2nd BAAS Conference 2016: Call for Panels and Papers


The Second Baltic Alliance for Asian Studies (BAAS) Conference 2016

Venue: University of Tartu, Estonia

Date: April 7–9th (Thu.-Sat.), 2016

The Baltic Alliance for Asian Studies (BAAS) comprises University departments that teach and research Asian, Middle Eastern and African — commonly called “Oriental” — studies of the three Baltic countries: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Currently BAAS has five member institutions: The Department of Asian Studies, Tallinn University; The Centre for Oriental Studies, University of Tartu; The Department for Asian Studies, University of Latvia; The Centre of Oriental Studies, Vilnius University; The Centre of Asian Studies, Vytautas Magnus University. The First BAAS conference was hosted by Vilnius University from 3–5th April 2014, with the BAAS Charter signed by the representatives of the five member institutions on the final day.

The second BAAS conference will be held at the University of Tartu from the 7–9th April 2016 and organized by the Centre for Oriental Studies. The aim of the conference is to bring together scholars from the Baltic countries and outside for presentation and discussion of various aspects of Asian, Middle Eastern and African cultures and societies. The organizers invite panels and individual papers from various fields of Oriental studies based on original research in specific subjects. (Note: the panelists and presenters must be at least MA holders.) As a special part of the conference poster presentations by students (MA students and PhD candidates) is planned.

We encourage submissions of both region-based and across region studies, including but not limited to the fields:

  • African studies;

  • Central Asian studies;

  • East Asian studies;

  • Middle Eastern studies;

  • South Asian studies;

  • South-East Asian studies;

  • Anthropology, sociology and ethnology;

  • Art and visual culture;

  • Asian manuscripts and art collections in Baltic libraries and museums;

  • East and West: cultural exchange and intercultural dialogue;

  • History and civilization;

  • History of Oriental studies;

  • Linguistics and language studies;

  • Literature and translation studies;

  • Politics and modern society;

  • Religion and philosophy;

  • Traditional knowledge systems.

Panel submissions

We are calling for panel proposals that must include: 1) the full name, affiliation and CV of the panel convener; 2) a working title of the panel; 3) a description of the issues to be addressed by the panel and the rationale for the panel (maximum of 200 words); 4) a list of potential presenters (minimum of three). Each panel proposal must include at least three papers. Panel proposals should be submitted to the BAAS Conference Board Secretary by email (andreas.johandi@gmail.com) by the 31st October, 2015. Conveners of the selected panels will receive feedback via email by the 30th November, 2015. The selected panels will made public by the same date on the conference homepage. Panel conveners may then admit more papers on their own responsibility. The conference secretariat must be informed of the final composition of each panel by the 31st January, 2016.

Please find the Panel Submission Form as Appendix 1 of this letter.

Paper submissions

We are also calling for individual papers. The deadline for submission of individual papers is the 30th November, 2015. Submissions should take the form of abstracts of no more than 300 words and sent to the BAAS Conference Board Secretary via email (andreas.johandi@gmail.com). Submitted papers will be arranged into thematic sections or proposed to be joined with one of the selected panels. Authors will receive feedback via email by the 15th January, 2016.

Please find the Abstract Submission Form for Individual Papers as Appendix 2 of this letter.

Students’ poster presentations

MA students and PhD candidates are called to submit poster presentations in the form of large-format (A1) posters. This offers an opportunity for students to discuss their work and research with an academic audience in an informal way and thus obtain experience performing in a high level academic event. The procedure of the poster presentation will be carried out in the following manner: at the beginning of the poster session, presenters should briefly (2–3 minutes) introduce themselves and their research topic; then interested parties can acquaint themselves with the posters, ask questions and discuss the topics with the presenters who will stand next to their presentations. Organizers of the conference are awaiting the submissions of poster presentations in the form of abstracts of no more than 200 words by the 30th November, 2015. Submissions should be sent to the poster session convener and supervisor Vladimir Sazonov via email (sazonov00@gmail.com). Feedback with more detailed information on the preparation of posters will be given by the 15th January, 2016.

All the scholars, academics and lecturers are kindly asked to encourage their students to participate in the poster session. (A helpful overview about designing posters.)

Funding of the Conference

There is no registration fee. Transportation to and from Tartu is the responsibility of each participant. Accommodation fees for the presenters (including those with poster presentations) and keynote speakers coming from outside Estonia will be covered by the organizers.

