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SCAND 150 A: Norwegian Literary And Cultural History

Meeting Time: 
MW 2:30pm - 4:20pm
MGH 231
Photo of Olivia Gunn
Olivia Noble Gunn

Syllabus Description:

Link to poster file

SCAND 150 – Norwegian Literary and Cultural History – “HUMAN/NATURE”

UW, Fall 2016 • M/W, 2:30 to 4:20 in MGH 231

Professor Olivia Gunn –

Office Hours: Wednesdays 1:00 to 2:20, or by appointment

Elements of this syllabus are subject to change!


Where do culture and the human(e) end, and where does nature begin? “How do people imagine the landscapes they find themselves in? How does the land shape the imaginations of those who dwell in it?” (Barry Lopez, Arctic Dreams, 1986, xxvii)

SCAND 150 introduces students to Norwegian literature and culture by focusing on representations of nature. It is often claimed that Norwegians have a particularly close relationship to the natural world, and that this closeness is expressed in their cultural artifacts (from landscape painting, to literature, film and music) and practices (from outdoor activities, to philosophy, to politics). SCAND 150 investigates this claim while exploring a variety of sources from the modern and postmodern eras.

THEMES: romantic and counter-romantic landscapes (building and critiquing the nation) ; Eros and anxiety in the wild ; exploration and colonization ; indigeneity ; anti-modernity ; cabin culture and the outdoor life ; the cultural history of Norway ; arctic and the far north (Department of Scandinavian Studies 2016-2018 theme)


Available at UW bookstore (if you order online, be sure to get the same edition):

  • Pan by Knut Hamsun (a far north theme text)
  • Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson

Available at Rams Copy Center (4144 University Way NE)

Copy packet containing

  • Excerpt from My Struggle, Book 1 by Karl Ove Knausgård
  • Excerpts from Munch: In his own words by Poul Erik Tøjner
  • When We Dead Awaken, drama in three acts by Henrik Ibsen
  • Excerpts from Farthest North by Fridtjof Nansen (an arctic theme text)
  • Excerpt from The South Pole by Roald Amundsen
  • Excerpts from Ecology for Wisdom by Arne Næss
  • Excerpts from The Sámi People, Traditions in Transition by Veli-Pekka Lehtola (a far north theme text)
  • The Circle of Life by Nils Aslak Valkeapää (a far north theme text)
  • “Musical Style, Ideology, and Mythology in Norwegian Black Metal” by Ross Hagen
  • “Environ-Metal: Where green is the new black” by Blake Skylar

Additional readings, available via UW library or distributed in class

  • “Ecological Institutionalism: Scandinavia and the Greening of Capitalism” by Christine Ingebritsen
  • “Norwegian Cabin Life in Transition” by Gunnar Vittersø
  • “Sustainable Urbanization: Norwegian Cabin Culture in Transition” by Berker and Gansmo


Participation: 15%

Come to class, ask questions, and share your insights. Let me know (by, for example, speaking up, coming to office hours, turning in thoughtful work, chatting before or after class) that you are present and engaged with the material.

Tests: 25%

Three tests (identification and short answer) will assess your engagement with lectures and readings.

Three short papers: 60%

Papers will earn grades of pass or no pass.

LEARNING OUTCOMES (based on Bloom’s taxonomy):

PARTICIPATION: To discover and observe Norwegian artifacts (knowledge)

PARTICIPATION, TESTS, and PAPERS: to discuss and demonstrate understanding of those artifacts (comprehension and application)

TESTS and PAPERS: to recognize, organize, and identify patterns (analysis)

PAPERS: all of the above PLUS to imagine, compare, and assess (synthesis and evaluation)

Policies and Procedures

Papers must be typed and represent sources clearly with in-text citations, footnotes and/or bibliography. Who said it (author’s name), and where can the reader find the source (title and page number, date and publisher)?

ACADEMIC INTEGRITY: Cheating and plagiarism include, but are not limited to:

  • Copying the work of others or allowing others to do your work;
  • Directly quoting the words of others without using quotation marks, indented format, and in-text citations to identify them; or
  • Using sources (published or unpublished) without identifying them; or
  • Paraphrasing materials or borrowing the ideas of others without identifying the sources.

Plagiarizing, or copying and/or using the words or ideas of others without proper acknowledgement, undermines your learning, devalues the degree that you are seeking, and will result in failure of the assignment. Acknowledge and/or cite every single source that you consider when producing assignments. Over-citing is better than under-citing! If you need help understanding and avoiding plagiarism, come talk to me.

Late assignments will NOT be accepted (except in cases of emergency or illness, to be considered on a case by case basis).

Please respect yourself and others.

  • You are more than welcome to email me with well-considered questions and to come by during office hours or to make an appointment during another time. Please allow at least 24 hours for a response to emails.
  • My office is an LGBTQ friendly place.
  • The classroom is a community in which we learn from one another, so please be present, kind, and focused.
  • Do not use mobile phones or laptops in class, as it distracts me and other students. In some cases, it can detract from your own learning. See, for example, “Better Learning through Handwriting” ( or “A Learning Secret: Don’t take notes with a laptop” (

 See the calendar in a PDF version of the syllabus, available under Files


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Catalog Description: 
A survey of Norwegian literary and cultural history from the Vikings to the present. Authors read include Bjornson, Ibsen, Hamsun, and Roolvaag.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
October 5, 2016 - 9:17pm