Zachary Blinkinsop

A Third Culture Kid and Air Force brat who grew up in Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom, Zachary’s academic engagement with literature is tied closely to his interest in national identity.

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Benjamin Bigelow

Ben’s interest in Scandinavian literature can be traced to a well-worn copy of Knut Hamsun’s Pan that he purchased on a whim at a used book store in Risør, Norway in 2003, which he subsequently devoured on a train ride that same evening. » read more »

Erik Schjeide

Erik began his exploration of Scandinavian culture while studying furniture making in Norway. He earned Norwegian journeyman’s papers and a håndverksbrev as he worked in shops in Norway and Germany. Erik set up workshops in California and Oregon, and he has designed and made custom furniture for many years. » read more »

Molly Jacobs

Molly Jacobs is interested in the interaction of literature, culture, and identity in the Middle Ages, in particular the transmission and adaptation of texts and ideas between Scandinavia and Christian Europe. Her dissertation, “’A Most Splendid Tree’: Hákon Hákonarson and the Norwegian Royal Court as a Site of Literary Production,” examined the development of the concept of the royal court in native and translated literature during a crucial period of Norwegian state formation. Other research has dealt with vision and the senses, gender, female sanctity, and representations of Vikings in modern media. Her current project looks at Marian devotion and theology in Iceland, particularly as expressed through skaldic poetry.

Jacobs has taught the upper-division Viking and Medieval Scandinavia course at Berkeley, as well as composition courses on a variety of topics, including heroic and legendary literature, medieval romance in Scandinavia, outlaws in Old Norse and Middle English literature, and fantastic voyages in texts spanning the medieval through contemporary periods.

Verena Höfig

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.

Lotta Weckström

Lotta Weckström’s research interest centers on sociolinguistics, social anthropology and the subjective, yet often shared, experience of migration, alternative narratives, digital humanities, ethnographic research, and oral histories. In her work, she combines sociolinguistics, rhetoric and argumentation and the study of migration in interdisciplinary projects. For her dissertation she worked with young people with Finnish background in Sweden focusing on cultural heritage, language use and feelings of national belonging. Her research specialties are linguistic minorities, migrant women in post-war Europe, and migration in all its manifestations.

Weckström is an experienced instructor, she has taught university level courses in her native Finland, in Germany, the Netherlands and in the US. She makes creative use of new classroom technology and aims to design the courses in a manner that involves students actively in the learning process. She is also a language instructor for Finnish as a second language and, in addition, teaches German language courses.

She works currently as a lecturer at Department of Scandinavian teaching courses in Finnish culture and history.


Representations of Finnishness in Sweden. Studia Fennica. Linguistica, Finnish Literature Society, Helsinki. 2011. 173 pages.

Suomalaisuus on kuin vahakangas. Ruotsinsuomalaiset nuoret kertovat suomalaisuudestaan. Tutkimuksia A36. Siirtolaisuusinstituutti & Sverigefinnarnas Arkiv, Stockholm. 2011. 160 pages. (Finnishness is like a washcloth — Young Sweden Finns talk about Finnishness).

Linda H. Rugg

Professor Rugg’s research has long focused on issues related to self-construction and self-representation, particularly in textual autobiography and visual media. Authorship is another strong allied research interest, with special attention to the authorships and authorial personae of August Strindberg, Mark Twain, Ingmar Bergman, and a range of art cinema directors who perform as authors. In addition to her interest in autobiographical studies, Rugg has drawn inspiration for her research from two of the courses she teaches: “Ecology and Culture in Scandinavia” and “Hyperwhite: Policing the Boundaries of Whiteness in American Literature and Film.” The ecology course led to an exploration of the Scandinavian ecological subject in literature, art, and film, while the hyperwhite course (based originally on American culture) developed into a study of whiteness and race as represented in Nordic literature, film, and visual arts. She is working on articles and book projects in both of these fields. Rugg has been active as a translator of critical essays and literature from both Swedish and German into English. She enjoys lecturing and teaching in the broader community, both in individual presentations at diverse venues and through the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University. She has served as a consultant on the Environmental Humanities to Sweden’s Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research (MISTRA). For five years she acted as a member of the Modern Language Association’s Executive Division Committee for Autobiography, Biography, and Life-Writing, and she has also served as a member of the Executive Board for the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study. She is on the editorial board for Samlaren: Tidskrift för forskning om svensk och annan nordisk litteratur (Journal for the Study of Swedish and Other Nordic Literature.” She is a co-editor with colleague Professor Sanders for the third volume of the ICLA project, A Comparative History of Nordic Literary Cultures.