Executive Board of the Conference

Märt Läänemets, Chairman of the Board, mart_laanemets@yahoo.com
Vladimir Sazonov, Vice-chairman of the Board, convener and supervisor of the poster presentations, sazonov00@gmail.com
Andreas Johandi, Secretary of the Board, andreas.johandi@gmail.com
Peeter Espak, peeterespak@hotmail.com
Teet Toome, teettoome@yahoo.com
Gao Jingyi, gao.jingyi.phd@gmail.com
Laur Järv, Website Manager, laur.jarv@ut.ee

Conference website: https://balticasianstudies.wordpress.com/

Important Dates

May, 2015 Dispatching of the First Circular, Call for Panels and Papers

31st October, 2015 Deadline for submitting panel proposals

30th November, 2015 Deadline for submitting abstracts for individual papers and poster presentations; the selected panels to be made public

15th January, 2016 Selection of individual papers and poster presentations completed and feedback sent to the authors

31st January, 2016 Formation of panels and section themes completed; dispatching of the Second Circular to all presenters

29th February, 2016 The final Conference program completed; dispatching of the Third Circular with program and conference information to all participants

7–9th April, 2016 The Second Baltic Alliance for Asian Studies (BAAS) Conference in Tartu



International Symposium “Concepts of Human and Humanity in Religions”

University of Tartu
Faculty of Theology
Centre for Oriental Studies, Faculty of Philosophy

International Symposium
Concepts of Human and Humanity in Religions
5–6 December, 2014
Tartu, Jakobi 2 (UT Philosophicum), Room 114


Friday, 5 December

9:30 – 10:00    Registration and morning coffee
10:00 – 10:15    Opening the symposium, welcome address by Prof. Riho Altnurme, Dean of the Faculty of Theology

First session: Concepts of human and humanity in Ancient World and Pre-Columbian America
10:15 – 10:45    Peeter Espak – The chronology of Sumerian myths about the creation of man
10:45 – 11:15    Vladimir Sazonov – Theology of war and divine warfare of the Neo-Assyrian kings Sennacherib and Esarhaddon
11:15 – 11:45    Tarmo Kulmar – Zum Priesterstand, zum Amt des Oberpriesters und zur Priesterfunktion des Kaisers im Inkareich
11:45 – 12:15    Coffee break
12:15 – 12:45    Mait Kõiv – Man, polis, and the gods in the early Greek thought
12:45 – 13:15    Jaan Lahe – Ein Aspekt des Menschenbildes der Antike: Das Schicksal des Menschen nach dem Tod im römischen Mithraskult im Kontext der Philosophie und Religion der römischen Kaiserzeit
13:15 – 15:15    Lunch break

Second session: Concepts of human and humanity in pre-modern India and China
15:15 – 15:45    Agita Baltgalve – Sanskrit mantras as an intermedium between the human and the divine
15:45 – 16:15    Anna Neivirt – Gods and heroes in a South Indian epic (Kāṭamarāju Katha)
16:15 – 16:45    Märt Läänemets – The evolution of the concept of man in the context of creation myth in Indian traditions
16:45 – 17:15    Coffee break
17:15 – 17:45    Margus Ott – Man in early Chinese philosophical thought
17:45 – 18:15    Erki Lind – Being human – a bodily and an ethical concept in Ge Hong’s early medieval Daoism
19:00    Reception in the University Caffé (Ülikooli kohvik), Ülikooli 20

Saturday, 6 December

9:30 – 10:15    Morning coffee

Third session: Concepts of human and humanity in contemporary religious and spiritual practices
10:15 – 10:45    Alar Kilp – The human rights doctrine of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Armenian Apostolic Church and Russian Orthodox Church as means of ecumenical dialogue and international diplomacy in South Caucasian conflicts
10:45 – 11:15    Henn Käärik – Calvin and the Newcomb’s paradox
11:15 – 11:45    Rasa Pranskevičiūtė – Human and nature: Anastasian environmental communalism and nature-based spirituality in the Post-Soviet region
11:45 – 12:15    Coffee break

Fourth session: Concepts of human and humanity in New Testament
12:15 – 12:45    Randar Tasmuth – Humanness of humans and the transformation (from Saulus to Paulus)
12:45 – 13:15    Ain Riistan – Notes about the humanness of Jesus
13:15 – 13:30    Coffee break
13:30 – 14:30    Round table discussion and making conclusions

