General Information About the Department

Mission Statement

The Department of Scandinavian Studies explores the Nordic countries’ cultures, histories, and their place in the global society. The department offers language and culture courses in Swedish, and a breadth of courses taught in English on Nordic literature, film, culture, and history. The department fosters connections and dialogs across disciplines and beyond campus about the Nordic countries, and actively promotes the College’s historical and contemporary connections to Sweden.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Cultural knowledge
    Students will:
    1. gain a broad-based knowledge of the Nordic countries historically and today
    2. gain an appreciation of the Nordic area as a multicultural and multiethnic region
    3. recognize links between the Nordic countries and the European community as well as the rest of the world
    4. gain knowledge of literary periods, and the literary and film canon in the Nordic countries.
  2. Linguistic competency
    1. Students will acquire near-native fluency in Swedish (or in exceptional cases another Nordic language) in the four competency areas of listening, reading, speaking, and writing.
  3. Communicative and analytical skills
    Students will:
    1. develop critical thinking, writing, and communication skills
    2. acquire the ability to analyze the Nordic region and its cultural forms and aesthetics, social and political systems, and the countries’ roles within the international community.

International Dimensions

Over the years, the department has established many contacts with the Nordic institutions and scholars. We have had particularly good connections with Swedish institutions--direct exchanges with the University of Uppsala and Mora Folk högskola--because of the College's ties with Sweden, but we have good contacts in the other Nordic countries as well, particularly Norway.

In the last ten years, well over 100 students have studied for one semester or a whole academic year in Scandinavia. Several students have taken summer or January term courses there.

More useful information about International Education:

Library Holdings

It is difficult to give an exact number of titles pertaining to Scandinavia because Scandinavian materials are represented throughout the entire library collection. Using only disciplines as a guideline, the following numbers can be arrived at for three major areas: History (DN)--1685 volumes; Fiction (PT)--3956; Scandinavian in the US (E)--169. There are 19 Scandinavian periodicals and 5 newspapers. Library also offer a wide range of video programs about Scandinavia.

Useful links to the library for more information:

Department Seminar Program

OUT OF SCANDINAVIA artist-in-residence program brings noted Scandinavian artists and writers to campus for a week-long residency. Since 1989, the following artists and writers have visited Gustavus under the auspices of this program: Nils-Aslak Valekeapaa (1989), Herbjorg Wassmo (1990), Ulla-Lena Lundberg (1991), Per Olov Enquist (1992), Lars Lofgren (1994), Max von Sydow (1995), Theodor Kallifatides (1996) and Einar Kárason (1997)

Student Groups & Activities

  • Swedish House
  • The Viking Society meets every Thursday evening at 9 p.m. in the Swedish House.
  • The Sauna Society (currently not active- waiting to be fired up)

Department Work Study

The department employs 4-7 work-study students every year. Generally, a few of them are native speakers of Swedish (exchange students); the other are upper-classmen majors and minors. Work assignments include small-group language instruction, tutoring, minor research and clerical jobs.