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SCAND 345 A: Baltic Cultures

Meeting Time: 
TTh 12:30pm - 2:20pm
SMI 107
Joint Sections: 
JSIS A 345 A
Photo of Guntis Smidchens
Guntis Šmidchens

Syllabus Description:

JSIS A 345 / SCAND 345: Baltic Cultures (VLPA/I&S)

Instructor: Guntis Šmidchens,

Class meets Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:30-2:20 in Smith Hall 107

This course gives a broad introduction to the cultures of the Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians.  Baltic folklore, literature, music and film will be studied in its historical context, exploring the relation between people and culture in the Baltic countries.

Special events planned for fall quarter 2018 include

Course Objectives

  • Read three books by Baltic authors (Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian)
  • Read and discuss selected songs, poems and stories, listen to music, see pictures and videos created by people in the Baltic
  • Investigate connections between these works and people in the Baltic: How are they related to history and identity?
  • Develop skills to interpret, critique and perform literature and art

Required Readings

  • Nora Ikstena, Soviet Milk (2015, translated 2018)
  • Andrus Kivirähk, The Man Who Spoke Snakish (2007, translated 2015)
  • Žemaitė, Tofylis, or The Marriage of Zosė (1897, translated 2018)
  • Selected readings and films posted on Canvas website


  • 40% Four take-home exam essays about assigned readings
  • 10% Final Exam/Literary Slam: Read/Perform a work of Baltic Culture!
  • 30% Point person/discussion starter for assigned readings
  • 20% Independent reading/film essay

Copy of paper syllabus handed out in class. Please see "Discussions" page on this website for reading assignments, links, and updated information. 

Please send questions to

Catalog Description: 
Cultures and peoples of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Baltic literature, music, art, and film in social and historical context. Traditional contacts with Scandinavia and Central and East Europe. Offered: jointly with JSIS A 345.
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
October 17, 2018 - 9:24pm