The 2019/20 series features the following looks at Nordic culture, science, and history:
Hans Christian Andersen—Fairy Tales and Science Fiction
Marianne Stecher, Professor, Scandinavian Studies, UW
October 10, 7pm
Even in the 1850s, the famous writer of fairy tales looked into the future and imagined life in the next millennium. Andersen was inspired by the latest science, technology, and forms of transportation, and the resulting “futuristic fairy tales,” a kind of science fiction, are both prophetic and fanciful—and not well known by many!
Impact of Climate Change on the Trolls of Norway
David S. Battisti, Professor, Atmospheric Sciences, UW
November 14, 7pm
In this talk we discuss how the climate of Norway will change over the course of the century due to the burning of fossil fuels. We then assess the impact of these changes on two species of . . . trolls . . . that reside in Norway, exploring some novel adaptation and mitigation strategies for preserving the trolls. We focus on these species of trolls because they are a charismatic megafauna, but the methodology used in this talk is relevant for all species, trolls or otherwise.
Ragnarök, Doomsday, and the End of the World (as We Know It)
Lauren Poyer, Lecturer in Scandinavian, UW
December 12, 7pm
What can our medieval sources for Ragnarök tell us about what people in Scandinavia in the Viking Age thought about the end of the world? How did their understanding of the future affect their actions in their present? Was Old Norse religion really just a Doomsday cult?
No lecture in January 2020
Money can’t buy you Hygge
Kristian Næsby, Lecturer in Danish, UW
February 13, 7pm
HYGGE—No other Scandinavian topic has drawn more attention over the last decade. Hundreds of books and articles have been written to explain the quaint combination of coziness, candles, woolen socks and hot chocolate to the American audience. But there is more to hygge than meets the eye. This talk looks beyond the tranquil representation of hygge outside of Denmark to discuss the real pros and cons of this Danish and international sensation.
Tom of Finland—Out of the Shadows into The National Spotlight
Hanna-Ilona Härmävaara, Lecturer in Finnish, UW
March 12, 7pm
Has Tom of Finland become the new Finn Family Moomin Troll? Drawings by the artist Tom of Finland helped empower gay men in the US and around the world, at the same time as homosexuality remained classified as criminal activity and an illness in Finland. Today Tom of Finland’s art has been taken out of the closet and elevated to the national pedestal - but not without the criticism of what looks a lot like exploitation by the nation-state.
Cabin Fever—Crime and Horror in Norway
Ellen Rees, Professor of Literature, University of Oslo
April 9, 7pm
Nearly half of the Norwegian population owns a vacation cabin by the sea or in the mountains or woods. Small wonder, then, that the isolated cabin functions as the “closed room” for crime fiction and the last refuge of the “final girl” in horror films over the last half century. Explore the world of revenant pirate captains, zombified Nazi soldiers, and neurotic urban dwellers who really just want to get away from it all…and end up dead!
Wise Words from Past Generations to the Present—A New Look at North European Proverbs in America
Guntis Smidchens, Professor of Folklore, UW
May 21, 7pm
“Whatever you have in your head, nobody can take from you," is one traditional proverb passed on by a Latvian immigrant to his American-born grandson. Proverbs are a rich form of oral poetry, carrying memories and worldview from generation to generation, across time and great distances, and yet they are also embedded in an individual person's identity. What are the proverbs and wisdom that Nordic and Baltic immigrants have passed on, and what do they tell us about these cultures?
The National Nordic Museum thanks the University of Washington Department of Scandinavian Studies and KUOW for their support of Scandinavian 30. Photo by Jose Manuel Alonso de Caso of the Little Mermaid made available courtesy of Unsplash.