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SCAND 360 A: Scandinavian Cinema

Meeting Time: 
MW 1:30pm - 3:20pm
MGH 251
Photo of Amanda Doxtater
Amanda Doxtater

Syllabus Description:

NORDIC CINEMA: Swedish Film, Family and The Welfare State

Or…Where is Pippi Longstocking’s family?

In America these days, it’s not uncommon to hear people equate big government with the restriction of individual freedom. However, recent research shows that Sweden—with its strong welfare state and social democracy—is even more individualistic than America. A strong Swedish state, in other words, may do more to protect individual autonomy than a weak one. Some have even argued that one of Sweden’s most famous exports, the ostentatiously “parentless” Pippi Longstocking, embodies the way that the Swedish state protects individuals even from having to rely on their own families for support. At the same time, Swedish social policies are designed precisely to support a version of “family values.” The question, Where the heck is Pippi Longstocking’s family? ultimately turns out to be a complex one.

This course looks at contemporary Swedish cinema in order to grapple with some big questions: how do we understand ourselves as individuals in relation to social institutions like the family; to cultural institutions like cinema; and to political and educational institutions within the (welfare) state? We’ll focus on three recurring figures: “family,” “the autonomous child,” and “home.” We’ll also look at how filmic representations of family contributed to the foundation of the welfare state in Sweden and reflect its current challenges.








Instructor: Amanda Doxtater

Raitt Hall 305 N


Office Hours:  







  • To develop a basic understanding of how the Swedish welfare state came into being and how it influences and incorporates various cultural and social institutions and vice versa
  • To practice close readings of films and film sequences
  • To develop creative and critical thought about “Swedish film culture” through reading, writing, and class discussion.






None (all readings and films will be in English or subtitled) though previous experience with film courses will be helpful.





Reader [R]: A paper copy of the course reader will be available. Ask for the course reader for SCAN 360.  Each text in the reader will also be scanned in on the CANVAS site as well.


OBS! Please bring assigned texts to class every day.


OBS! Included on the course CANVAS page will be background texts on how to read a film as well as a glossary of film-related terminology for reference. We will work through many of these terms in class, but if this happens to be your first film course, it will be helpful to read through these texts on your own. You will not be tested specifically on these texts, but learning the terms will help you to develop a vocabulary with which to analyze film. You will be held accountable for any of these terms that are brought up in lecture.



  • The classroom is a community in which we learn from one another, so please be present, kind, and focused.
  • You may use mobile phones or laptops in class, but if I see your technology distracting other students I will talk to you about it. If you have some obligation outside of class that will require a lot of time on your phone, please just step outside the classroom. You are more than welcome NOT to use technology in the classroom as well. In some cases, it may detract from your own learning. See, for example, “Better Learning through Handwriting” ( or “A Learning Secret: Don’t take notes with a laptop” (




Required films in the course will be available to you to stream on-line under our course site, SCAN 360. Look under PAGES or MODULES.



Web sources (with the exception of academic journals published on-line) are generally superficial and academically suspect. Generally speaking though, books and articles are reviewed by experts, and as such are better sources. Wikipedia is useful for gleaning basic facts, but remember you can view a Wiki before it was properly edited and elicit incorrect information. Use the web with discretion.


OBS!  Nordic National Film Websites (see below) constitute a distinct exception and I encourage you to explore them. Please keep in mind that any resource you glean from these sites definitely still needs to be cited.


Swedish Film Institute:


(Part of an incredible project to digitalize Swedish films, commercials etc.)

Other links to explore:

BUFF, The International Children and Young People´s Film Festival in Malmö.

Film i Väst

Göteborg Film Festival

Ingmar Bergman Foundation

Stockholm Film Festival

Swedish Film Institute

Swedish Filmproducers

Swedish Media Council

Film Censorship in EU (Sweden)

Uppsala International Short Film Festival

University College of Film, Radio, Television and Theatre

Dramatiska institutet (DI)

Danish Film Institute:

Finnish Film Foundation:

Norwegian Film Institute:

Icelandic Film Centre:




Attendance is highly recommended at all lectures. I expect each person to participate in a quarter-long, on-going discussion of the films and the class material. This can take the form of in-class discussion and/or forum discussions online at our course CANVAS site. I will ask you to grade your participation at the end of the term.



10% Participation. 

Please bring at least one question to class every day. I don’t expect you to understand everything you read. I do expect you to put effort in to try to understand things, take notes on the assigned texts (including film texts), and come prepared to discuss the material. I want to hear what you’re thinking about!


15% Summary Posts and Questions on Canvas (best 8)

Due each Wednesday before class. These are weekly responses to assigned readings and screenings. Write at least 100-words responding to readings. Include one main point and one question that the text(s) raise for you. This may also be questions about what you don’t understand. You will responsible for posting at least eight times over the course of the quarter.


20% Reading Quizzes/Collective, In-class Quizzes (Best 10)

Some individual reading quizzes will consist of a few questions designed to gauge whether you have read each assigned text thoroughly and watched each film closely and recently. Other quizzes will be collective in-class activities designed to facilitate discussion of the material. Quizzes cannot be made up if missed.


