[Lingtyp] 2nd CfP: Down by river (Helsinki, 5-7 Nov 2019), deadline extended to 31 May 2019

Olesya Khanina olesya.khanina at gmail.com
Wed Apr 24 12:29:42 UTC 2019

Dear colleagues,

This is the 2nd call for papers I am co-organizing at the University of
Helsinki with my fellow archeologists: “Down by the water:
Interdisciplinary symposium on the role of water transit points in past
societies”, 5-7 Nov 2019. Note that the deadline has been extended to 31
May 2019.

This is planned as a truly interdisciplinary conference where one of the
four sessions will be devoted to linguistic perspectives on waterways. We
welcome papers presenting language facts intrinsically connected to
waterways, such as language dispersal through waterways, language contact
occurring at water crossing points, multilingual areas located along
rivers, etc. The linguistic plenary talk will be delivered by Rik van Gijn,
who combines qualitative and quantitative methods to investigate the
interconnection between river systems and languages of South America.
Together with his colleagues at the University of Zurich, he has proposed
an approach to identify probable pathways of language diffusion along the
Amazon River network, combining ideas from route planning (i.e. looking for
possible routes of linguistic diffusion along the river network) and route
inference (i.e. testing the possible routes against evidence from
linguistic data).

It would be interesting to see how the relevance of waterways to
communities can shape languages they speak, and to present this connection
to colleagues from other disciplines. Likewise, the hope is that linguists
can benefit from a different perspective on the same object that historians
and archeologists will share during this conference. See a detailed call
for papers below.

With best regards,

*Down by the water: Interdisciplinary symposium on the role of water
transit points in past societies*

*Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, Helsinki, 6-8 November, 2019*

Waterways have been key factors in the development of societies from
prehistoric times to nowadays, particularly due to their role as vectors
for cultural interactions, material exchange, and transmission of
knowledge. The fluidity of these highways of transport and communications
is tightly linked to the presence of transit points: spaces with unique
geographical characteristics that acted as nodal points between different
communities. Transit points are thus defined as places of intense social
contacts, putting objects of physical geography into the domain of social
sciences and humanities.

The subject is challenging, as many activities that happen in the aquatic
spaces seldom leave substantial archaeological traces behind due to the
nature of the activities (for example, some actions take place on board
vessels), or the inaccessibility of the archaeological remains (for
example, submerged or silted spaces). In some instances, the location might
have been obscured by lack of remains, but the impact of those interactions
is visible in other ways, such as nautical technology or language exchanges.

Rivers are particularly relevant to language exchanges, as they have been
crucial in defining language contact areas in such diverse parts of the
world as Amazonia, Northern Europe, and Siberia, among others: in some
cases, riverside locations are known to be areas of linguistic similarity
resulting from long-term exchange relations between speakers of unrelated
languages or from a population spread along a river path. In other areas,
riverside locations can be areas of the most linguistic diversity if they
serve as a marketplace to which temporarily gather representatives of the
otherwise geographically distant language communities.

The complex nature of human exchanges in these kinds of locations have
resulted in the need to develop legal frameworks to mediate interactions,
many of which reflect the multiculturality and multi-legality of the actors
involved. Taking all this into account, an interdisciplinary perspective
with a focus on human-environment interactions is necessary. This sort of
approach can help set forth more nuanced theories regarding the relation
between social systems and their environment, using data obtained through
different disciplines such as iconography, law, computer modelling,
ethnography, geography, history, linguistics, environmental sciences, and
so on.

By engaging with interdisciplinary theoretical approaches like the maritime
cultural landscape, boat biographies, or language contact studies,
researchers will be able to recognize the impact of maritime or fluvial
cultures onto their social framework and bring a balance to the narratives
of the past in regions with amphibious landscapes.

This conference seeks to challenge the interaction between models and
particular case studies. To this aim, we would like to invite proposals
from scholars conducting research in different fields whose focus is human
activities in rivers, sea-river, and coastal transit points with a broad
geographic and chronological perspective. With this interdisciplinary
approach, we expect to demonstrate what can be achieved by changing the
research paradigm to one that fully embraces the nuances of the aquatic
world, and specially the intricate connection between water spaces and

Plenary speakers:
Himanshu Prabha Ray (Jawaharlal Nehru University),
Christoph Schäfer (University of Trier),
Rik Van Gijn (University of Zurich),
Crystal El Safadi (University of Southampton)

Suggested topics:

   - Port and harbour communities
   - Trade and economics at transit points
   - Human-environment interactions along waterways
   - Nautical technology and design: exchanges and group identity
   - Linguistic dispersal through waterways
   - Language contact and waterways
   - Multilingualism along major rivers

Prospective presenters are requested to submit an abstract in a .docx file

   - Title of the presentation
   - Name of the presenter
   - Email and affiliation
   - Abstract of no more than 250 words.
   - Keywords

Submission deadline: 30th of April 2019
Submissions should be made to: downbythewater68 at gmail.com
Further inquiries should be made to: Veronica Walker Vadillo at
veronica.walker at helsinki.fi

Organising committee:
Elisabeth Holmqvist-Sipilä, HCAS
Olesya Khanina, HCAS/ Institute of Linguistics, Russian Academy of Sciences
Emilia Mataix Ferrandiz, HCAS
Veronica Walker Vadillo, HCAS

Olesya Khanina
Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies & Institute of Linguistics RAS
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