Appearances of the Political and the NSU

So I’m attending the Nordic Summer University conference this week in Orivesi, Finland, and presented my paper entitled ”The Berlin Wall as a Heterotopian Site – Reflections on the Topology of the Wall as a Tourist Landmark” here yesterday afternoon.

The presentation sparked an intriguing conversation on spatial aesthetics, and I’m happy to be here, as I got very nice feedback on my paper.

The Nordic Summer University, or NSU for short, is a nomadic network for interdisciplinary research, operating in the Nordic and Baltic region.

The summer conferences have been organized ever since the 1950’s, and this organization is the oldest academic, independent co-operation body in the Nordic countries.

At the NSU website, this organization’s mission is currently described as follows, “The NSU fundamentally operates as a generator of ideas. It seeks to develop scholarly and innovative initiatives by building international networks and communities engaged in cross-disciplinary research enquiries and critical thinking. The NSU gives priority to topical subjects of study that are often on the margins of disciplinary boundaries not already established at the universities.”

I attended the winter session of NSU in Oslo last year, and enjoyed the conference as well as visiting Norway. When I got the CFP for this conference by email, I couldn’t resist but to send a proposal for a paper. And I’m really glad I did that, as I got accepted into the “Appearances of the Political” study circle.

The NSU is currently operating 8 thematic study circles, each with the running period of 3 years. As for the “Appearances of the Political” study circle, this is the second session. The circle will convene for another 4 times, 2 times in the winter, 2 times in the summer.

Approximately 120 people from 20 different countries are attending the summer conference this year.

In the “Appearances of the Political” study circle, we have been given presentations on very diverse topics, such as on the aesthetics of yoga, on fashion in relation to politics, on the Estonian “Singing Revolution”, and on feminist literature. There are also artistic activities happening at the premises of the Orivesi Folk High School, and the official program includes a visit to either Tampere or the Mänttä Art Festival.

The keynote speakers of the conference this year are Elizabeth Povinelli and Robert Pfaller.

As I’ve enjoyed my time here, I’m very much looking forward to attending the next winter session too!

Find out more about the NSU by visiting

You can also find the abstracts of the presentations given online. I have also published my full paper at the website, just click on the link below for the PDF.