SCAND 360 A: Scandinavian Cinema

Autumn 2021
TTh 12:30pm - 2:20pm / CDH 139
Section Type:
Joint Sections:
CMS 320 D
Syllabus Description (from Canvas):

SCAND 360: Scandinavian Cinema explores the films and film cultures of Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Sweden (Scandinavia), as well as the Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania). The course ranges from the early narrative film of 1900s to the present. The course has two aims. First, it seeks to acquaint you with the most important periods, film styles, and films, but also some of the main figures, including Mauritz Stiller, Carl Th. Dreyer, Ingmar Bergman, Lars von Trier, Aki Kaurismäki, and Susanne Bier. Second, it seeks to deepen your knowledge of film history and to teach you to analyze film perceptively and convincingly. Scandinavia and the Baltics have some incredible filmmakers and films, whom you won't forget. Knowing these films and filmmakers will enrich your understanding of cinema viewing, and give you some viewing experiences that will be touchstones for your future. 


There are three specific goals for the course.

  1. Acquire a basic vocabulary of film analysis to sharpen and focus arguments about the films we watch.
  2. Organize your familiarity with the films we watch into historical and comparative categories. In other words, you should know which countries the films come from, who made them, what period they belong to, and what defines that period. On this basis, you should be able to distinguish the films among themselves, and with others outside Scandinavian cinema.
  3. You should be able to write accurately and thoughtfully about these films, and their histories, which you’ll demonstrate through class assignments.  

So what? What is the benefit of knowing about Scandinavian cinema?

  • The course will help you understand and make sense of Scandinavian national cinemas and cultures, giving you understanding of others' ideas, experience and challenges.
  • It will also make you a better viewer of film and television by helping you see how films are put together, and giving you the language to describe and analyze what you’re seeing.
  • The greatest value in the course is that it teaches you to be curious about what you watch, and to develop the analytical reasoning skills to make sense of it. When you notice how something is made, you can ask why certain choices have been made. You can see beyond glossy presentation to generate convincing, evidence-based arguments about what something means. Doing so enriches your life and makes you a better citizen. It also gives you concrete skills you can carry into the workplace: being able to pay attention, notice, describe, reason, analyze and argue is valuable in many (high-paying) jobs. We'll practice that in a challenging and fun class setting.  


All course readings and other material will be available on the course Canvas Page in the modules page.


Here is the scheme I’ll use for calculating your final grade:

  • Class participation 10%
  • Online participation 10%
  • Quizzes 15%
  • Study Questions 15%
  • Mid-Term Group Exam 20%
  • Final Project 30%


Film Viewing: All films are available for viewing as streaming files, linked in the modules for the course. You are expected to view the films before the class, in which they are listed in the syllabus. 

Reading: It is essential that you complete all readings, so that you are ready for discussion of the films and can understand the frame of reference for work in class. You should complete readings listed in the syllabus by the day on which they are entered. Be prepared to discuss and ask questions about the assigned texts in class, online, and in your final paper. The reading material will be part of the quizzes.

Class participation: Participation is based on discussion and participation in in-class. I will evaluate your participation subjectively and on the basis of your participation in class and in the online discussions.

Online Participation: I will post discussion questions about the films and readings, and clips for analysis, in the "Chat" section of Canvas. You may post in response, pose new questions, and discuss with classmates online. The goal is to engaged in discussion at your convenience, to deepen our understanding of the films. You may also start discussions by posting questions or comments to "Chat" in Canvas. Excellent online participation means multiple contributions to discussion every week. NOTE! I expect you to be ethical and respectful in your online discussions for class.

Quizzes: There will be three on-line quizzes given on the films, readings, lectures, and activities. You will take the quizzes online. They will open after our Wed. class meeting, and you will need to complete each quiz by the following Friday morning at 11AM. The quizzes are open book. The quizzes’ closing time is marked in the course schedule. It is your responsibility to take the quiz by the deadline for completion.

Study Questions: You must respond to three study questions listed in the syllabus. Please answer each question with a one- to two-page answer. Study-question responses are due by 11:00AM on the day indicated in the syllabus. You will submit your study questions by uploading them to the Canvas webpage. I do not accept emailed study questions. I grade study questions on a pass/no-credit basis. When no response is submitted, or your answer is poor or careless (<2.6), I award no-credit. To earn a 4.0 for the study questions, you must receive a pass for three study questions; three passes merits a 3.0, one a 2.0 and zero a 0.0.

