The co-operation of the network goes back to 2006 when the founding members of the network started to prepare a joint full-day session "Encountering foreign worlds – experiences at home and abroad" for the 26th Nordic Congress of Historians in Reykjavik. The conference took place in August 2007 and the proceedings of the session were published in the series Ritsafn Sagnfræðistofnunar (Reykjavik 2007, ISBN 978-9979-54-755-6).

In December 2009, the group published its second book, Nordic Perspectives on Encountering Foreignness (ed. by Anne Folke Henningsen, Leila Koivunen and Taina Syrjämaa, Histories 1, General History, University of Turku, ISBN 978-951-29-4161-2). This anthology consists of seven articles by members of the research network. The book is also available electronically.


The network has organized three exploratory workshops in 2008 and 2009 in Turku, Finland. The workshop discussions focused, on one hand, on such groups as Nordic merchants, seamen, colonial officials, and immigrants in order to explore how individuals experience being foreign and how the societies around them have handled their foreignness. On the other hand, the discussion widened to include such encounters which took place in one’s own country, for example, in exhibitions.

Three keynotes were invited to the workshops:

Prof. Amanda Vickery (Royal Holloway, University of London): Interiors:  Love, Power and Houses in Eighteenth-Century England (5.3.2009)

Prof. Benjamin Schmidt (University of Washington, Department of History): Foreignness, Difference, and the Concept of 'Exoticism' in Early Modern Europe (22.10.2009)

Prof. Annie E. Coombes (School of History of Art, Film and Visual Media, Birkbeck College, University of London): Foreign Bodies: Familiarising the Unfamiliar in Memorial Practices in Post-Apartheid South Africa (23.10.2009)

Other activities

Seminar on Exhibitions as Sites of Cultural Diversity, 18.-19.11.2010

"The Call of Authenticity" session in the European Social Science History Conference, Ghent, April 2010

"Exhibitions, Shows, and Fairs: Temporary Aspects of Urban Culture" session in the 10th Conference on European Urban History, Ghent, September 2010