Ursula Lindqvist


It is the power of the humanities to connect people--both to our innermost selves and to others who may be very different from us--that compelled me to become a lifelong student of languages, literatures, and cultures. Here at Gustavus, I'm a literature, film, cultural studies, and postcolonial studies scholar specializing in the Nordic and Arctic regions, and I've also taught Swedish language at the college level for two decades. I'm among the core faculty in the college's relatively new Minor in Comparative Literature (my own Ph.D. field) and a new major in Peace, Justice and Conflict Studies. In 2018, I was elected to serve my colleagues on the Faculty Senate and to serve as chair of my home unit, the Department of Scandinavian Studies.

Becoming a college professor was not my original plan. As a child I wanted to become a detective, and eventually I became a journalist, earning bachelor's and master's degrees from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in the early 1990s. I worked as a newspaper reporter in the Arabian Gulf, India, and Central Florida for five years before deciding to change course and pursue graduate study in Comparative Literature, specializing in nationalist cultures, gender, and the poetics of resistance. I chose this field because my favorite courses in college were my comparative literature courses (my undergraduate institution didn't offer Scandinavian Studies).

A dual U.S.-Finnish citizen, I grew up in Los Angeles speaking Swedish at home and spent many childhood summers in Finland’s Swedish-speaking coastal towns with my mother’s family. This led in part to my choice of Scandinavian Studies as one of my own three areas of specialization for my M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Comparative Literature (the others were French and American studies). I conducted part of my dissertation research while a Fulbright Fellow at Uppsala University in Sweden in 2000-01, and in my final year of graduate school I taught as a visiting lecturer in Swedish and Scandinavian at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. After earning my Ph.D. from the University of Oregon in 2005, I held faculty appointments at the University of Colorado at Boulder, UCLA, and Harvard University (where I was Director of Undergraduate Studies for Scandinavian from 2010-2013) before joining the Gustavus faculty in Fall 2013.

Here at Gustavus, I've designed and taught many different Nordic studies courses, some of which also contribute to the curricula of our college's interdisciplinary programs in Peace, Justice, and Conflict studies; Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies; African Studies; and Film and Media Studies. I've also been busy with research and writing, and in 2016, all three of my books appeared in print: Roy Andersson’s Songs from the Second Floor: Contemplating the Art of Existence, a Modern Language Initiative book published in the University of Washington Press' Nordic Film Classics series; A Companion to Nordic Cinema, co-edited with Mette Hjort and published by Wiley-Blackwell; and New Dimensions of Diversity in Nordic Culture and Societyco-edited with Jenny Björklund and published by Cambridge Scholars. (One of our Scandinavian Studies majors, Elizabeth Lutz '15, served as my indispensible copy editing assistant for both edited books.) I've been interviewed about Nordic filmmakers by NPR's Weekend Edition and the New York Times, and in 2015 I was invited as a keynote speaker on Swedish film by the Milwaukee International Film Festival. In January 2021, I moderated a webinar titled "Race in the Colonial Past and Present"featuring Danish-Trinidadian artist Jeannette Ehlers and U.S. Virgin Islands artist La Vaughn Belle, who collaborated on the public statue "I Am Queen Mary" in Copenhagen's warehouse district. I have also served on the Executive Council of the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study (SASS), the largest professional organization in the field, and as president of the Association of Swedish Teachers and Researchers in America (ASTRA).

One of the best things about being part of the Department of Scandinavian Studies is our unique OUT OF SCANDINAVIA Artist in Residence endowed program, which brings an esteemed visitor from the Nordic region to Gustavus for an entire week to interact with our students and perform for a general audience. I've had the privilege of coordinating several of these visits, and the 2016 program--featuring indigenous Sámi musician and activist Sofia Jannok--inspired me to start looking for ways to connect our study of indigenous issues in the classroom to the real people and issues still present here today in the Minnesota River Valley and throughout the Upper Midwest. I've been part of the Indigenous Relations Working Group here at the college that is working toward reconciliation with the indigenous people upon whose land our college stands, and currently I'm working with my colleague Misti Harper in History and our student Academic Assistant, Elizabeth Johnson, on assembling a settler history of the college, including the translation of germane archival records from Swedish into English. Vice President for Mission Katherine Tunheim is overseeing this project. (To learn more about these efforts, or be added to the email list concerning reconciliation group meetings and activities, please contact Chaplain Siri Erickson, the President's advisor on diversity, equity and inclusion.)

STUDENTS: To make a virtual appointment with me, click here. I'm also available to meet with students in person, on a drop-in basis, from 10:30-11:30 a.m. Fridays (except for Friday April 2) in the Center for Inclusive Excellence, aka "The Dive," downstairs in Campus Center.


BS, MS in Journalism, Northwestern University; M.A., Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Graduate Certificate in Women's & Gender Studies, University of Oregon

Courses Taught

SCA-360 (Nordic Colonialisms), SCA-399 (Sr Research Colloquium), and SWE-102 (Swedish II)

Synonym Title Times Taught Terms Taught
SWE-101 Swedish I 8 2020/FA, 2019/FA, 2018/FA, 2016/FA, 2015/FA, 2014/FA, and 2013/FA
SWE-102 Swedish II 5 2020/SP, 2019/SP, 2016/SP, 2015/SP, and 2014/SP
SWE-301 Conversation and Composition: Swedish Short Story 4 2020/FA, 2018/FA, 2015/FA, and 2013/FA
SWE-202 Intermediate Swedish II 3 2020/SP, 2017/SP, and 2015/SP
SWE-201 Intermediate Swedish I 3 2019/FA, 2016/FA, and 2014/FA
SWE-101 Swedish I Lab 2 2020/FA
SCA-334 Nordic Cinema Lab 2 2020/SP and 2017/SP
SCA-334 Nordic Cinema 2 2020/SP and 2017/SP
SCA-360 Nordic Colonialisms 2 2019/SP and 2015/SP
FTS-100 FTS:Nordic Fairy Tales 2 2018/FA and 2015/FA
SWE-344 ST:Poetry and Music 2 2016/SP and 2014/SP
SCA-130 Nordic Theater Travels 1 2020/FA
SCA-211 Scand Social Diversity 1 2016/FA
SCA-250 Crime Fiction 1 2016/SP
SCA-330 Nordic Theatre & Drama 1 2014/FA
SCA-350 Crime Fiction 1 2014/SP
SCA-234 Scandinavian Film Lab 1 2013/FA
SCA-234 Scandinavian Film 1 2013/FA