Nordic Studies: Jackson Crawford, “Keeping Vikings Real in the Public Eye”

Vikings and Norse mythology have never been more popular than now, with the blockbuster success of the Vikings television series, the movie Frozen, and numerous fantasy series that draw heavily on medieval Scandinavia for inspiration. This degree of exposure presents a great opportunity for academic experts to spread information about their subject, but in the internet age there are old and new challenges to making sure that this information reaches its audience in a form that is both correct and engaging.

Jackson Crawford, a lecturer in UC Berkeley’s Department of Scandinavian, has been on the frontlines of these developments. While teaching Norse myth, Vikings, and Old Norse at UCLA for many years, he had the opportunity to serve as Scandinavian consultant to the makers of Disney’s Frozen, and he has also published a contemporary translation of the original Norse myths intended for a general audience.

In this talk, Dr. Crawford will discuss some of the surprising ways information and disinformation travel on the web, and some of the process that goes into Hollywood’s decisions about historical and cultural accuracy. Along the way, as a successful instructor and engaged internet citizen himself, Crawford will explore some of the implications this has for teaching similar subject matter in the classroom.

Presented by the Nordic Studies Program, Institute of European Studies.

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