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SCAND 100 A: Introduction to Scandinavian Culture

MW 11:30am - 12:20pm / ECE 105
TTh 11:30am - 12:20pm / ARC 147
Photo of Guntis Smidchens
Guntis Šmidchens

Syllabus Description:

Welcome to SCAND 100: Introduction to Scandinavia!

(See syllabus information below; a Word document copy is attached here

SCAND 100: Introduction to Scandinavia

Spring Quarter 2020.  Taught by Guntis Šmidchens,

Learning Objectives:

  • Encounter the Scandinavian region, 8 countries of North Europe:
    Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway & Sweden;
  • Engage ideas and methods from various disciplinary perspectives:
    political, historical & ethnographic; musical, visual & literary.
  • Master the craft of writing concise, precise interpretive essays about people’s culture and worldviews.

Each week's module will offer a new thematic frame for…

  • several required reading (or listening or viewing) assignments;
  • recorded lectures to help interpret and place those examples in their context;
  • and a variety of supplementary materials (interviews, backstories, analytical frameworks, etc.) offering ideas and examples for further exploration.

Grades are based on weekly essays (250 words), which…

  • summarize the week’s topic and main examples;
  • and interpret: introduce and explain Scandinavians to a reader unfamiliar with the region.

  • Students must also write weekly peer reviews of essays written by classmates
  • Extra credit may be earned by expanding the assigned essays, choosing from a variety of options:

    • analyze required reading in more depth than possible in the 250-word summary;
    • expand ideas on supplementary materials found in the Canvas website;
    • research an outside topic and bring that topic into conversation with the course materials;
    • do a creative response: perform (read out loud) a text; create a work of art, music or literature that responds to examples encountered this week; record a v-blog or podcast related to the week’s topic…
    • other ideas are welcome! Please discuss with the instructor.
  • A final essay (approximately 250 words) will replace the final exam.
    As with the weekly essays, students may also do a final expansion project for extra credit, submitting either new work or a revised and expanded version of earlier work.   

Class meetings (for links to class meetings and recordings, click on Zoom in the left margin):

  • The class meets live (synchronous) twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:30-12:20 Seattle time, for brief lectures and discussion of the week’s topics. These meetings will be recorded and available online.  Students who cannot attend these live meetings are strongly encouraged to participate asynchronously, by posting ideas, questions and comments in the Canvas modules. 
  • The live online classroom is also open for informal “office hours” on Mondays and Wednesdays, 11:30-12:20 Seattle time: Meet here to talk about assignments, ask questions about the class, and discuss any issues related to Scandinavia with the instructor and other students!
  • There will also be some optional live online meetings on Fridays, 11:30-12:20 Seattle time, to informally discuss a variety of topics in greater depth than possible at the regular meetings.

Reading:  (UW Bookstore online, books for SCAND 100

  • Four books are required: (1) Anu Partanen, The Nordic Theory of Everything $16; (2) Greta Thunberg, No One is Too Small to Make a Difference $10; (3) Jānis Joņevs, Doom 94 $20; and (4) Žemaitė, Tofylis $5.
  • Other required readings will be available here on this Canvas website, in the Modules section.  
Catalog Description: 
The Scandinavian experience from the Viking Age to the present day; the background for contemporary Scandinavian democracy, with major emphasis on the cultural, political, and religious development of the Scandinavian countries.
GE Requirements: 
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Last updated: 
December 31, 2019 - 9:22pm