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Inaugural Symposium for the Ratatqskr Research Group for Literary Animal Studies

The aim of the symposium is to create a network for literary animal studies in Northern Europe and beyond.

In Old Norse literature, Ratatǫskr is the squirrel who runs up and down the trunk of the world tree, Yggdrasil, as a messenger between the eagle in its crown and the dragon in its roots. Being both a representation of a real species and a part of human mythology regarding the organization of the world, the figure of Ratatǫskr is situated right in the field of interest for literary animal studies.

What specific societal, political, social, religious, aesthetic and ecological contexts need to be activated to bring out the knowledge invested in literary animals and in literary human–animal relationships in the Northern European region? The aim of the symposium is to discuss this and other questions and to create a network for literary animal studies in Northern Europe and beyond.


Amelie Björck, Södertörn University, Sweden
Sune Borkfelt, Aarhus University, Denmark
Gunnar Eggertsson, University of Iceland
Camilla Flodin, Södertörn University, Sweden
Elisabeth Friis, Lund University, Sweden
Emma Kihl, Södertörn University, Sweden
Claudia Lindén, Södertörn University, Sweden
Karoliina Lummaa, University of Turku, Finland
Michael Lundblad, University of Oslo, Norway
Ann-Sofie Lönngren, Södertörn University, Sweden
Hanna Mattila, Sámi University of Applied Sciences, Norway
Oscar von Seth, Södertörn University, Sweden

Participation is free of charge and everyone is most welcome! Please register (with specific dietary requirements) before November 15 to

13.00–13.15: Opening words

13.15–14.45: Session 1
Michael Lundblad (prof., University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway): Idiorrhythmy and Its Discontents: Keywords for Multispecies Immersive Cultural Studies (MICS)
Claudia Lindén (prof., Ratatǫskr member):TBA
Gunnar Eggertsson (researcher, University of Iceland, Reykjavik, Iceland): Mother Lynx and Asshole Goose: Animal Stories in a Digital Landscape
Chair: Ann-Sofie Lönngren

14.45-15.15: Coffee

15.15–17.00: Session 2
Amelie Björck (senior lecturer, Ratatǫskr member): A question of scales: Reading the film Bullhead through a microscope
Sune Borkfelt (research assistant, School of communication and culture, Aarhus University, Denmark): From Black Beauty to Richard Parker: On Names and Namelessness in Animal Narratives
Emma Kihl (doctoral student, Ratatǫskr member); Jacob Broms Engblom (artist, The Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm); Marta Badenska Hammarberg (artist, The Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm): Speculating with Artistic Practices
Chair: Oscar von Seth

17.00–18.00: Mingle

19.00: Dinner

9.00–10.30: Session 3
Camilla Flodin (researcher, Ratatǫskr member): Utopian Animals: Notes on Adorno, Alice in Wonderland and Struwwelpeter
Karoliina Lummaa (ass. prof., University of Turku, Turku, Finland): Laridae: Lessons on Immersion, Ambiguity and Resilience
Oscar von Seth (doctoral student, Ratatǫskr member): The Wolf in Hermann Hesse’s Der Steppenwolf
Chair: Claudia Lindén

10.30–11.00: Coffee

11.00–12.30: Session 4
Hanna Mattila (doctoral student, lecturer, Sámi University of Applied Sciences, Norway): TBA
Ann-Sofie Lönngren (senior lecturer, ass. prof., Ratatǫskr member): Reading for Change: Decolonizing Literary Animals in Northern-European Indigenous and National Literature
Elisabeth Friis (senior lectuter, ass. prof. Lund University, Sweden): ‘Would you Instruct me Now?’ Following Carlo in the Letters and Poems of Emily Dickinson
Chair: Amelie Björck

12.30-12.45: Closing words

Time and place

05 December 13:00 - 06 December 13:00


Room MB 505, on the fifth floor in the B-wing, main building, Södertörn University, Campus Flemingsberg, find us


Arranged by

Comparative Literature at the School of Culture and Education, Södertörn University



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