Kjerstin Moody ’98Alumni and Faculty

Associate Professor and Department Chair in Scandinavian Studies and Affiliate Faculty in Comparative Literature; Gender, Women and Sexuality Studies; and Environmental Studies

With my primary home in the Department of Scandinavian Studies I teach classes from the introductory to advanced level in English on the contemporary Nordic world and in the Swedish language, ranging from beginning through the advanced level. I enjoy teaching and developing courses that address the many facets, nuances, and complexities of contemporary Scandinavian culture and society. True to the interdisciplinary nature of the field of Scandinavian Studies, my courses consider and question the connections between aesthetics and cultural artifice and the societies and policies that create and cultivate them. I enjoy working with and encouraging students to find the myriad ways that worlds can be opened through the study of foreign languages, literatures, cultures, and the humanities. A number of my courses are crosslisted with Gustavus’s Comparative Literature Program and/or its Program in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies, and/or Environmental Studies. At Gustavus I have been active on a number of standing faculty committees, including the Global Engagement Committee, the Curriculum Committee, and various other campus initiatives including co-chairing the year-long Global Insight program on the Circumpolar Region and Gustavus's Indigenous Relations Working Group. I team teach a study away course in Iceland every fourth January Term and have assisted in varying capacities with Gustavus's biennial Semester in Sweden study away program, one of four possibilities for study away in Sweden available for students at Gustavus. Over my thirteen years at Gustavus it has been a joy and privilege to help facilitate Nordic colleagues' teaching as guest professors in our department to help broaden and diversify our curriculum and to work in various capacities to help keep our current students and our alumni connected to our department, Gustavus, and each other in meaningful ways. 

I received my Ph.D. in Scandinavian Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2010 with my Ph.D. minor, focused on translation and poetics, in Comparative Literature. My publications include an essay on poetic practices of transcending place in Nordic Literature: A Comparative History, an essay on Swedish filmmaker and writer Lukas Moodysson’s long poem Vad gör jag här as well as an excerpt of my translation of the poem in the academic journal Scandinavica, and a review of Agneta Rahikainen’s monograph Kampen om Edith: Biografi och myt om Edith Södergran in Edda. Recent highlights of my scholarship and practice include attendance at Middlebury College's Bread Loaf Translators' Conference in the summer of 2022 and the inclusion of my article on Moodysson's work in a book of critical commentary and interviews in Arrow Films' 2023 box set The Lukas Moodysson Collection. My current research continues to center on Scandinavian, primarily Swedish and Finnish, 20th century and contemporary poetry.

I am grateful for opportunities I have had while at Gustavus to be active in larger scholarly and academic communities including the NEH Summer Seminar "The Centrality of Translation to the Humanities: New Interdisciplinary Scholarship" held at the University of Illinois’s Center for Translation Studies; a five-year term on the MLA’s CLCS (Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies) Nordic Committee; a semester as a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley, in their Department of Scandinavian; and a short but significant stay at Mora Folkhögskola's Skattungbyn course on Organic Farming and Sustainable Living. I'm an active member of the MLA (Modern Language Association), ASTRA (Association of Swedish Teachers and Researchers in America), ALTA (American Literary Translators Association), STINA (Swedish Translators in North America), and SASS (Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study). My research and scholarship has been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Fulbright Foundation, the American-Scandinavian Foundation, the Lois Roth Foundation, the Finlandia Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Education.

I graduated from Gustavus in 1998 with a double major in the Departments of Scandinavian Studies and English. Between undertaking and completing my graduate studies, I worked in a number of fields for which training in the humanities, world languages, literatures, and cultures prepared me well. This work included a variety of positions in book publishing (at literary, trade, regional, and university presses) in Minnesota and Wisconsin; as an intern at a translation agency in Brooklyn, New York; as a transcriber of an oral history project in Windhoek, Namibia; and as a writer and editor at an environmental NGO in Jokkmokk, Sweden.

As a professor in the humanities, I encourage students to honor to their interests and their agency; to seek out classes and work that appeal to and might somehow propel them; to make connections within and across disciplines and cultures; to reflect on our collective world and how they situate themselves in it; to engage and encourage; to consider constellations, boundaries, phenomena; to do, to make, to share, to grow. I love helping students think about and find paths where they can apply what they are learning about our ever-changing world in our ever-changing world in meaningful, articulate, thoughtful, and (com)passionate ways; work in and study of the humanities prepares students to do just that. Our majors in Scandinavian Studies have gone on to careers as human and animal rights lawyers, K-12 teachers, environmental activists, public librarians, epidemiologists, fiber artists, literary translators, biomedical researchers, cultural center directors, electrical engineers, business executives, osteopaths, public historians, journalists, brewmasters, spiritual counselors, logistics managers, and astronomers, to name but a few. It's a joy to work with them at Gustavus.


Ph.D., M.A., Scandinavian Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison; B.A., Scandinavian Studies and English, Gustavus Adolphus College

Courses Taught

Synonym Title Times Taught Terms Taught
SWE-102 Swedish II 13 2023/SP, 2022/SP, 2021/SP, 2020/SP, 2019/SP, 2018/SP, 2015/SP, 2014/SP, 2013/SP, 2012/SP, and 2011/SP
SWE-101 Swedish I 13 2022/FA, 2021/FA, 2020/FA, 2019/FA, 2018/FA, 2016/FA, 2015/FA, 2014/FA, 2013/FA, 2012/FA, 2011/FA, and 2010/FA
SWE-201 Intermediate Swedish I 7 2022/FA, 2020/FA, 2018/FA, 2015/FA, 2013/FA, 2011/FA, and 2010/FA
SCA-100 Scandinavian Life Lab 7 2021/FA, 2020/SP, 2018/SP, 2016/FA, 2014/FA, 2012/FA, and 2010/FA
SCA-100 Intro to Scan Life 7 2021/FA, 2020/SP, 2018/SP, 2016/FA, 2014/FA, 2012/FA, and 2010/FA
SWE-202 Intermediate Swedish II 6 2021/SP, 2016/SP, 2014/SP, 2013/SP, 2012/SP, and 2011/SP
SCA-224 Scand Women Writers 5 2023/SP, 2021/SP, 2019/SP, 2015/FA, and 2013/FA
SCA-344 ST:Nordic Poetry 5 2018/SP, 2016/SP, 2015/SP, 2013/SP, and 2012/SP
FTS-100 FTS:Scandinavian Folk & Fairy 4 2022/FA, 2019/FA, 2018/FA, and 2011/FA
SCA-399 Sr Research Colloquium 3 2023/SP, 2022/SP, and 2021/FA
SWE-301 Conversation and Composition: Swedish Short Story 3 2016/FA, 2014/FA, and 2012/FA
SCA-364 Scandinavian Senses of Place 1 2022/SP
SWE-302 Swedish Poetry & Music 1 2021/FA
SCA-324 Nordic Poetry 1 2020/FA
SCA-211 Scand Social Diversity 1 2020/SP
GEG-152 Iceland Cultr/Landscape 1 2020/JN
SWE-344 ST:Ingmar Bergman 1 2015/SP
SCA-117 Henrik Ibsen 1 2011/SP