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Get to know our new Norwegian instructor, Andy Meyer!

Submitted by Gregory R Pflaumer on December 9, 2019 - 2:16pm
Andy Meyer making lefse

Please welcome our new Norwegian instructor, Andy Meyer!

Where is home, what is your field of study/expertise, what is your background, etc.

I grew up in northern Iowa, but moved to Seattle in 2004 after finishing college at Luther College in Decorah, IA founded by Norwegians in 1861). My Ph.D. is actually in English (from UW in 2010), where I studied American literature, primarily poetry and poetics, from an ecocritical perspective. Due in large part to my family background, I've studied Norwegian and been interested in Norwegian culture and society for many years, which led to a Fulbright grant there in 2015-16. My interests in Scandinavian language and literature mirror my American interests: I'm drawn to environmental issues and ideas of both environmental and social belonging in literature, with a special affinity for Arctic literature.

What drew you to study your field?

As I mentioned, it was family background that initially drew me to Norwegian—I am a lover of language, and find a lot of joy in speaking the language of my ancestors and relatives. Plus, there's a particular music to the Scandinavian and Nordic languages that I find compelling. Beyond that, Norwegian writers and philosophers, perhaps for unsurprising reasons, given the landscape of their belonging, have long been engaged in questions of nature and environment, so it feels natural for me to follow those lights.

What do you most enjoy about teaching. Why?

Relationships with students are what I find most enjoyable about teaching, but perhaps more quietly exciting is also the experience of discovery that defines our work in any course: I teach in order to help students (and myself!) encounter possibilities that can help imagine and reimagine the world we live in, to make it richer and more humane in any small or large way we can.

What are you currently working on? Research? Writing? 

I'm currently seeking a publisher for my translation of a Norwegian memoir about polar bear hunting in Svalbard (the first woman to do so) and planning my Arctic Literature course that will be offered in Spring. I'm also hoping to start work soon as an editor for a digital Norwegian-English dictionary. Otherwise, I am also assistant editor of The Norwegian American, North America's last and only Norwegian-American newspaper.

What do you enjoy in your free time outside of UW?

In my free time, I like to run, walk (whether in the mountains or the town), canoe, hear and play music (mostly for myself), read, write, and watch films & television

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