Self-Projection: The Director’s Image in Art Cinema, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2014.

Picturing Ourselves: Photography and Autobiography (1997) University of Chicago Press. 286 pages, 38 illustrations.


Karen Møller

Karen Møller directs the Scandinavian Languages program and mentors the Graduate Student Instructors who teach Scandinavian-language courses. She teaches all levels of Danish language classes and courses in Nordic philology, foreign-language pedagogy, Scandinavian emigration and inter-Nordic communication. Her interests are focused on foreign-language teaching and learning, especially related to Less Commonly Taught Languages (LCTL). Throughout her career Møller has been devoted to developing her teaching and teacher training to encompass effective new approaches promoting language learning. She has previously worked on introducing Readers Theater and implemented Watcyn-Jones’ Pair Work theory; more recently, she has adapted Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) for the foreign Language classroom and explored the benefits for language teaching in a Flipped Classroom. She was part of a pioneering team to develop an online and synchronous Distance Learning Program, which shares language classes between all ten UC campuses, a topic on which she gives workshops and presentations. Møller has served as Academic Coordinator with the Berkeley Language Center (BLC) from 1992-1997 under Claire Kramsch as Director, and she has since 1996 served as Faculty interviewer and Mentor for the Regents’ and Chancellor’s Scholarship (under CUSH).

John Lindow

Professor Lindow’s research focuses on two areas. Within the Old Norse-Icelandic literary tradition, he is particularly interested in myth and religion and the texts and genres that reflect them. In his research on the folklore of northern Europe, Lindow has specialized in the stories of the rural countryside, from Greenland to Karelia. Common to his research in both areas is an attempt to understand how texts function, both internally and in their greater literary and cultural contexts, with the concept of “culture” understood broadly. His current major project, undertaken cooperatively with a number of international scholars, involves a multi-volume presentation of current thinking about pre-Christian religion of the North, using not only the textual evidence but also archaeological and comparative evidence. Lindow has taught as a Fulbright lecturer at the University of Iceland and held a research appointment at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in Uppsala.


Comitatus, Individual and Honor: Studies in North Germanic Institutional Vocabulary. University of California Publications in Linguistics, 83. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1976.

Swedish Legends and Folktales. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1978.

Old Norse-Icelandic Literature: A Critical Guide. Ed. with Carol Clover. Cornell Univ. Press, 1985. Rpt. University of Toronto Press, 2005.

Structure and Meaning in Old Norse Literature: New Approaches to Textual Analysis and Literary Criticism. Ed. John Lindow, Lars Lönnroth and Gerd Wolfgang Weber. Viking Series, 3. Odense: Odense University Press, 1986.

Scandinavian Mythology: An Annotated Bibliography. Garland Folklore Bibliographies, 13; Garland Reference Library of the Humanities, 393. New York and London: Garland Publishing, 1988.

Murder and Vengeance Among the Gods: Baldr in Scandinavian Mythology. FF Communications, 262. Helsinki: Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia, 1997.

Medieval Folklore: An Encyclopedia of Myths, Legends, Tales, Beliefs, and Customs. Ed. Carl Lindahl, John McNamara, and John Lindow. ABC Clio, 2000. Also Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 2002.

Norse Mythology: A Guide to the Gods, Heroes, Rituals, and Beliefs. Oxford etc.: Oxford Univ. Press, 2002.

Trolls: An Unnatural History. London: Reaktion Books, 2014.



Kate Heslop

Professor Heslop’s research centres on Old Norse textual culture, especially skaldic and eddic poetry, the sagas and the heroic tradition. » read more »