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CfA: Flourishing Then & Now

By February 27, 2024March 6th, 2024No Comments

Flourishing: Then & Now: A Europaeum Medieval-Modern Forum

University of Helsinki 24–27 June 2024

Flourishing is a fundamental goal of human existence. Yet it has never been simple. We can isolate components that contribute to it: happiness, virtue, community, meaning, purpose, etc. But where do their boundaries lie and what balance should we seek to strike between them? Does each individual have to revisit the formula for flourishing and find a version of it that works for them or would they do better to draw on the wisdom of ages? Flourishing, however important, can also seem harder than ever today in an age of war, climate emergency and other global challenges. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals seem perennially out of reach and ever more pressing questions about equitable access to resources for humans and other species are raised all the time by contemporary social justice movements.

This Europaeum Medieval-Modern Forum addresses these concerns through fresh scrutiny of the debates engaged in time-honoured and/or forgotten sources. Medieval thinkers – Christian, Jewish, and Islamic – all had much to say about the good life and the sating of the soul. Their visions were expressed and refined across literary genres, visual cultures, and civic or ecclesiastical institutions. This forum aims to understand (1) how medieval sources theorised flourishing, and how their theorisations related to those of other traditions in the Middle Ages and in Antiquity; (2) how theories of flourishing were translated across different domains such as literature, art, culture, ideas, social practices, institutions, or environments, fostering well-being of persons, communities, or nature.

Above all, the Forum seeks to generate a dialogue between those pre-modern sources and modern problems that will allow us to apply new insights to our own contemporary debates, including policy debates, about well-being and our capacities for self-improvement and development. It will bring together master’s and doctoral researchers in Humanities and Social Sciences subjects who have a particular interest in medieval perspectives.

We invite applications from master’s and doctoral candidates at Europaeum member universities who wish either just to join the discussions or to present a 15-minute paper based on their research. We especially welcome proposals for papers engaging the following fields:

  • Health & Medical Humanities
  • History & Heritage Studies
  • Law & Policy Studies
  • Literature
  • Psychology
  • Philosophy & Theology

Participants will join lively working groups during the event and hear from experts in their field from the University of Helsinki and beyond. Those not presenting a paper will be allocated a role as discussant to kick-start Q&A sessions following on from presentations. Successful applicants will be provided with free accommodation and reimbursed reasonable travel expenses. Please note, for this event this may be in a shared twin room.

Applications should include the Europaeum application form, a brief CV, a statement of purpose (up to 500 words), and a reference letter from their supervisor or academic advisor. Those who wish to submit a paper should also add a short abstract of the proposed paper (up to 500 words).

For more information about how to apply visit the events and activities page.

Click here for General Guidance for Applicants.

Click here for the Rules for Participating in Europaeum events.

Deadline for submission of applications and abstracts: 25 March 2024.

All submissions should be sent to