Fall 2018 Featured Courses

Coming in Fall 2018

Scand St 424/LitTrans 337 – Nineteenth-Century Scandinavian Fiction

Susan Brantly, online, 3 credits


The 19th-Century generated some of Scandinavia’s best-known writers. The course begins with Romanticism and looks at Norwegian folktales, Esaias Tegnér’s popular Viking tale (Frithiof’s Saga), and Hans Christian Andersen’s world-famous stories, to name but a few highlights. From there, we move to the Modern Breakthrough, perhaps the most important period in Scandinavian literary history, during which writers were urged to take up current issues for public debate. Internationally famous Nordic writers did just that in classics such as Ibsen’s A Doll’s House and Strindberg’s The Father. We will trace how these influential social debates about class and gender took literary form. As the century comes to a close, some writers, such as Nobel laureates Knut Hamsun and Selma Lagerlöf, react against the rationality of the Modern Breakthrough by turning to literary Decadence and Neo-Romanticism.

This course on 19th-Century Scandinavian Literature is being taught entirely online. Lecture content is streamed illustrated audio. Students will complete assigned readings, take quizzes and exams, and post to a discussion board. Students taking the class for a 4th credit will write a paper.

Students taking the course as Scand 424, must have some knowledge of a Nordic language. Students taking the course as Lit Trans 337 have no language requirement. Students in their first or second years need only ask permission to register.

Picture Credit: Ibsen Enlightens the World by William Strong (1902)

LitTrans 233 – Russian Life and Culture to 1917

Jennifer Tishler MWF 2:25-3:15 PM

This course presents an introduction to the rich and vibrant culture of Russia—its art and architecture, folklore, literature, music, religious life, and philosophy—from its origins through the beginning of the twentieth century. As we move through nearly one thousand years of Russian civilization, we will pay special attention to such recurring themes as the myth of Russia’s cultural hospitality, the theme of authoritarianism and reactions against authoritarianism, the concept of a Russian “people,” the status of women in Russian society, the views of “outsiders” to Russia, and the acceptance or rejection of cultural values and innovations as “Western” or “Eastern,” “Russian” or “foreign.”

The class will be taught in English. No knowledge of Russian or previous coursework in Russian studies is required!

(Students have the option of enrolling in the course for a 4th credit. Students who take the class for 4 credits will write an additional 10-15 pp. paper and will meet for discussion sections on Tuesdays every two weeks.)

Level: Intermediate

Fulfills: REECAS Group III (Literature & Arts)

Breadth: Humanities

Prerequisites: None

Lebedev’s “Fall of Novgorod.” On display at the Chazen

Lebedev's The Fall of Novgorod.

Tale and Ballad: LitTrans/Medieval/Folklore 345



The genres of ballad and tale, which originate in the distant past, have often been scorned by the literary establishment, but the fact that they survived through centuries of oral transmission until they were finally recorded in the fairly recent past testifies to their lasting existential appeal. The stories these texts tell are dashingly entertaining and often deeply disturbing: they may offer a profoundly fatalistic view of existence, but they may also voice an angry and, at the same time, humorous protest against oppression. When this narrative type was discovered by scholars and the societal elite about 1800, it inspired many first-rank Nordic authors, e.g., Hans Christian Andersen, Henrik Ibsen, Selma Lagerlöf; and in the 20th century it has cast its spell over Isak Dinesen, Villy Sörensen, and Pr Lagerkvist and its influence has moved from literary to other media today. The course examines both the original literature and its modern “imitations” as well as gives an introduction to the critical methodologies that have recently been developed to deal with this seemingly simple, but in reality highly sophisticated, narrative.

Scandinavian Life and Civilization – Scandinavian Studies 276 and 476

Tuesday and Thursday 11-12:15

If you are interested in a lot of different aspects of life in the Scandinavian Countries, this class is for you. Maybe you want to hear about Vikings or Nordic Gods; maybe you are interested in the Politics of the Welfare State and Sustainable Energy; maybe you like Scandinavian Heavy Metal or pop music; maybe you are a fan of Scandinavian Noir – exciting crime stories such as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo or Kierkegaard’s existentialism; maybe you want to learn more about famous plays such as “A Doll’s House” or movies such as “A Man called Ove;” maybe you enjoy Scandinavian artists such a Munch and his painting of “The Scream;” maybe you want to explore the geography or geology of this region – and visit as a student or tourist with a greater knowledge of what you are experiencing.

This class brings in many different speakers / lecturers who are all passionate about their area of expertise and want to share it with you. The class runs twice a week and will have lectures and discussions. If you want to know more, please contact Nete Schmidt, aschmidt2@wisc.edu

See you in the fall!



MTWF 1:20-2:10 – Ewa Miernowska

Emphasis on proficiency in Polish through speaking, understanding, reading, and writing, with introduction to Polish culture. Vocabulary is reinforced through reading of easy texts from Polish press, watching Polish movies and viewing Polish Internet sites. Very engaging and fun class.


MWF  9:55-10:45 – Ewa Miernowska

Students expend their vocabulary by engaging with texts from different genres, historical periods and perspectives. Readings offer a variety of authentic materials: short stories, novels, poems, and press articles. Students discuss movies, explore Polish Internet sites, and are constantly involved in fun activities. Possibility of 16 retrocredits.

 SCAND ST 520/FOLKLORE 530 – The Labor Movement in Nordic American Migration

Marcus Cederström

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:30AM to 10:45AM

“The Labor Movement in Nordic American Migration” will examine how immigrants from Scandinavia and elsewhere took part in the labor movement and other social movements of the early 1900s. We’ll read newspaper reports and academic articles, examine old cartoons, listen to labor songs, and watch documentaries. Doing so will help us understand the history and folklore of the working class in the United States and, as striking teachers make news across the country, examine how the labor movement is not relegated just to the past, but continues to adapt and change today. Finally, we’ll contextualize immigration within historical and contemporary social movements and give you a good idea of the many, often changing, facets of the labor movement while exploring the role you as a folklorist and student can play in documentation, preservation, and presentation.

Feel free to contact Dr. Marcus Cederström (cederstrom@wisc.edu) with any questions!