Greifswald, Germany, 15-18 June 2017

Deadline: 15 December 2016

Although the Baltic Sea has been one of the world’s greatest cultural crossroads, scholars often have overlooked cultural exchange in favor of exploring national and regional identities. Since the 1990s, the concept of a Baltic Sea Region encompassing the sea and its surrounding land has fostered transnational thinking about the region, transcending Cold War binaries of ‘East’ and ‘West’ in an effort to view the area more holistically. Still, common terminology such as ‘Scandinavia’ and ‘the Baltic States’, suggests these cultures are mutually exclusive, or, as the case with ‘Central and Eastern Europe’, ambiguously monolithic.

While historians have been examining the Baltic Sea Region — present-day Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, and Sweden — as an important center of cross-cultural interaction, the area’s visual and material culture, one of the most important avenues of exchange, is often reduced to illustrative examples of historical phenomena. Art historical narratives continue to be tethered to national and ethnocentric approaches, a bias this conference seeks to complicate.

This project (two conferences – in Greifswald and Tallinn – and an anticipated edited volume) emerges from these twin desires: to study the Baltic Sea Region as a cultural crossroads, and to depart from isolated, national/regional narratives. By foregrounding visual and material exchanges and the ideological or pragmatic factors that motivated them, we seek to establish common ground for viewing the Baltic Sea as a nexus of intertwined, fluctuating individuals and cultures always in conversation. We invite papers that engage material/visual culture as conceptual lenses through which to reevaluate the history, meaning, and significance of the Baltic Sea Region.

Proposals for this conference must include (in English):

a) an abstract of maximum 150 words summarizing your argument;
b) academic resume; and
c) full contact information including e-mail.

Papers will be 20 minutes in length and will be followed by discussion. The language of the conference is English.

Contributions should be sent to Michelle Facos ( and Bart Pushaw ( by 15 December 2016. Notification of acceptance will be by 15 January. This conference will be co-sponsored by the Baltic Borderlands Program of Greifswald University and the Alfried Krupp Wissenschaftskolleg, Greifswald.