The roots of Finnish medical anthropology, and studies of cultures in general, are to be found in North Karelia. Finnish folklorists and ethnologists have gathered impressive collections of of ethnomedical material in Karelia since the beginning of the 19th century. In 1832 the first doctoral thesis on Finnish folk medicine was published by Elias Lönnrot.
Not only academics found the sung poetry inspiring, many of the symbols of Finnishness and the "holy book" Kalevala have a Karelian origin. Mekrijärvi, the village in which the meeting takes place, provided one of the riches materials of folklore and ethnomedicine. The only remaining house of runesingers is situated in Mekrijärvi.
~ intersubjectivity and the body
~ sickness and symbols
~ spirituality, religious experiences and healing
~ the social and political positions
We have chosen these four themes for this seminar and encourage you to think about your research in these terms. INTERSUBJECTIVITY is one of them. What we want to emphasize, is to to think about the body and healing in terms of relationships between human beings in a broad meaning of the term, extending from both current and historical social interactions to more existential dimensions of the term.
With the second theme SICKNESS AND SYMBOLS we want to to delineate the interrelationships of change and permanency of symbols within this area, extending historically from past to present, and horizontally from various alternative and folk therapies to biomedicine.
With the third theme, SPIRITUALITY, RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCES AND HEALING, we would like to encourage you to examine healing processes within a wider context of cultural experiences. This kind of approach has been scanty in Nordic research. Indeed, in our health research, religion has often conceptualized as a kind of private experience. Medical anthropology has its roots in anthropology of religion and with this theme we want to invite you to think also about the themes of this common past. With this theme we also wish to welcome scholars working in the field of religious studies.
The fourth theme SOCIAL AN POLITICAL TASKS AND COMMITMENTS OF MEDICAL ANTHROPOLOGY we want to highlight the area which is extremely important for our work. This area extends from questions of research priorities and funding in our Nordic welfare states to various social issues which we meet when we think about ethical questions of the field work, publishing, or more generally, our agency as researchers in contemporary society.
The number of the participants is restricted to 30. As earlier, we invite you to participate with full paper that will be circulated to all participants. The deadline for the circulating full papers will be December 31,2001.
After the seminar all interested are invited to take part to a weekend trip to New Valamo, the only monastry of the Finnish Orthodox Church, in Heinävesi, in Eastern Finland. The previously announced trip to the original Russian Valamo had to be cancelled because of harsh and uncertain winter conditions. The monastry was founded in Lake Ladoga, Karelia, but it was evacuated to Finland after the Second World War. The trip to Valamo will start on Saturday, after the seminar, and we'll enjoy the peaceful atmosphere and lovely foods until Sunday.