Presenteers (in alphabetic order)
Agita Baltgalve, Department of Asian Studies, University of Latvia, lecturer
Peeter Espak, Faculty of Theology, University of Tartu, senior researcher
Alar Kilp, Institute of Government and Politics, University of Tartu, chair of comparative politics, lecturer
Tarmo Kulmar, Faculty of Theology, University of Tartu, professor of comparative religion
Mait Kõiv, Institute of History and Archeology, University of Tartu, assistant professor
Henn Käärik, Institute of Social Studies, University of Tartu, assistant professor
Jaan Lahe, The Estonian Institute of Humanities, Tallinn University, assistant professor
Erki Lind, Faculty of Theology, University of Tartu, Ph.D. candidate
Märt Läänemets, Centre for Oriental Studies, University of Tartu, senior researcher
Anna Neivirt, Chair of Eastern Philosophy and Cultures, Faculty of Philosophy, Saint Petersburg State University, lecturer
Margus Ott, The Estonian Institute of Humanities, Tallinn University, lecturer
Rasa Pranskevičiūtė, Department of Sociology, Vitautas Magnus University (Kaunas), researcher
Ain Riistan, Faculty of Theology, University of Tartu, lecturer, researcher
Vladimir Sazonov, Centre for Oriental Studies, University of Tartu / Estonian Defense College, senior researcher
Randar Tasmuth, Institute of Theology of the EELC, Biblical Studies, New Testament, professor

Press release (in Estonian)

Vilnius University Hosted the First Baltic Alliance for Asian Studies Conference

Press release
9 April 2014

On 3–4 April 2014 the first conference of the Baltic Alliance for Asian Studies (BAAS) was held at the Centre of Oriental Studies, Vilnius University. Scholars from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Armenia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the United Kingdom, the Unites States, gathered under 10 panels, presented 50 papers including two keynote addresses by the former Rector of Tallinn University professor Rein Raud representing the University of Helsinki, and professor Viktoria Lysenko from the Institute of Philosophy, Russian Academy of Sciences.

The themes of the panels subsumed a wide range of Asian research conducted at the universities in three Baltic countries. Presentations focused on the poetry and painting under Tang and Song, interpretations and re-interpretations of the Buddhist texts, linguistic traditions and other traditional systems of knoweldge in Asia, identity in arts and visual cultures of Asia, images, perceptions and representations of Asian countries in Europe, contemporary philosophical issues from East Asian perspective, translations and responses of Asian literary texts in the Baltic countries, religious diversity of Turkic speaking peoples in Eastern Europe, Islamic political discourse in Greater Central Asia, anthropological field research from Asia.

Vilnius conference was the closing event of chairmanship of the Alliance by the Centre of Oriental Studies at Vilnius University held since 2013 when the idea of the Alliance was generated. At the meeting of the BAAS Board following the conference, the representatives of five founding institutions signed the Baltic Alliance for Asian Studies Charter and appointed the Centre for Oriental Studies at the Univerity of Tartu the chairing of the Alliance for the next biannual period. At the meeting the future agenda of the Alliance was discussed. There was a mutual agreement that one of the most important aims of the Alliance is to build up a regional competitive research infrastructure in Asian studies in the Baltics. Achievement of this aim obviously requires enhacement of closer cooperation between its stakeholders, including the Universities, policy makers and professional community. The Board also agreed upon having student research section as a part of the Alliance conferences in future.

The Baltic Alliance for Asian Studies is a co-operative framework of institutions (academic institutes, departments, and programmes) in the Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) specializing in Asian studies. The founding institutions of the Alliance are the Departments or Centres of Asian Studies at Tallinn University, University of Latvia, University of Tartu, Vilnius University and Vytautas Magnus University. The Alliance implies the establishment of a coordinated framework for joint planning and for pooling resources in conducting various joint projects. Its purposes comprise fostering interaction between scholars and students active in Asian studies in the Baltic countries; enhancement of high-quality co-operative research; building up a regional competitive research infrastructure in Asian studies; and stimulating international visibility of Asian studies in the Baltic countries. The activities of the Alliance comprise support for research, networks and education; provision of expert information, resources and services; scientific publishing; acquisition of research funding; dissemination of research; academic exchange and networks.

The second Baltic Alliance for Asian Studies conference will be hosted by Tartu University in 2016.