SCANDINAVIAN R5B, Section 3: Northern Europe & the Globe: Scandinavian Cross-Cultural Encounters from Ibn Fadlan to Isak Dinesen

MWF 8-9 , Dwinelle 228. Instructor: TBA

Units: 4

Academic studies of the past have long been entrenched in the nation-state model ever since the development of nineteenth-century nationalism. In this course, we will examine moments in world history, from the Middle Ages to the present day, without relying on demarcated national spaces. Instead, we will work from a hemispheric perspective to study cross-cultural interactions between Scandinavians and the world beyond Northern Europe. In doing so, students will develop a greater awareness of global connections that have left visible material traces over the past 1000 years. We will explore how Scandinavian people negotiated issues and tensions of race, ethnicity, colonialism, and diasporic migration as well as what it meant to be “Scandinavian” at any given point in history.

These discussions will introduce students to the ways in which scholars ask questions, read and evaluate sources, and develop arguments. While acquiring training in argumentative writing, students will reflect on the cultural impacts of human networks that have transformed societies around the world and continue to do so in our “globalizing” world today. By examining primary sources on Scandinavian travel and cross-cultural interactions on each of the seven continents, this course seeks to challenge students to question what the “global” looks like, not just on a transnational level but also how global connections influence individual lives and local spaces. Our aim is to ultimately develop and improve persuasive writing skills and to think critically about historical studies and their practical applications to our world today.


Textbooks and Course Materials

This course will require a course-reader (TBD).


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.