SCANDINAVIAN 132: Introduction to Finnish Culture and History

TT 12:30-2 , 234 Dwinelle. Instructor: Lotta Weckstrom

Units: 4

L&S Breadth: Historical Studies OR Arts & Literature

Finland today is a technologically advanced welfare state that boasts significant cultural achievements in spite of its small population. In recent years especially its top ranking educational systems has drawn worldwide attention.  In many ways a typical Nordic country in terms of social structure, politics, and lifestyle, Finland has also retained a somewhat exotic image abroad, partly because of its unique language (which is not related to the Scandinavian or Slavic languages), its geographical location between East and West, its fascinating national epic the Kalevala, and such modern curiosities as the Finnish tango, the sport of wife-carrying, and heavy metal played on cellos. Beginning with an overview of Finland’s history, we will explore a variety of cultural expressions such as literature, folklore, music, art, architecture, film, and popular culture. We will also examine the issue of national identity – what elements make up this identity, where did they come from, and how have they changed over time?

Texts: TBA

Prerequisites: None. Taught in English; readings in English.