Junior Full Professor Joanna Kodzik of MIARC is organising an international and interdisciplinary conference about the reception of knowledge from the Arctic in Eastern and Central Europe together with colleagues from the department of German Studies at Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń (UMK), together with Professor Włodzimierz Zientara and Dr. Anna Mikołajewska (both UMK) on 9-10 May 2024.

Historians and specialists of Literature, German, English and Scandinavian Studies as well as Museology from France, Germany, Austria, Poland, Norway, Iceland, Estonia, the Czech Republic and Hungary will meet together to discuss topics relating to the reception of knowledge from the circumpolar Arctic in Eastern and Central Europe from the 17th to the long 19th century. The conference has been nominated Best Research Activity at UMK and is financed by grants from the Burgomaster of the city of Toruń, the Excellence Initiative Young Universities for the future of Europe (YUFE), as well as the French National Research Agency ANR via the Junior Full Professorship in Arctic Humanities at MIARC. It will be opened by the Rector of UMK, Professor Andrzej Tretyn, and Professor Jan Borm, director of MIARC.

The papers are dedicated to single agents of knowledge, their observations and scientific discourses in which knowledge form the Arctic had been absorbed. The aim is to explain the different reasons why various groups - scholars, merchants, newspaper makers or aristocrats - were interested in the Arctic regions, e.g. scientific progress, trade profit, status representation through objects, topicality of news or medicine/ health, which could be promoted through products from the Arctic, etc. The focus is therefore on the reception of travel accounts from the Arctic by scholars in their own publications and debates of learned societies (natural science, geography, history, philosophy, literature), on representations of knowledge in collections (natural history cabinets) as well as the reception of knowledge about Arctic phenomena in everyday life, such as extreme cold, adaptation strategies on journeys or eating habits adapted in relation to the cold. The significance of scientific and (inter)confessional networks, mobility, education, religious minorities, the press and/or trade for the circulation of knowledge will be examined.

The discussion on the history of the Arctic will be enriched by the experience of the author and traveller Andrzej Dybczak, who published his account Gugara about an Evenki in 2012 and has produced several films about Siberia. Additionally, the participants will get an overview of the collection of objects from Siberia, Chukotka and Alaska in the Ethnographic Museum of Kraków, Poland, and research provided on this material culture by Dr. Magdalena Zych, curator of the collection.





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