In recent years, the concept of space has started to regain a central position in historical and literary research. Evidence of this can be found in the increasing interest in the exploration of the material reality of space, but also, and perhaps more importantly, in its cultural and communicational construction as a network of symbols and signs. The effects of such « imagined geographies » are perceivable on different levels and affect not only the physical construction of space (monuments, buildings, « visible » borders, etc.) but also its cognitive interpretation as expressed in a wide range of political, touristic, aesthetic, and economic projects and aspirations. Subsequently, it is evident that a geographical approach to research on space and territory cannot be secluded to one discipline only – it must result from a pluralistic approach of literary analysis, historical methods, art and architectural histories, and even political and cognitivist theories.

This journée d’études will explore these multidisciplinary evolutions in the North – the geographic region of Northern Europe, including Scandinavia, the Dutch-speaking regions, the entire North Sea, and the Baltic Sea countries. Among the possible approaches to the theme of this colloquium are: the exploration of the relation between spaces and texts; the comparison between two or more geographic areas; specific case studies on the conceptualisation of space in Northern Europe; significant practices of space construction and management, etc.

The colloquium will be held at the BNU (National and University Library) in Strasbourg on 22-23 March 2019. Then, from 17 Mai 20 October 2019, the BNU will proudly present Hors du monde : la carte et l’imaginaire (Outside the world: maps and imaginary), a large exhibition exploring the links between geography and its symbolic construction. Both the colloquium and the exhibition take place in the framework of the Strasbourg research project on « Cultural Circulation of the Mythèmes of the North », which has been active since 2016.