Larrington, Oxford)

10:15-10:45 Tea/Coffee Break

10:45-12:15 Session 1

Session 1A: Norse Mythology

Location: HG N-105

Moderator: Jóhanna Katrín Friðriksdóttir, Oslo

  • A. S. Byatt's subversive mythology (Clare Mulley, Oxford)
  • Völuspá and The Prophecy of the Oracle: Inter-textuality and meta-textuality in The Gospel of Loki (2014) (Anine Olsen Englund, Oxford)
  • Reimagining Valkyries in fantasy fiction: The legacy of Brynhild (Rebecca Hill, Huddersfield)

Session 1B: Runes and Symbols

Location: HG N-106

Moderator: Gabriele Knappe, Bamberg

  • Runic revivals: Why we should care about rune magic and rune yoga (Kerstin Majewski, Bochum)
  • The runes in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien: A comparison between the movies and the books (Lea Müller, Munich)
  • Dawn language, medievalism, and the mark on the Hobbit's door (Patrick J. Murphy, Miami)

12:15-13:15 Lunch (sponsored for speakers and project members)

13:15-14:45 Session 2

Session 2A: Norse Women

Location: HG N-105

Moderator: Clare Mulley, Oxford

  • The shieldmaiden figure in modern-day film and literature (Simon Hauke, Münster)
  • Sigrid Undset and Norse romance (Jonathan Y. H Hui, Cambridge)
  • Vikings, women, sexual violence and revenge in Sigrid Undset's Fortællingen om Viga-Ljot og Vigdis (Jóhanna Katrín Friðriksdóttir, Oslo)

Session 2B: Retellings in English Literature

Location: HG N-106

Moderator: Kerstin Majewski, Bochum

  • Ethical discourse after The Battle of Maldon: Exploring cowardice in J. L. Borges, Wu Ming 4 and J. O. Morgan (Giuliano Marmora, Trento / Augsburg)
  • Rex Vetus, Rexque Novus: How "a New Morte D'Arthur" redoes King Arthur (Miriam Strieder, Bern)
  • Women doing things: The new face of Arthurian women in M. Z. Bradley's The Mists of Avalon (Radhia Flah Gaiech, Sousse, Tunisia)

14:45-15:15 Tea/Coffee Break

15:15-16:45 Session 3

Session 3A: Re-enactments

Location: HG N-105

Moderator: Jens Eike Schnall, Bergen

  • Words and music: Re-enacting tractive time (Victoria Condie, Cambridge)
  • Drinking with the Vikings? The case of mead (Simon Trafford, London)
  • A match made in Valhalla? Viking Age-inspired professional wrestling (Bob Oscar Benjamin van Strijen, Oslo)

Session 3B: Literary Depictions

Location: HG N-106

Moderator: Miriam Strieder, Bern

  • The power of names in worldbuilding through fantasy onomastics (Louise Heywood, Salford)
  • Alternate universes and Victorian detectives: Sherlock Holmes goes medieval (Elisabeth Maria Magin, Oslo)

Friday 23rd August

9:00-10:30 Session 4

Session 4A: Historical Films

Location: HG P-220

Moderator: Carolyne Larrington, Oxford

  • Live like a warrior, die like a pagan: Viking funerary world through audiovisual media (Alberto Robles Delgado, Alicante)
  • Vikings (2013-2020): Reimagining medieval vernaculars on the screen (Gabriele Knappe, Bamberg)
  • Reimagining medieval England for a contemporary audience: The Last Kingdom (Yorick Sarrail, Toulouse)

Session 4B: International Politics

Location: HG P-231

Moderator: M. J. Toswell, Western Ontario

  • "Anglo-Saxon" as a linguistic cipher: The prescience of Kemp Malone (James H. Morey, Atlanta)
  • Once and future extremism: The medievalism of William L. Pierce (Helen Young, Melbourne, Australia)
  • Medievalism in Russia today: From Putin and the patriarch to Moscow conceptualism (Michael Makin, Ann Arbor, Michigan)

10:30-11:00 Tea/Coffee Break

11:00-12:30 Session 5

Session 5A: Fantasy Films

Location: HG P-220

Moderator: Victoria Condie, Cambridge

  • "Eden is not burning, it's burnt": Dragons between allegory and natural science in Reign of Fire (2002) (Thomas Honegger, Jena)
  • From god of mischief to god of stories: How the Marvel Cinematic Universe put Loki at the heart of a new creation myth (Kevin Fylan, Cork)
  • 'All the way back to the Middle Ages': Batman as a medievalist symbol in Batman: The Curse of the White Knight (Minjie Su, Frankfurt)

Session 5B: Norse Politics

Location: HG P-231

Moderator: Simon Trafford, London

  • "Knightflix" and abandoned runes: Changing medievalisms in 21st century Norway (Karl Christian Alvestad, USN)
  • The Viking in modern American mythmaking (Steffen Andre Birkeland Hope, Oslo)
  • Old grudges and older gods still: The French Far Right and its role in the development of Old Norse studies (Lyonel Perabo, Sorbonne)

12:30-13:30 Lunch (sponsored for speakers and project members)

13:30-15:00 Session 6

Session 6A: Video Games

Location: HG P-220

Moderator: Markus Eldegard Mindrebø, Stavanger

  • Bits and Berserkers: Adapting Old Norse literature in Skyrim, God of War: Ragnarök, and Assassin's Creed: Valhalla (Luca Panaro, Reykjavik)
  • Borealism in Assassin's Creed Valhalla: A case study of representations of the medieval period, their constructions and implications (Thomas Besson, Paris)
  • The cult of Freya in The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt: Representation of Old Norse mythology in a best-selling video game (Olga Kalinovskaia, Bergen)

Session 6B: Material Culture

Location: HG P-231

Moderator: Radhia Flah Gaiech, Sousse, Tunisia

  • Medievalism and material aesthetics around 1900 (Jens Eike Schnall, Bergen)
  • Medieval Italy in modern Mogadishu: Neo-Medievalism in Italian Colonial Eastern Africa and its aftermaths (Vera-Simone Schulz, Florenz)
  • The medievalizing architecture of Canada's official buildings (M. J. Toswell, Western Ontario)

15:00-15:30 Tea/Coffee Break

15:30-16:30 Workshop: Tabletop Role-Playing Games

Location: HG P-220

Moderator: Oliver M. Traxel, Stavanger

  • Common medieval and pseudo-medieval elements in fantasy tabletop roleplaying games (Sebastian Rob Kolnes, Stavanger Outland)
  • Playing a Viking: The synthesis of mechanical classes from archetypes in Old Norse tabletop roleplaying settings (Emma Louise Thompson, Leicester)

For further details, please contact Professor Oliver M. Traxel.