Session Title

Encounters with the Paranormal in Medieval Iceland I: New Methodological Approaches

Sponsoring Organization(s)

Special Session

Organizer Name

Miriam Mayburd

Organizer Affiliation

Háskóli Íslands

Presider Name

Miriam Mayburd

Paper Title 1

The Power of Christ Compels You: Liturgical Rites and the Undead in Eyrbyggja Saga

Presenter 1 Name

Kent Pettit

Presenter 1 Affiliation

St. Louis Univ.

Paper Title 2

The Sorceress's Stone: Deviant Burial in Viking Age Scandinavia

Presenter 2 Name

Veronica Donato

Presenter 2 Affiliation

Boston College

Start Date

13-5-2018 8:30 AM

Session Location

Bernhard 212

Description

Encounters with the Paranormal in Medieval Iceland I: New Methodological Approaches

This session will question the discursive boundaries of what has conventionally been delineated as the 'supernatural' in saga scholarship (with its emphasis on classifying and categorizing otherworldly beings), suggesting that paranormal encounters in pre-modern cognitive experience rather hinge upon obscurity and lack of such delineations. Paranormal (with its broader definition of 'unexplainable') may include phenomena that need not be “supernatural” while still being uncanny and unsettlingly other. Consequentially, this opens up even the “realistic” sagas for such analyses. After introducing the main issues in the current discourse on the subject, the aim is to draw attention to several theoretical tools being used in adjacent fields of anthropology and folklore (as well as cognitive science) in the study of pre-modern mentalities and demonstrate their relevance of application to medieval Norse textual sources.

Miriam Mayburd

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May 13th, 8:30 AM

Encounters with the Paranormal in Medieval Iceland I: New Methodological Approaches

Bernhard 212

Encounters with the Paranormal in Medieval Iceland I: New Methodological Approaches

This session will question the discursive boundaries of what has conventionally been delineated as the 'supernatural' in saga scholarship (with its emphasis on classifying and categorizing otherworldly beings), suggesting that paranormal encounters in pre-modern cognitive experience rather hinge upon obscurity and lack of such delineations. Paranormal (with its broader definition of 'unexplainable') may include phenomena that need not be “supernatural” while still being uncanny and unsettlingly other. Consequentially, this opens up even the “realistic” sagas for such analyses. After introducing the main issues in the current discourse on the subject, the aim is to draw attention to several theoretical tools being used in adjacent fields of anthropology and folklore (as well as cognitive science) in the study of pre-modern mentalities and demonstrate their relevance of application to medieval Norse textual sources.

Miriam Mayburd