Prosjektet Ord og Vold

War, literature, and the return of ideology. International conference

  • Når: 05.06.2024
  • Tid: 09:00 - 17:00
  • Sted: Bodø

This is a conference about literature and intellectuals in an age of war and democratic backsliding. Contributions deal with populism, censorship, freedom of speech, and "cancel culture", largely from a historical perspective. The interwar years offer an irresistible field of comparison for commentators reflecting on the challenges and dangers to democracy in the contemporary world. Indeed, in Nordic intellectual historiography, the 1930s have long been known as 'the age of the culture wars', when writers and intellectuals of the right and left fought it out in aggressive debates over gender, religion, race, sexuality, and immigration. The renewed threat of authoritarianism makes it especially important to generate knowledge on how intellectual and civic freedoms were defended, lost, and regained in the 1930s and 40s, as the "culture wars" of the 1930s culminated in real wars and genocide, and as democracy was reestablished through transitional justice, following the defeat of fascism.

We are interested in the way that civil society continually invents and reinvents politics on its changing media platforms, and the continued importance of people who know how to express themselves aesthetically and thus to renew the rhetoric and content of politics.

Among the keynote speakers are:
Gisèle Sapiro, professor of Sociology at the EHESS, School of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, Paris.
Peter McDonald, professor of Literature at St Hugh's college, Oxford, England.
Anders Engberg-Pedersen, director of Nordic Humanities Center – University of Copenhagen and University of Southern Denmark.
Rachel Potter, professor of Modern Literature at the University of East Anglia, UK
Alan Finlayson professor of Political & Social Theory, School of Politics, Philosophy, Language and Communication Studies. University of East Anglia, UK.
Kjetil Ansgar Jakobsen, professor of Intellectual History, Nord University, Norway.

The conference takes place on Wednesday June 5 and Thursday 6 June at Kjerringøy Bryggehotell

Cultural program: Tuesday, June 4
18:00 Litteratursalen, Stormen bibliotek, Bodø. Screening of the film Weimar Express (Bulgaria 2023 1h 15min) – A documentary about Joseph Goebbels' Europäische Schriftstellervereinigung (European Writer's Union) and three writers who supported the new cultural order of Nazi-Germany, Fani Popova-Mutafova, Robert Brasillach and Knut Hamsun.
19:15: Director Milena Fuchedjieva in conversation with researchers Tore Rem, Alvhild Dvergsdal and Gisèle Sapiro. Host: Kjetil Ansgar Jakobsen .
Joining the conference: A limited number of places for non-presenters are available. If you wish to participate, please contact Please make clear if you wish to stay overnight or just participate in daytime proceedings.
Prices: The fee for day visitors to the conference is 600 NOK per day. That includes conference lunch and servings of coffee/tea and cakes/snacks.
Alternatively, you can spend the night at Kjerringøy Bryggehotel. If so, the cost is 1795 NOK per night, all inclusive.

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