Analysis of knowledge production

Intensive seminar

Analysis of knowledge production in the context of (national) heritage scholarship

December 9-10, 2011
Degree Course of the Estonian Graduate School of Culture Studies and Arts (GSCSA)

Organized by the University of Tartu; Estonian Graduate School of Culture Studies and Arts; ESF Grant “Analysis of Knowledge Production in the Context of (National) Heritage Scholarship”; Centre of Excellence in Cultural Theory (CECT) 2 ECTS credits

The seminar on knowledge production proposes to look at sources and practices of ‘knowledge production’ that could be largely termed as cultural heritage studies. This inquiry proceeds from a reflexive investigation of disciplinary histories of scholarship embedded in and shaping the nation-building processes (e.g. ethnology, history, literature, etc). The making of archives and museums, the formation of depositories for past repertories, and for records of past cultural practices or artefacts – all backed by the establishment of relevant academic programmes – has inherently served the purpose of creating a national cultural heritage.

With a view of unraveling the institutionalization and social dissemination of scholarly knowledge, we propose to explore the politics of institutions, the knowledge legacies of seminal figures in the field and the identification of their object of research from a historical perspective and in relevant socio-political context, while taking into account particular rhetoric and political contingencies. The study of knowledge making practices in cultural research sheds light on disciplinary histories, the authoritative positions created, and the establishment of institutionalized knowledge format.

The aim of this event is an interdisciplinary discussion of current research methodologies, the enhancement of international cooperation in scholarship, and the involvement of young researchers or graduate students in an academic exchange of ideas that would go beyond the usual conference or lecture outline. The participants will include nine established scholars and twenty doctoral students.


December 9

10:15 coffee/tea


Discussion group 1

Moderator Kristin Kuutma

Kristin Kuutma (University of Tartu) Knowledge production and ethnographic representation

Simon Knell (University of Leicester) Approaching the object

11:45-12:15 coffee break


Discussion group 2

Moderator Simon Knell

Stefan Berger (University of Bochum/University of Manchester) National archives, national museums and national histories in nineteenth and twentieth century Europe

Marek Tamm (Tallinn University) Afterlife of events: How past becomes historical?

13:30-15:30 lunch break – Restaurant Entri (Rüütli 9)


Student discussion group

Moderator Marek Tamm

Liisi Taimre (University of Tartu) Small museums and knowledge production

Simon Halink (University of Groningen) In the absence of Europe. Romantic nationalism, Eddic mythology, and the repaganization of the Icelandic mind 1830-1944

Helen Wilkinson (University of Leicester) Curatorial expertise, professional identity and national heritage in Britain in the 1970s

16:30-17:00 coffee break


Student discussion group

Moderator Regina Bendix

Liis Livin (University of Tartu) Archaeological heritage, its meaning and usage

Helen Bome (Tallinn University) Villem Raam as a folk poet? The “oral tradition” shaping the discourse of medieval art in Estonia

Kristina Jõekalda (Estonian Academy of Arts) Heritage of architecture reflected in late 19th century writing

December 10

10:15 coffee/tea


Discussion group 3

Moderator Stefan Berger

Monika Baár (University of Groningen) The role of literary and learned societies in the institutionalization of the national heritage

Regina Bendix (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen) One language, three (or four?) research cultures: German language Volkskunde after 1945

Michaela Fenske (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen) Narrating region, narrating nation

12:15-14:30 lunch break – Restaurant Entri (Rüütli 9)


Student discussion group

Moderator Monika Baár

Toms Kencis (University of Tartu) Disciplinary agendas: The power of comparison

Andrea Bochese (University of Tartu) The rediscovery of the classical Greco-Roman cultural heritage in seventeenth-century occasional poetry: Imitation and evolution

Kristin Vaik (University of Tartu) The representations of exile literature in the histories of Estonian literature

15:30-15:50 coffee break


Student discussion group

Moderator Kristin Kuutma

Karin Bürkert (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen) Knowledge production as stabilization and valorization: The case of Fastnacht in Southwestern Germany

Leenu Nigu (Tallinn University) What is ‘folk’ and what is ‘dance’ in the quest for Estonian folk dance?

16:30-17:00 conclusions


The graduate school program consists of academic presentations and discussions.

The seminar will be carried out in 4 sessions. Each session will include about 3 presentations of 20 minutes with a longer discussion to follow, where the main discussants are expected to be the presenters themselves.

Key topics:

1. nationalism and ethnographic studies

2. nationalism and history (historical records)

3. heritage and literature (literary works)

4. knowledge production and heritage (conceptualization of heritage)

The essence of the session will be discussion. Each lecturer chooses 1-2 relevant articles/chapters for student assignment.

Students are proposed to give a 10 minute talk on their research topic or write a reflection (1500-2500 words) on the seminar by December 29. Student presentations are chosen by the organizers via abstracts sent for application and assigned to a matching session.
Requirements for participation

Interested graduate students should send an abstract (500-600 words) related to the key topics of the seminar by November 5, 2011. Students who are not members of GSCSA are required to add a short CV to specify their education and research interests.

E-mail address:

You will be notified of the acceptance of your contribution by November 12, 2011. The literature of the seminar will be available by that time.
Seminar venue and practical side

Graduate seminar takes place in Tartu: Zaal, Raekoja plats 10, 3rd floor.

The language of the course is English. Participation at the seminar will be free of charge for the confirmed participants (this includes accommodation, food). More information about accommodation choices will be provided for the participants.

Program director: Kristin Kuutma

Program manager: Monika Tasa

Student coordinator: Helen Kästik,

Seminar is supported by the European Social Fund (GSCSA), European Regional Fund (CECT), European Science Foundation (ETF Grant No. 7795).