All panels will be viewable online, either live or recorded, with pre-registration.
Our keynote speakers will be Prof. Lynn Thomas (University of Washington) and Mona Gleason (University of British Columbia).

Please notice: Access to all poster videos, prerecorded keynotes and panel presentations and live panel discussions requires preregistration.

We have sent links to the zoom panel live streams and keynote, poster and panel videos to the registered participants. If you have not received the email, please check your junk mail folder. If you encounter any problems, please contact


Monday 8 March at 13-15 EET (GMT+2)
Theme 1 – Personal Nationalism and the Question of Agency

Panel discussion:

Prof. Maarten Van Ginderachter, University of Antwerp
Dr Reetta Eiranen, Max Planck Institute for Human Development
Prof. Zsuzsa Millei, Tampere University
Prof. Raúl Moreno Almendral, University of Salamanca

Chair: Dr. Ville Kivimäki, Dr. Sami Suodenjoki & Dr. Tanja Vahtikari, Tampere University/HEX

How people participate in “doing the nation” is a fundamental question for the study of nationalism. This is especially important for the histories of experience and emotions, which are interested in the ways the nation is “lived.” Social anthropologist Anthony P. Cohen’s concept “personal nationalism” (1996) is one useful approach in this respect. The term helps to understand how people use nationalism and nationhood to formulate their sense of self. Our panel discusses personal nationalism as a concept of analysis in historical studies and also the limits of attributing agency to individuals in personalizing nationalism and “doing the nation.” Possible questions to be addressed are, for example: How much agency is there to personalize nationalism in different historical contexts? How does this differ according to, e.g., social class, gender, age and ethnicity? Where are power and conflict situated in the study of personal nationalism? How do the historically and culturally changing understanding of the self and its expressions affect the applicability of the concept? How does personal nationalism relate to structural explanations of nationalism? What limits do sources set for studying how people of the past appropriate nationalism – and how can we access the personal nationalism of those people who have not left behind any conventional ego-documents?

Presentation titles:

Prof. Maarten Van Ginderachter: Agency in everyday nationalism

Dr Reetta Eiranen: From personal nationalism to national indifference: Gendered perspective

Prof. Zsuzsa Millei: Everyday nationalism: Methodologies, modalities and childhood as method

Prof. Raúl Moreno Almendral: Autobiographical sources and the personal approach to the history of national phenomena

Click here to read a longer version of the panel description. 

Click here to read the panelists’ bios.


Tuesday 9 March at 12-14 EET (GMT+2)
Theme 2 – Lived Welfare State

Panel discussion:

Prof. Helen Johnston, University of Hull
Prof. Kate Rossiter, Wilfrid Laurier University
Prof. Jen Rinaldi, Ontario Tech University
Prof. Pauli Kettunen, University of Helsinki
Prof. Pirjo Markkola, Tampere University/HEX

Chair: Dr. Johanna Annola, Dr. Hanna Lindberg & Dr. Antti Malinen, Research Fellows, Tampere University/HEX

The session discusses the interplay between experience and agency as analytical tools by exploring different conceptualisations and contextualisations of the lived welfare state. In everyday life, the welfare state is lived through various social benefits, services and institutions, some of which date back to earlier periods. These institutions and structures of welfare provision are based on shifting constructions of the “social”, and they generate special experiences of the individual-society relationship. Thus, the focus on the lived welfare state calls for new perspectives and conceptualisations to combine micro level from below approaches and a macro analysis of society.

This session explores and problematizes the ways in which the concept of “agency” is used to explain the space of experience in the lived welfare state. We focus on lived institutions, lived institutional care, and encounters between individuals and institutions, ca 1700s–2000s. What do “agency” and “experience” mean in these encounters and how could scholars of the welfare state deal with concepts such as agency, experience, emotions, and subjectivity, among others? How can agency be re-evaluated when moving between different institutional and experiential settings?

