NORWEGIAN LITERARY AND CULTURAL HISTORY
Winter Quarter 2016
5 credits VLPA
Professor Terje Leiren
Office: RAI 305U (Raitt Hall)
Office Hours: T 10-11 am and by appointment
This course is a basic introduction to the cultural history of Norway from the Viking Age to the present day with emphasis on the period since 1800. We will be introduced to the lives and works of some of the major figures in Norwegian cultural and political history as well as aspects of the lives of ordinary Norwegians.
This course has basically two learning objectives: to develop a fundamental knowledge of Norwegian culture and historical traditions and to develop a critical understanding of the history of Norway. This will be done primarily through lectures and discussion centered around readings relevant to the topic. Studietns should be able to understand and discuss various aspects of Norwegian culture that are unique as well as those things which might be shared with other peoples and cultures.
Exams and Grades:
There will be two short-essay exams based on assigned readings and class lectures. Exams are scheduled during the fifth and tenth weeks of the quarter. Each exam will constitute forty (40) percent of the final grade. In addition to the exams, two 3-page response papers, each related to one of the course topics, will constitute twenty (20) percent of the final grade. One paper will be due at the end of the fourth week, the other at the end of week nine.
Text: Margaret O'Leary, Culture and Customs of Norway
Additional readings will include handouts distributed during class
Weeks 1-2: Norway. The Land, people and politics. Overview of Norwegian history
Read: O'Leary, chapters 1-2
Weeks 3-4: Religion and Thought: Norse Paganism, Catholic Middle Ages, Lutheranism established
Read: O'Leary, chapters 3-4
Week 5: Holidays and Leisure Activities - Skiing in Norwegian literary and cultural traditions
Read: O'Leary, chapters 5-6; John Weinstock, "Skiing in Literature" (handout)
Weeks 6-8: Languages, Literary Traditions, Major Figures
Read: O'Leary, chapter 7
Week 9: Media, Cinema, Performing Arts
Read: O'Leary, chapters 8-9
Week 10: Old and New-Art and Architecture
Read: O'Leary, chapter 10
Additional readings relating to the topics above will be assigned and distributed as handouts during the quarter.