SCANDINAVIAN 75: Literature and Culture of the Nordic World

TuTh 3:30-5 , Wheeler 102. Instructor: Mark Sandberg

Units: 4

L&S Breadth: Historical Studies or Social & Behavioral Sciences

What are Nordic values? The countries of the northern Europe (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) have been caricatured in recent American political discourse as either utopian or dystopian alternatives to American culture (in that we do/don’t want to be “like Sweden” or “like Denmark”). But what are the complex cultural and historical realities that have made the contemporary Nordic region what it is today? Proceeding from three main areas of investigation (sustainable relationships to nature; values of social solidarity; and a progressive view of gender equality), the course traces the ways in which literature, drama, film, folklore, and other forms of humanistic expression have both revealed the pressure points implicit in Nordic values and in some cases contributed to their formation from the eighteenth century to the present day.