Presentation titles:

Pauli Kettunen: The agent called society as a mediator between experiences and expectations – a conceptual history perspective to the making of Nordic welfare states

Jen Rinaldi & Kate Rossiter: Huronia’s Double Bind: How Institutionalization Bears Out on the Body

Helen Johnston: Motherhood and long-term imprisonment in Victorian England: Experience and Agency in female convict prisons

Pirjo Markkola: Lived institutions as an approach to the experience of the welfare state

Click here to read the panelists’ bios.

Tuesday 9 March at 15-17 EET (GMT+2)
Theme 3 – Oral History 

Panel discussion:

Prof. Lynn Abrams, University of Glasgow
Prof. Alessandro Portelli, University of Rome
Prof. Leyla Neyzi, Sabanci University
Dr Kirsi-Maria Hytönen, University of Jyväskylä/HEX

Chair: Dr. Heidi Morrison, Senior Research Fellow, Tampere University/HEX

Granting historical agency to marginalized people was one of the driving forces behind the origins and evolution of the field of oral history.  Recently, however, scholars from various fields have brought attention to some problems with the concept of agency.  The relationship between agency and oral history is particularly important for historians of experience who use oral history as a critical methodological tool. Memories are a way to understand how individuals make sense of their realities, and how these realities are connected to larger structures and ideologies.

This virtual roundtable will be a platform for oral historians to brainstorm together about the continued usefulness or not of the concept of agency to oral history, and the implications of this for historians of experience. The roundtable will include brief opening remarks on the topic by the participants and then open to a discussion of questions (both pre-formulated and audience-generated).   Some of the questions discussed will include:  In what ways has the field of oral history evolved on the western liberal conception of the individual, i.e. that humans exert agency when they exercise free fill?  What are the limitations to thinking about agency from the perspective of individual choice? What are examples of divergent forms of agency in human experience? How can oral historians discern from interviews the ways in which people’s every-day actions operate on the collective level, i.e. the idea that people’s actions are created through situations?  How can an oral historian be sure to not fall into the entitlement trap of using their interviews to “grant” agency to another person or “liberate” marginalized actors from the past? What methodological contributions can historians of experience make to the field of oral history, and vice versa?

Click here to read the panelists’ bios.

Wednesday 10 March at 14-16 EET (GMT+2)
Theme 4 – Childhood and youth

Panel discussion:

Dr Kristine Alexander, University of Lethbridge, Canada
Dr Sarah Duff, Colby College, USA
Prof. Mischa Honeck, Universität Kassel, Germany
Dr Susan Miller, Rutgers University, Camden, USA
Dr Ishita Pande, Queen’s University
Dr Simon Sleight, King’s College, London, England
Dr Karen Vallgårda, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Dr. Ville Vuolanto, Tampere University

Chair: Dr. Stephanie Olsen, Senior Research Fellow, Tampere University/HEX

The history of childhood and youth is a key field where questions of agency should play out. After all, children and youth are among the most marginalized actors because of their minority, and also because of various intersecting categories – class, race, gender, sexuality – which often leave them without a strong say in their own lives. Yet, historians of childhood and youth have been some of the most vocal in articulating a discomfort with the concept of agency. Several key interventions by historians of childhood, including Mona Gleason and Susan Miller, have suggested that agency needs redefining or replacing.  This work has built on seminal interventions by historians of race, slavery and gender in particular.

This roundtable features leading scholars in the field, all of whom have problematized agency in their written work from different angles and national and colonial perspectives. We will point to potential pitfalls of agency from various theoretical, methodological and political perspectives and discuss potential alternative routes out of the “agency trap.” The novel category of experience will figure prominently in theorizing these alternatives.

Focused reading list is found here.

