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Conference Information

Full Title: Protestantism and Negotiating Identities

Location: Helsinki, Finland
Start Date: 24-Aug-2017 - 26-Aug-2017
Contact: Sanna Supponen
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting URL:
Meeting Description: The year 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of Finland’s independence, but also 500 years since the beginning of the Reformation at Wittenberg. Historically Protestantism and national identity have been closely intertwined in Finland, first as a part of the Lutheran Swedish sphere until 1809 and then as a religious frontier under Orthodox Russia in the 19th and early 20th centuries and next to the atheistic Soviet Union since the independence until the 1990s. While the majority of Finns are members of the Finnish Evangelical-Lutheran Church, contemporary Finnish society is largely secular and increasingly pluralist both culturally and religiously.

But how is national identity negotiated in a contemporary secular and pluralist society such as Finland or in other North European countries? Or is national identity – in the singular – a misleading construct that should give way to understanding how different ethnic, religious and other minorities experience, understand and negotiate national identity from their perspectives?

Nationalism, on the other hand, has been on the rise in Northern Europe in the recent decade. But if nationalism is to be understood as a secularizing process, which goes hand in hand with privatization of religion and increasing pluralism in society, it is somewhat puzzling why nationalistic sentiments have been on the rise in secular pluralist societies. Is religiosity newly on the rise or does secularism breed new religious frontiers between traditional religion (e.g. Islam) and non-religious people? Since religion and nationalism have been researched largely in different scholarly domains, there is a new need for a more integrating and interdisciplinary approach to understand how national identity is negotiated in the context of religious pluralism, on the one hand, and in the context of the rising role of religion in public discussion, on the other.

Confirmed Keynote Speakers:

- Peter A. Kraus, University of Augsburg
- Philip W. Barker, Keene State College
- Katja Valaskivi, University of Tampere
- Jarkko Hautamäki, University of Helsinki


The conference is co-organized by The Finnish Society of Church History, The Finnish Psychological Society, The Westermarck Society, the Turku Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, and members of the ProFini 2017 -research network.

Conference Venue:

The conference takes place at the House of Sciences (Tieteiden talo), a short walking distance from the Centre Campus of the University of Helsinki.

The Organizing Committee:

Jarkko Hautamäki
Andreas Häger
Anna-Maija Pirttilä-Backman
Anneli Portman
Kirsi Salonen
Kaius Sinnemäki
Sanna Supponen
Jouni Tilli
Linguistic Subfield: Applied Linguistics; Discourse Analysis; Sociolinguistics
LL Issue: 28.232

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