Verena Höfig’s research focuses on the intersection of literature, material culture, and social history in Scandinavia from the Viking Age until today. Her dissertation “Finding a Founding Father: Memory, Identity, and the Icelandic landnám” examines representations of the figure of the first Icelander, Ingólfur Arnarson, in the context of (national) identity and memory formation from the first literary texts in the vernacular to the present. Past projects and publications have explored the political history of early Iceland in the context of overseas migration, discussed the sagas as frontier narratives, or focused on the representation of birds, horses, squirrels, and other animals in Old Norse material and textual culture. Her two current projects explore healing and obstetrics in the pre-Christian North, and the signifying potential of thrones, chairs, and high-seats-pillars.
At UC-Berkeley, Verena has taught Swedish language courses (beginning and intermediate level), graduate-level Old Norse, and composition courses on topics ranging from modern Swedish to medieval Scandinavian culture (history, archaeology, sagas, and the modern reception of Vikings), including links between Medieval German and Scandinavian literature.