The Finnish Literary Research Society’s annual conference

The Finnish Literary Research Society’s annual conference 2021 will be organised as an online conference in association with the University of Helsinki and its literature departments. The theme of the year is “Senses”.

The keynote speakers in 2021 are:

Jørgen Bruhn, Linnéuniversitet, Sweden
Siru Kainulainen, University of Turku
Merja Polvinen, University of Helsinki

Further details will be announced soon.

The event in general

The annual conference is the largest event within literary research in our country. Finnish universities take turns to host the event that brings together scholars who study literature and literary cultures regardless of discipline. Until 2019 the event was known as the Society’s annual research seminar. The conference has been a staple of the society since the early 90s. Originally it was always held in January, before being moved to the end of spring term.

The annual event has become a significant forum that brings together experts in the field nationwide and where scholars share the most recent progress in their research. The focus of the conference is on intensive collaboration in working groups, where scholars who work on similar research questions can dive deep into very specific topics. Research projects can also introduce their work. In addition, the conference has in recent years included a guest author event introducing a topical Finnish author – this event has also attracted a wider audience. A workshop for doctoral candidates has also been a central and valued part of the conference allowing upcoming literary scholars to present their research and receive feedback from professors and other experts.

In recent years, the conference has focused on theme that has been examined from a variety of perspectives within the working groups. These themes have included, among others, the goals of literary research, the relationship between literary and cultural studies, literature and emotions, postcolonial theory, environment, culture and identity in literature, and mimesis.

For years, the conference was held at research stations of the University of Helsinki, but since 2005 the conference became urban, although still always held in Helsinki. Since 2015 the conference has travelled the nation, as universities take turns to host the event in association with literature and philology departments.

In 2009 the Society’s annual seminar was also a part of an international conference called Genre and Interpretation that the Society organised in association with the National Doctoral School for Literary Studies. In 2011 the theme was “Literary studies now”. In 2012 the Society organised a Prose Conference of Helsinki in association with Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, Mahdollisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, Nuoren Voiman Liitto, and the National Doctoral School for Literary Studies.

In 2013 an international conference, Experiences of Time in Literature, was organised in Helsinki in collaboration with the National Doctoral School for Literary Studies, the Finnish Academy Project “Literature and Time: Time, Modernity, and Human Agency in Literature” and the Emil Aaltonen project “The Experience of History and the Ethics of Storytelling in Contemporary Arts.”

The rotation of the annual conference (previously annual research seminar):

The Universities: Tampere University, the University of Eastern Finland, the University of Helsinki, the University of Jyväskylä, the University of Oulu, and the University of Turku.

Since 2015 the conference has been and will be organised according to the following rotation:

2014 Helsinki

2015 Tampere

2016 Turku

2017 Jyväskylä

2018 Joensuu

2019 Oulu

2020 The conference was postponed to 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic

2021 Helsinki

2022 Tampere

2023 Turku

2024 Jyväskylä

2025 Joensuu

2026 Oulu

2027 Helsinki

2028 Tampere

2029 Turku

2030 Jyväskylä

2031 Joensuu

2032 Oulu