SCANDINAVIAN R5B, Section 2: Immigrant Song: The Literature of Viking-Age Scandinavian Travel, Exploration, and Settlement

TuTh 8-9:30 , Dwinelle 87. Instructor: Liam Waters

Units: 4

“Only that man who travels widely
and has journeyed a great deal knows
what sort of mind each man has in his control;
he who’s sharp in his wits.”

Hávamál 18 (trans. Carolyne Larrington)


From the shores of Newfoundland to the halls of Byzantium, the history of Scandinavian activity in the Viking-Age is one defined by travel, exploration, and settlement. Whether raiding the shores of Britain and Ireland, settling the fields of Iceland, or traveling by camelback to Baghdad, the range of places journeyed to and activities undertaken by medieval Scandinavian peoples varied substantially. In this course, we will analyze the context and form of medieval texts as well as explore the historical motivations for Viking Age activities during this seminal period of history. In so doing, we will develop critical and analytic thinking skills, hone thesis-writing techniques, and analyze the forms and strategies of compelling writing. Together, we will investigate the interplay between the content, style, and organization in our own writing. Our aim will be to develop and practice reading, critical analysis, and composition with an eye towards academic research. As such, we will discuss the use of secondary sources, citation, and critique.


This course satisfies the second half or the “B” portion of the Reading and Composition requirement.

Prerequisite: Successful completion of the “A” portion of the Reading & Composition requirement or its equivalent. Students may not enroll in nor attend R1B/R5B courses without completing this prerequisite.

Due to the high demand for R&C courses we monitor attendance very carefully. Attendance is mandatory the first two weeks of classes, this includes all enrolled and wait listed students. If you do not attend all classes the first two weeks you may be dropped. If you are attempting to add into this class during weeks 1 and 2 and did not attend the first day, you will be expected to attend all class meetings thereafter and, if space permits, you may be enrolled from the wait list.