The organizers suggest as the main theme of the Sixteenth International Saga Conference, August 2015 in Zurich and Basel, ‘Sagas and Space’. A broad and open theme has been selected so that as many participants as possible have the opportunity to present their research in one of the sessions.

The Fifteenth International Saga Conference in Aarhus examined the phenomenon of the past, that is to say, time, in connection with the cultural heritage of the Scandinavian Middle Ages. Another basic category of human thought, namely space, will stand at the centre of the next conference. It is envisaged that the sessions will concern themselves with questions such as how Old Norse texts construct space, how space is created, narrated, and mediated, which indigenous and international traditions -- for example those of rhetoric or poetics -- are used to do so, and what kinds of thinking about and in space took place in the medieval North.

The list of possible themes for papers in the individual sessions is long. For example, topography and topology in the sagas, eddic and skaldic poetry could be analysed. How do mythological, heroic, historical, feudal, geographical etc. spaces and landscapes look in written and oral narrative, but also in images on picture-stones, runic inscriptions, paintings, woodcarvings, manuscripts? The relationship between texts, images and maps and the process of mapping may be discussed in relation to medieval Nordic cartography, as may the spaces (for example, the layout) of medieval manuscripts.

The theme also allows excellent links to be created to the research centres for Mediality (Zurich) and Cultural Topographies (Basel).


University of Zurich
Deutsches Seminar
Abt. für Nordische Philologie
Schönberggasse 9
8001 Zurich

University of Basel
Seminar für Nordistik
Nadelberg 6
4051 Basel


Jürg Glauser
Tel +41(0)44 634 25 12

Klaus Müller-Wille
Tel+41(0)44 634 25 50

Sarah Künzler
Tel +41(0)44 634 25 14

Matthias Hauck
Tel +41(0)61 267 34 38

Conference phone
+41 (0)77 401 28 70