S·P·I·N - Study Platform on Interlocking Nationalisms

Integrated database viewer now online

SPIN aims to document “banal” and ambient manifestations of cultural nationalism in its transnational diffusion. The databases (Correspondence, Statuary, Composers’s Travels, Verses, Painters and Banknote Portraits) which are maintained for this purpose are now accessible in a new, integrated public-user interface.

The viewer allows users, by means of an intuitive interface,

-   [a] to consult the contents of the databases, textual (Verses) and iconographical (Statuary, Banknote Portraits and History Paintings), and

-   [b] to visualize the contents’ distribution, either by means of mapping chronologically (Statuary), geographically (Statuary, Composers’s Travels, Letters, Painters) or as social networks (Painters and Letters).

The SpInTime technology (for mapping and visualizing diffusion and network patterns dynamically in their historical development) is a key feature of the viewer.


The integrated viewer interface is now online; click here to access.

CfP: “Rethinking Cultural Memory 1700-1850”

The Nordic Association for Romantic Studies (NARS) is pleased to announce the Call for Papers for the international conference Rethinking Cultural Memory 1700-1850. The conference will take place at Copenhagen University, Denmark, Friday 4 – Saturday 5 December 2015. Deadline for paper proposals is 1 July 2015. Plenary speakers are William St Clair, Ann Rigney, Susanna Petterson and Joep Leerssen.

The period 1700-1850 saw the birth of the modern nation state and of the concept of national/regional identities based on ethnicity, language, cultural memory, and literary heritage. The romantic and post-romantic era in Europe was a watershed when a neglected vernacular heritage was processed from one medium to another. Poetry, novels, and painting were created on the basis of old manuscript or oral traditions. At the same time, historical and antiquarian scholarship began to place new emphasis on the idea of vernacular traditions. In what sense was the collecting of ancient tradition an ‘invention’ conceived from within a romantic paradigm? How does it affect understandings of national traditions today?


Plenary speakers are William St Clair (Senior Research Fellow, University of London), author of The Reading Nation in the Romantic Period ; Ann Rigney (University of Utrecht), convenor of Utrecht Memory Studies and NITMES (Network in Transnational Memory Studies); Joep Leerssen (University of Amsterdam), Coordinator of SPIN (Study Platform on Interlocking Nationalisms); Susanna Pettersson (Director of the Finnish National Gallery), Studies in museology. 


The conference seeks to engage with a wide range of approaches and therefore invite proposals from disciplines including (but not limited to) literary and art history, antiquarianism, museology, theatre, and cultural history.
Possible topics include:

– Visual arts and the culture of memory
– Romantic artists and their construction of national ‘memory’. What were the exchanges? What were the competitions? 
– Analyses of Europe’s bibliographic networks (personal correspondence, international booksellers, smuggled books, translations, adaptations etc.).
– The dissemination of interest in the past across European borders. What constituted the cultural transfers?
– Intermediality between cultural fields, various media, or intellectual and artistic expressions
– The regional context of using the past to construct ideas of community (as a challenge to the ‘national’).
– The remediation of medieval manuscripts in new literary, historical, pictorial, and theatrical works,
– The revival of folkish forms – ballads, folklore, songs, mythology. 
– The grey area between genuine historical reconstruction and forgery. 

Proposal ideas that extend beyond these thematic areas are also welcome.


Proposals are invited for paper presentations (20 minutes), panels, workshops/interactive sessions. The conference will be in English.
Please send the following information to culturalmemory@hum.ku.dk:

— Paper title and abstract/proposal for either individual paper (max. 300 words) or panel (max. 500 words)
— Brief vita or biography (max. one page)
— Complete personal information: name, department, academic affiliation (if any), and email address.

Deadline: 1 July 2015. Please note that the conference will offer several venues for publication of revised and peer-reviewed papers.
Three travel bursaries of €250 are available for PhD students or postdocs. Application information is available on the conference webpage.

To learn more about the conference, including speakers, session formats, venue, registration and hotels in Copenhagen, see http://rethinkingculturalmemory.ku.dk/.

Workshop: Canonization of “Cultural Saints”

The workshop Canonization of “Cultural Saints”: Commemorative Cults of Artists and Nation-Building in Europe, convened by Marijan Dović (Institute of Literature ZRC SAZU, Ljubljana) and SPIN, aims to identify and describe patterns in the nationally-motivated veneration of poets, writers, composers, and intellectuals in post-1789 Europe.

The rise and rapid spread of such practices, especially as of the 1840s, should be understood within the framework of cultural nationalism. The considerable variety of this cultural commemoration, veneration, and “hero-worship” (Thomas Carlyle’s term) can be encompassed on the basis of an expanded concept of canonization (referring both to the acknowledgement of cultural prestige and durability, and to para-religious rituals of pious commemoration) in the context of newly emerging “imagined” communities and their (collective) cultural memory. 

Following on from earlier research on “cultural saints” in Europe, this workshop aims to reappraise the continuous veneration of canonical figures as part of the European nation-building process, especially in those smaller cultural communities who drew their sense of identity primarily from language and literature. Our working hypothesis is that para-religious elements (which characterize national movements as forms of “secular religion”) were instrumental in this process especially from the mid-nineteenth century to the beginning of the World War II. We aim to circumscribe the heuristic value of the metaphor of sanctitude through discussions of the relevant concepts (canonization, worship, rituals, relics) and the analysis of paradigmatic cases (“national poets” and other “cultural saints”) from a number of European literary cultures – from Iceland to Georgia and from Spanish Galicia to Estonia.