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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures : European Languages & Cultures - Scandinavian Stud

Undergraduate Course: Contemporary Scandinavian Literature: A Transnational Approach (ELCS10040)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course approaches contemporary Scandinavian literature from a transnational perspective. It sets out to explore the ways in which Scandinavian literature has negotiated times of heightened globalisation, in which societies are shaped by the migrations of people from diverse backgrounds. Its principal focus will be the experiences of those who are often constructed as "other": newcomers to the Scandinavian countries and postmigrant characters. The course foregrounds and challenges notions of Scandinavian exceptionalism by highlighting linguistic and cultural permeations. It does so by investigating mechanisms for exclusion; and by addressing the conflicts and struggles with which postmigrant characters often have to contend.
Course description Scandinavian literature has had a profound impact on global society, in terms of both political discourse and philosophical thought. Traditionally, works by writers such as H.C. Andersen, Carl Almqvist, Søren Kierkegaard and others have drawn international attention to the small nations of the North, while at the same time contributing to Scandinavians' self-understanding as Danes, Norwegians and Swedes. Today, the rapidly changing demography and political dynamics of the Scandinavian societies challenge this self-understanding. Questions of what it means to be Scandinavian, or to "belong" to one of the Scandinavian nations, are increasingly reflected upon in contemporary literature, with transnational texts gaining an ever more prominent position in Scandinavian literary discourse. Considering that, in a globalised world, everyone in any society is influenced by the movement of people, and not just those who are coming or going, contemporary literature - in Scandinavia and elsewhere - addresses the conflicts and struggles pertaining to postmigrant identities and a sense of belonging - both from the perspectives of those constructed as sedentary, and those who are often perceived as "other", or new to a country. This, in turn, is influencing the ways in which Scandinavians conceptualise themselves today.

Breakdown of Learning and Teaching Activities:

This course is a 20 credit, SCQF Level 10 course which seeks to inspire discussion on the complexities of Scandinavian self-understanding, and how this is reflected upon in contemporary literature. NB: A Level 9 variant is available for BA students and suitably qualified exchange students. Theoretical conceptualisations of transnational literature, postmigrant societies and Scandinavian exceptionalism will enable students to engage critically with questions of national/transnational identities, postmigrant belonging, and mechanisms for exclusion, such as racism and othering. Careful close reading will empower students to reflect upon the politics of the texts studied, and whether they can be seen as counter-discourses to those debates that, unfortunately, often reinforce marginalisation.

This course is taught in English, but advanced knowledge of Danish/Norwegian/Swedish language is a pre-requisite as some of the primary texts may not be translated into English.

The course begins with a discussion of different theoretical approaches to transnational literature, Scandinavian exceptionalism and postmigrant societies. The subsequent seminars will be taught interactively, each exploring a specific set of questions focusing on the main themes and ideas posited by the weekly lists of primary texts and secondary sources. In addition, students will write short reflective blog posts on each of the texts studied, for discussion and peer-review on the course Discussion Forums each week. Towards the end of the semester, each student will also give a presentation on a self-chosen topic in relation with the course themes. There will be set essay questions to choose from for the final discursive essay.

This course contains potentially (re-)traumatising content.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Danish Language 2 (ELCS08008) OR Norwegian Language 2 (ELCS08011) OR Swedish Language 2 (ELCS08013)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Advanced knowledge of Danish/Norwegian/Swedish as demonstrated by a pass in Danish, Norwegian or Swedish Language 2. The suitability of other qualifications and experience will be assessed by the course organiser.
Additional Costs Possibly the purchase of essential texts.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesIn order to be eligible to take 4th Year Options, Visiting Students should have the equivalent of at least two years of study at University level of the appropriate language(s) and culture(s). Students will be permitted at the discretion of the Course Organiser.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Appraise the course literature in Danish, Norwegian and Swedish and analyse, critique and discuss complex literary devices
  2. Evaluate and employ different theoretical perspectives on transnational literature, postmigrant societies and Scandinavian exceptionalism
  3. Demonstrate a thorough understanding of the contemporary societal debates relevant to the works
  4. Interpret nuanced meaning within individual texts and between groups of texts at a high level.
  5. Communicate complex ideas effectively in written and verbal form
Reading List
The essential literary texts may change each year. Details of these will be made available on Learn in advance of the start of the course.


Ali, Sumaya Jirde, Ikkje ver redd sånne som meg, 2018

Bile, Amina, Srour, Sofia Nesrine, Herz, Nancy, Skamløs, Gyldendal, 2017

Hassan, Yahya, Yahya Hassan 2, Gyldendal, 2019

Khemiri, Jonas Hassen, Jag ringer mina bröder, 2012

Tichý, Andrzej, Eländet, Albert Bonniers Forlag, 2016

Hjorth, Vigdis, Et norsk hus, Cappelen, 2015

Naseh, Negar, De fördrivna, Natur & Kultur, 2016


Khemiri, Jonas Hassen, "Bästa Beatrice." Jag ringer mina bröder, Bonnier, 2013, pp. 129-141.

Oxfeldt, Elisabeth, Innledning. Skandinaviske fortellinger om skyld og privilegier i en globaliseringstid, edited by Oxfeldt, Universitetsforlaget, 2016, pp. 9-31.

Petersen, Anne Ring, and Moritz Schramm. "(Post-)Migration in the Age of Globalisation: New Challenges to Imagination and Representation." Journal of Aesthetics and Culture, vol. 9, no. 2, 2017, pp. 1-12.

Vertovec, Steven. Transnationalism. Routledge, 2008.

Yildiz, Erol, and Marc Hill. "In-between as Resistance: The Post-migrant Generation Between Discrimination and Transnationalization." Transnational Social Review, vol. 7, no. 3, 2017, pp. 273-286.

Introduction to: Gaonkar, Anna Meera, et al., Postmigration: Art, Culture and Politics in Contemporary Europe, Transcript, 2021

Introduction to: Rees, Ellen, Heidi Karlsen, Madelen Brovold, and Ståle Dingstad, Minoritetsdiskurser i norsk litteratur, Universitetsforlaget, 2021

Anderssen, Mette, Kritiske hendelser - nye stemmer: politisk engasjement og transnasjonal orientering i det nye Norge, Universitetsforlaget, 2012
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills During this course, students will further develop graduate attributes and personal and professional skills in the following areas:

Research and enquiry: analytical thinking; critical thinking; knowledge integration and application; handling complexity and ambiguity.

Personal and intellectual autonomy: self-awareness and reflection; independent learning and development; creative and inventive thinking.

Personal effectiveness: planning, organising and time management; assertiveness and confidence; flexibility.

Communication: interpersonal skills; presentation skills; verbal and written communication.
KeywordsLiterature,Scandinavia,transnational,postmigrant,novel,othering,Scandinavian exceptionalism
Course organiserMiss Anja Troger
Course secretaryMs June Cahongo
Tel: (0131 6)50 3620
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