Mid-Term Group Exam: The mid-term group exam will be taken in groups of 3-4, assigned randomly by 1 week before the exam by me. The exam will include 20 multiple choice questions, and five written questions. You will have a 50-minute period in class to take the exam. You may also opt to take the exam as an individual, but the exam will be difficult. All team members will receive the same grade. I will distribute a study guide 1 week before the exam.    

Final Project: You have two options for the final exam: a paper or an oral exam.

Final paper option: The final paper may be an essay drawing on films and readings from the course, which I will evaluate by the criteria set out below. To receive credit it must be typed, double-spaced, 12 pt. font, with one inch margins, and at least four (4) but no more than five (5) pages in length (not including bibliography (MLA or Chicago Style). The paper will respond to one of several prompts I post on the course website by Wed., Nov., 30th. You must upload the paper to the course’s Canvas website by Tuesday, Dec. 11th at 5PM. You also have the option of completing the paper as a group project, with a maximum of three group members. If your group has two members, the paper must be at least seven (7) pages; if you have three members, the paper must be at least twelve (10) pages. For the group option, all partners receive the same grade.  

Oral exam option: You may complete the final project oral exam. The oral exam is a fifteen minute discussion of a single question, randomly drawn from a list of questions, with extensive follow up by me. The exam begins with the exam taker/s drawing a question randomly from a list of questions distributed to the class at least 10 days before the exam. You will receive 30 minutes to prepare (open book) a 5 min. presentation on the question, after which I will follow up with further questions. You may take the exam alone, or with up to two other people, and you may choose your group members or have me assign you to a group -- your choice. For the group option, everyone receives the same grade. The oral exams will be schedule beginning at 9:30AM on Tues., Dec. 11th. 

Criteria for Evaluation: I will evaluate final-option assignments according to the following questions. You can use this as a checklist to guide your drafting, proofreading, and revision:

  1. Is a clear and rich thesis the basis for the argument?
  2. Are the parts of the argument logically organized both internally and in relation to each other?
  3. Does the project analyze in detail specific examples from the films and/or readings to support the argument?
  4. Does the project use citations from the readings assigned to support and qualify the analysis, and include a bibliography?
  5. Does the argument employ key terms of film analysis in accurate and useful ways?
  6. Is the statement clear and error free?


You may earn a .1 addition to your final  grade by completing an extra-credit activity.  Do so by viewing a film from Scandinavia or one of the Baltic countries and writing a 3-page (minimum) paper about the film. The paper should include a 1-page synopsis and a 2-page critical discussion of the film. The critical discussion may compare the film to class films or in-class discussions, or raise and discuss other critical points or questions about the film. I will distribute a list of suggested films. The paper must be uploaded to Canvas "extra credit" by the last day of class, Dec. 7. 


Land Acknowledgment: The University of Washington acknowledges the Coast Salish peoples of this land, the land which touches the shared waters of all tribes and bands within the Duwamish, Puyallup, Suquamish, Tulalip and Muckleshoot nations.

Pronouns: We share pronouns at the beginning of the class and use the pronouns requested by others,  because we strive to cultivate an inclusive environment where people of all genders feel respected and safe. Being an inclusive community is about what we do, not just what we intend. 

Access and accommodations:  Your experience in this class is important to me. If you have already established accommodations with Disability Resources for Students (DRS), please communicate your approved accommodations to me at your earliest convenience so we can discuss your needs in this course. If you have not yet established services through DRS, but have a temporary health condition or permanent disability that requires accommodations (conditions include but not limited to; mental health, attention-related, learning, vision, hearing, physical or health impacts), you are welcome to contact DRS at 206-543-8924 or or DRS offers resources and coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities and/or temporary health conditions.  Reasonable accommodations are established through an interactive process between you, me, and DRS.  It is the policy and practice of the University of Washington to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law.

Academic integrity: 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. Any violations of the code in connection with the course will result in referral to the university administration for appropriate action. Learn more about how to avoid plagiarism at (, or speak to me directly.  

Grade Error Policy: If you believe an error has affected your grade, you may ask for a change of grade by following the policy below. If you do not follow the policy, I will not consider your request.

  1. Wait at least twenty-four hours, but no more than forty-eight hours from the time you receive the grade to send an email to me with the subject line SCAND CINEMA: GRADE ERROR and a brief statement summarizing the error.
  2. I will reply to your request within 24 hours
Catalog Description:
Major Scandinavian films and film directors from the 1920s to the present.
GE Requirements Met:
Arts and Humanities (A&H)
Last updated:
February 25, 2024 - 4:22 pm