Gothenburg, Sweden, was the site for the 30th congress of Nordic Historians and assembled well over 500 participants. The key concepts for the conference were “global and local”. The congress theme emphasized that connections have always existed and still exist between the global and the local, and how these have influenced and keep influencing each other. Keynote speakers for the conference were Professor Maya Jasanoff, Harvard University (USA) and Professor Poul Holm, Trinity College Dublin (Ireland).
The program included a round-table discussion on Laestadianism arranged by the LaBo-project: «’…making disciples of all nationsʼ. A global message from the wilderness of Lappmarken». Four contributors discussed Laestadianism in the light of the conference theme: Teija Rantala from The University of Turku, Roald E. Kristiansen, emeritus from The University of Tromsø, Juoko Talonen, emeritus from The University of Helsinki, and Bengt-Ove Andreassen from The University of Tromsø. The session was led by Rolf Inge Larsen, University of Tromsø, and a solid group of listeners witnessed and participated in the session.
In his contribution, Talonen focused on how Laestadianism has been influenced by its social and cultural environments: what is the relevance of Laestadius to believers in countries like Rwanda or Equador? Rantala has in her research work focused on how young Laestadian women has related to gender roles, human freedom and reproductive rights, and she related such issues to the conference theme. Kristiansen discussed shifting Laestadian views on the organization of the movement as it was transferred from Northern Europe to North America at the end of the 19th century, while Andreassen took his point of departure in the Alta Laestadian group who have strong ties to both Finnish and North American sister congregations, while at the same time express little interest in Laestadian history and theology.
From left: Teija Rantala, Roald Kristiansen, Juoko Talonen and Bengt-Ove Andreassen.