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Scandinavian Studies

Scandinavian Studies

Scandinavian Studies

The Scandinavian Studies programme at Aalborg University is a unique opportunity to study the languages, literature and media of the Nordic countries combined with a stay in Denmark. Courses in the following areas are currently offered by the Department on a regular basis:

  • Scandinavian Languages (5 ECTS credits)
  • Scandinavian Literature (5 ECTS credits)
  • Scandinavian Media (5 ECTS credits)

Scandinavian Languages

In order to understand the similarities and the differences between the Scandinavian peoples it is a necessary prerequisite to have some insights into their languages. The historical and current situation is that they developed out of a common Scandinavian language, and they are nowadays mutually understandable depending on who the interlocuters are.

Furthermore, the words of the languages imply much the same way of conceiving of the world, in that, for instance, the expression velfærd ‘welfare’ is of Old Norse (Old Icelandic) origin and its meaning is an integral part of the self-perception of the inhabitants of the Nordic countries. And, for instance, social security terms in Finnish are mainly loan translations from analogue word in the central Scandinavian countries. Furthermore, the languages of the Nordic countries present one with a group of interrelated languages that have been studied in depth, and they may be contrasted with the non-Indo-European languages of Finnish and Greenlandic. So they offer an exemplary environment for the linguistically interested.

Scandinavian Literature

The course in Scandinavian literature will focus on the more important and internationally well-known Scandinavian authors and literary works. The significant themes in the early literature include the Edda poetry, the sagas, and the ballads, and in the period of Romanticism particularly Hans Christian Andersen and Søren Kierkegaard have won international recognition. In the historical period of the Modern Breakthrough, Scandinavia distinguished itself strongly by authors like J. P. Jacobsen, Henrik Ibsen, August Strindberg and Knut Hamsun, and in the 20th century, Karen Blixen’s authorship became significant in an international perspective. In the later part of the 20th century authors like Inger Christensen, Tomas Tranströmer and Peter Høeg reached a large international audience.

The course will offer a coherent reading of Scandinavian literature, and attention will be given to different works, genres, and authorships. The literary works will be read in their social and historical contexts, so that a feeling of the different places in Scandinavian literature will arise. In terms of its association with the canonized parts of Scandinavian literature, the course will also discuss the role of Scandinavian literature in the international context.

Scandinavian Media

Internationally, the landscape of Scandinavian media is best known for its cinema culture and its crime fiction culture. Especially Danish film made a very early success during the silent film period, predominantly revolving around directors like Carl Th. Dreyer and Benjamin Christensen – and the actress Asta Nielsen.Swedish film had great international success with Victor Sjöström, Mauritz Stiller and actress Greta Garbo, and later with Ingmar Bergman and Bo Widerberg. Notable names in modern Scandinavian cinema are among many others Lars von Trier and other Dogma directors, Ole Christian Madsen, Susanne Bier and Lone Scherfig in Denmark; in Norway Joachim Trier, Bent Hamer and Erik Skjoldbjærg; and in Sweden Roy Andersson, Lasse Hallström (now in Hollywood), Lukas Moodysson and Josef Fares.

A wider media culture impact stems from the so-called ‘Nordic Noir’ tradition. Demonstrating cross-media success in novels, cinema and television, Scandinavian crime fiction – to a certain extent diffusing from the Stieg Larsson and the Henning Mankell themes – has become a immense international trademark.Another important aspect of the Scandinavian media landscape is public service broadcasting focusing on quality TV as a pluralistic alternative to commercial television, “The Killing” (2007/09, adapted in the USA 2011) being one of the outcomes. On a historical basis, the course will be a guide through the more remarkable Scandinavian productions in film, television and other media cultures.

Project work (15 ECTS)

In addition to the above mentioned courses, students will work with a problem based project. You can choose the subject for this project within either Scandinavian Languages, Scandinavian Literature or Scandinavian Media. Students will be granted 15 ECTS credits for the project work.

Examples of students’ project titles:

  • Motives in Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales
  • Søren Kierkegaard's existentialism in "Either-Or"
  • Trends in contemporary Scandinavian poetry
  • Sex and gender in Karen Blixens/Isak Dinesens "Seven Gothic Tales"
  • Noir in "The Killing" – Danish tv-drama, cultural criticism, and genre
  • The Blessing and Daisy Diamond – An analysis of maternity in Danish cinema
  • Adapted emotions – "A Royal Affair" from book to film
  • Morten Sabro and narrative journalism

Close connection between students and faculty

A supervisor will be assigned to help you and your fellow students through the process of writing the project and this close cooperation between students and their supervisor is what truly sets us apart.

Learn Danish while you study Scandinavian Studies

The student will also be able to choose to do coursework offered in Danish at the Danish Studies programme, and the Aalborg University Language School (AAULS) offers courses in basic Danish. The stay will be combined with social accommodation and trips in Denmark, and if possible, in other Scandinavian countries.

Aalborg University is a relatively new university situated in Aalborg, the vibrant 'capital' of Northern Jutland, with short distances to the rest of Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Aalborg is the epi-center of Southern Scandinavia.

Aalborg University

Aalborg University is a relatively new university situated in Aalborg, the vibrant 'capital' of Northern Jutland, with short distances to the rest of Denmark, Sweden and Norway. Aalborg is the epi-center of Southern Scandinavia.

Further information

For further information please download our brochure about Scandinavian Studies at Aalborg University.



Programme Coordinator

Professor Peter Stein Larsen
Email: pstein@cgs.aau.dk
Phone: +45 9940 9067+45 9940 9067

Study advisor of the Scandinavian Studies Programme in Aalborg:

Tel: +45 9940 9194+45 9940 9194

E-mail: studvejl-dansk@hum.aau.dk

Aalborg University’s International Office:

Tel: +45 9940 9940+45 9940 9940
Email: international@adm.aau.dk
Website: http://internationaloffice.aau.dk