To read the panelists’ bios, please click on the names below:

Dr Kristine Alexander’s bio
Dr Sarah Duff’s bio
Prof Mischa Honeck’s bio
Dr Susan Miller’s bio
Dr Ishita Pande’s bio
Dr Simon Sleight’s bio
Dr Karen Vallgårda’s bio
Dr Ville Vuolanto’s bio


Wednesday 10 March at 16.15-18 EET (GMT+2)

Poster social

Thursday 11 March at 12-14 EET (GMT+2)
Theme 5 – Lived Religion

Panel discussion:

Dr Marjo-Riitta Antikainen, University of Helsinki
Prof. Louise Nyholm Kallestrup, University of Southern Denmark
Dr Sari Katajala-Peltomaa, Tampere University
Prof. Piroska Nagy, Université du Québec à Montréal
Dr Reima Välimäki, University of Turku

Chair: Prof. Raisa Maria Toivo, Tampere University/HEX & Dr. Jenni Kuuliala, Senior Research Fellow, Tampere University/HEX

The question of agency is crucial yet challenging for the study of lived religion. Agency has often been defined in very secular terms, as freedom to behave in any self-willed way, or as individual autonomy. However, as pointed out by scholars such as Phyllis Mack or Jörg Rüpke, within the concept of lived religion the definitions and meanings of agency are much more versatile. As lived religion understands faith not as a theological dogma or a top-down phenomenon but as a sphere where people performed their selves and were in contact with their community members as well as with divine agents, such autonomy is not necessarily a fruitful point of analysis, nor even a possibility. Instead, religious agency always occurs in relation with the spiritual being the person in question wanted to communicate with, and this communication could reinforce or decrease human agency. Simultaneously, the divine agents had agency of their own which was interpreted and responded to by the communities.

This virtual roundtable will discuss the concept of agency within the study of lived religion, from a longue-durée perspective and varying viewpoints to lived religion. We will approach agency and lived religion particularly in the framework of experience, and question the possibilities and pitfalls of the concept.

To read the panelists’ bios, please click on the names below:

Dr Marjo-Riitta Antikainen
Prof. Louise Nyholm Kallestrup
Dr Sari Katajala-Peltomaa
Prof. Piroska Nagy
Dr Reima Välimäki

Thursday 11 March at 14.15-16.15 EET (GMT+2)
Theme 6 – Authenticity

Panel discussion:

Prof. Mark Smith, University of South Carolina
PhD candidate Merve Cigdem Talu, McGill University
PhD candidate Ryan Tristram-Walmsley, Universidade do Porto and the University of Kent

Chair: Dr. Rob Boddice, Senior Research Fellow, Tampere University/HEX

Chris Millard recently opined that ‘our most private inner life, our most potent experiences are always already parsed, structured and interpreted’ in ‘vast intellectual and practical ways’. In this session we aim to drill down to the specific ways in which emotional and sensory experience is ‘parsed, structured and interpreted’ in situated modern historical contexts. The purpose is to grapple with the concept of ‘authenticity’ as both lived experience and as analytical category, which is often bundled with ‘agency’ to emphasise a residual element of the subject that is somehow untouched by pervasive mediating factors. The situated empirical research here shows that the experience of authentic feeling or authentic living, including the feeling of agency, is constructed and mediated by multiple overlapping frames – the built environment; conceptual development and use; political culture and rhetoric; identity, belief and memory – in dynamic relation with body-minds. They also explore how the feeling of authenticity has been denied as part of a politics of exclusion. In turn, the papers probe whether authenticity as an analytical category should be discarded, for there is no level of experience that remains outside of the kinds of cultural mediation here described.

Presentation titles:

Mark Smith: ‘A Walk-on Part in the War’: Reflections on Re-enactment

Ryan Walmsley: Drilling up and down the Union Jack: Authenticity, Britishness and Jamaican education, 1920-1940

Merve Cigdem Talu: Agency mediated through architecture: public spaces and emotions in late-Victorian London

Friday 12 March at 16-18

Closing roundtable

Panel Discussion:

Professor Mona Gleason, University of British Columbia
Professor Piroska Nagy, Université du Québec à Montréal
Dr. Rob Boddice, Senior Research Fellow, Tampere University/HEX
Dr. Hanna Lindberg, Postdoctoral Researcher, Tampere University/HEX

Chair: Dr. Stephanie Olsen, Senior Research Fellow, Tampere University/HEX