Homann Map of Scandinavia, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and the Baltics.
Homann Map of Scandinavia, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and the Baltics. Johann Baptist Homann (1664 – 1724) was a German geographer and cartographer, map dated around 1715.

A conference at  Department of History, Stockholm University 12-14 August 2019

Keynote speakers

Viking-age and Early Medieval: Neil Price, Uppsala University
Middle Ages: Felicitas Schmieder, FernUniversität in Hagen
Early Modern Era: Steve Murdoch, University of St Andrews

The Global North
Conference poster: The Global North.

When Janet Abu-Lughod sketched the contours of a medieval “world system” in her landmark study Before European Hegemony, published nearly thirty years ago, she located the preponderance of global trade and the density of communication networks in the southern hemisphere. In recent decades, however, new trends in research and new forms of evidence have complicated, enriched, and expanded this picture, geographically as well as chronologically.  We now know that vast portions of the world were interconnected throughout the Middle Ages and Early Modern time, moreover, that the entire circumpolar North was a contact zone in its own right, with many connections to the rest of the medieval globe.

This conference invites scholars of many disciplines to explore the spaces, connections, and  networks of the Global North within a longer time frame and to offer new perspectives that cross the frontiers of traditional national historiographies or insular regional studies. We welcome relevant contributions by scholars of late antiquity/Viking period, the Middle Ages, and the Early Modern period whose work sheds light on the central themes of the conference. Indeed, this will be the first in a recurrent series dedicated to the Global North, with future conferences concentrating on other periods and other themes. Select papers drawn from the conference proceedings will be revised for publication.


Spatial categories. What contemporary physical and geographical categories were used to identify and describe spaces, e.g. seascapes or maritime spaces, mountainous territories, steppes, arable land, forests? What meanings were attached to these categories, and to notions of the wild and the cultivated, the central and the peripheral? How were these categories shaped, perpetuated, and disputed – and by whom? How did ideas of space create and legitimize hierarchies and forms of authority?

Movement, diaspora, integration. How were groups and communities defined – by themselves or by others – and according to what criteria?  How did movement – e.g. migration (seasonal or permanent), pilgrimage, raiding – consolidate or disintegrate solidarities and identities?  What forms of individual movement were possible and/or prevalent?  To what extent was movement gendered or restricted?  How were individuals or groups integrated, separated, or marginalized within communities?

Networks and communication. How global was pre-modern North? What does “global” mean in this historical context? How and why were networks established, and through what forms of communication and interaction?  What centres and peripheries can we identify? How were networks sustained or disrupted?

The organizers invite proposals for individual papers (20 minutes) or multi-paper sessions. Titles and abstracts (300 words) should be submitted no later than 15 December 2018. The program committee will notify participants of their selection in mid-January of 2019.

This first conference on the Global North is organized by the Centre for Medieval Studies, the Early Modern history milieu, the Centre for Maritime Studies, and the Institute of Urban History at Stockholm University, and by the Program in Medieval Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Abstracts should be submitted to:

Emmy Atterving: emmy.atterving@historia.su.se

Kurt Villads Jensen: kurt.villads.jensen@historia.su.se

no later than 15 December 2018