Camille Witbeck is Nadia Christensen Scholar for 2020-1. Witbeck is completing her Ph.D. dissertation study, "Dirtying the North: Images of Nordic Trash in Contemporary Film and Visual Culture." Her research has always asked questions about visual media and the environmental humanities, with a special focus on Finnish visual culture. "Dirtying the North" situates itself at the intersection of visual media and the environmental humanities. Western cultural beliefs about trash often come down to its visibility -- people want to remove it from sight -- yet unseen trash still exists and continues to circulate within human and more-than-human networks and ecosystems. The dissertation seeks to make visible hidden connections between the environment, visual culture, and trash. "I wanted to write a dissertation that was something interdisciplinary, rich, layered, relevant, and, hopefully, focused enough," says Camille. The Nadia Christensen Award for Excellent in Nordic Studies recognizes the superb work Camille has done on the project.
The Nadia Christensen Endowment for Excellence in Nordic Studies was created by a gift from the Hognander Foundation of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The endowment honors Dr. Nadia Christensen for her substantial contributions promoting a greater understanding of and appreciation for Nordic cultures. Christensen earned her Ph.D. from the UW Scandinavian Studies Department in 1972, and went on to become one of the foremost translators of Scandinavian literature. By establishing this award, the Hognander Foundation wishes to recognize and encourage students who, like Christensen, demonstrate excellence in Nordic studies and to “recognize and reward outstanding academic performance and or scholarship by an advanced graduate student,” who will be designated as a “Nadia Christensen Scholar.”