25% Midterm Exam                                    Monday, February 12th


30% Cumulative Final Exam        Monday, March 12th 2:30-4:20 in MGH 251




Analysis papers, essay questions, and exams for the course will be graded according to the following criteria: organization, argumentative structure (including adequate transitions and meaningful articulations), internal organization of paragraphs, level of historical, philosophical, and/or theoretical reflection and insight, interpretive creativity and precision, definition of terms, clarity of style, correctness and bibliographic references.


A --       Work that, in addition to being well executed and 

                 reasonably free of errors, distinguishes itself through its

                 originality and unusual accomplishment. 


B --        Work that satisfies main criteria of the assignment but

                 lacks the element of distinction that carries the work into the

                 realm of excellence.


C --       Work that demonstrates a rudimentary grasp of the material

                and satisfies at least some of the assigned criteria reasonably well.


D --       Work that demonstrates a poor grasp of the material and/or

                is executed with little regard for college standards, but which

                exhibits some engagement with the material.


F --        Work that is weak in every aspect; satisfies none of the

                assigned criteria.



The University of Washington is a community dedicated to learning. Ethical expectations of students belonging to the community are defined in the student conduct code ( Plagiarism, cheating, and disruptive behavior in class violate the code, and harm your own and others’ learning. Any violations of the code in connection with the course will result in referral to the university administration for appropriate action. If you want to learn more about how to avoid plagiarism, please consult the following resource page on academic honesty, (, or speak to me directly.  



Requests to be excused from class in order to observe religious holidays are welcome and should be made in writing (e-mail is fine) at least 72 hours before the date requested. All tests and assignments missed must be made up within one week.



The University of Washington reaffirms its policy of equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disabled veteran or Vietnam era veteran in accordance with University policy and applicable federal and state statutes and regulations. The University of Washington is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education and employment for individuals with disabilities.  To request disability accommodation in the application process contact the department at (206) 543-0645 or the Disability Services Office at least ten days in advance at: 206.543.6450/V, 206.543.6452/TTY, 206.685.7264 (FAX), or e-mail at















***Readings and screenings are should be completed before class

on the day they are listed.***






W 1/3

Introduction to Course


M 1/8

Historiography of the Welfare State, Class, Labor


Ingeborg Holm (Sjöström, 1913, 96’)

Everlasting Moments (Troell, 2008, 131’)



Childs, “Intro” + “Ch. 9 Socialists, King, Capitalists”

Lundberg, Tydén, “In Search of the Swedish Model”


W 1/10

Guest Lecture:

Anu Partanen, author of “The Nordic Theory of Everything”

[EXTRA CREDIT: Attend lecture Kane 220 @ 7pm + discussion post]




Partanen, Nordic Theory of Everything

Prologue + Chapter 1


M 1/15


Martin Luther King Day


W 1/17

The Autonomous Child Goes to School


Elina as if I Wasn’t There (Härö, 2002, 77’)



Vikman, “Filmguide: Elina as if I wasn’t there”

Berggren, Trädgårdh, “Pippi Longstocking, The Autonomous Child”

(Skim) SFI “Film for Joy and Learning” 9-29

M 1/22

Autonomous Child/Sámi Culture and Swedish Welfare State


Sami Blood (Amanda Kernell, 2016)



Monica Kim Mescei, “Cultural Stereotypes and Negotiations in Sámi Cinema”





W 1/24




Nature and Flight from the Welfare State?






Summer with Monika (Bergman, 1953, 96’)


Hedling, “Ingmar Bergman and Modernity”

Hedling, “Cinema in the Welfare State”


M 1/29

Architecture, Functionalism, and the folkhem (People’s Home)


Kitchen Stories (Hammar, 2003, 92’) [Norway]



Childs, “Ch. 4 Low Cost Housing”

Rudberg, “Building the Utopia of the Everyday”         

Wallenstein, “A Family Affair: Swedish Modernism”

W 1/31


No additional reading.

M 2/5

Feminism and Motherhood, Maternity and the Artist



The Girls (Zetterling, 1968, 100’)



Myrdal, “Goals for a Population Policy”

Hirdman, “The Happy 30s: A Short Story of Social Engineering”

Larsson, “Modernity, Masculinity and the Swedish Welfare State”

W 2/7


No additional reading.

M 2/12



W 2/14

Nostalgic/New Solidarities: Collectivity in the 1970s


Together (Moodysson, 2000, 106’)


M 2/19

NO CLASS: President’s Day


W 2/21

Fatherhood, Gay Marriage and the Suburb


Patrik 1,5 (Lemhagen, 2008, 103’)



Bergman, Hobson “Compulsory fatherhood: the coding of fatherhood in the Swedish welfare state”

Butler, “Is Kinship Always Already Heterosexual?”

M 2/26

Vampires and Globalization in the Welfare State



Let the Right One In (Alfredson, 2008, 115’)



Karlsson, “The Vampire and the Anxieties of a Globalizing Swedish Welfare State”

W 2/28

From Politics of Optimism to Disillusion, Neoliberal Critique


World of Glory (Andersson, 1991, 16’)



Andersson, “The Complex Image”

Lindqvist, “The Art of Not Telling Stories in Nordic Fiction Films”



M 3/5


Precarity and the

Welfare State



Play (Östlund, 2011, 118’)



Doxtater “From Diversity to Precarity”

Various readings re: “What happened last night in Sweden”


W 3/7


Wrap-up and review for final exam


Catalog Description: 
Major Scandinavian films and film directors from the 1920s to the present.
GE Requirements: 
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
January 10, 2018 - 9:33pm