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

Postgraduate Course: Viking Studies (Level 11) (ELCS11007)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Literatures, Languages and Cultures CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeDissertation AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course addresses the historical developments referred to collectively as 'The Viking Age' and covered by the period c. AD 750-1050. The intention is to investigate Scandinavian Iron Age society in an attempt to identify possible reasons for the Viking Expansion, to survey the various forms the Expansion took, and to explore the legacy it left behind. To provide a starting point for comparative study, there will be a special focus on raids and settlement in Scotland and the North Atlantic. However, emphasis throughout will be on the critical interpretation of the available sources, be they historical, archaeological, genetic, onomastic, literary or otherwise, as well as the ways in which different kinds of material can be used to supplement one another.
Course description We begin the course by surveying the range of source material underpinning the study of the Viking Age. You will learn how to describe, discuss and analyse documentary accounts, archaeological finds, and linguistic artefacts such as place-names and loan words. By considering how the interpretation of this material has evolved over the centuries, you will become better placed to assess its potential applications and limitations as historical evidence, whether it supports comment on the generalities or specifics of a situation, as well as when, and how, the witness it provides should be corroborated.
We will then spend some time reviewing the historical background to the Viking Age in Scandinavia. By learning how to identify and interpret long-term trends in societal development, you will be better placed to foreground and address misconceptions. This in turn will help you to formulate a meaningful snapshot of Scandinavian civilisation in the early Viking Age, to inform your understanding of the motivations and modus operandi of the Viking elite with regards to each other and the outside world.
Having acquired a contextualising overview, we then move on to sample the impact of Viking activity overseas. As we cannot hope to cover the entirety of the Viking Expansion or 'Diaspora' in this course, we will focus on a series of case studies to exemplify the kinds of considerations and approaches you should apply while researching the topic you have selected for your course essay.
Students enrolled on the PG variant of this course will participate in five additional tutorials to help broaden and deepen their understanding of the topics under consideration.

Breakdown of Learning & Teaching Activities:
Students will begin each week by watching some short videos as an introduction to the specific themes to be studied [Asynchronous]. The videos are linked to further resources and core reading materials, available via the course Learn page [Asynchronous]. Engaging with these materials is essential for participation in the weekly seminars.
Depending on class size, students will also be assigned to small autonomous learning groups for the purpose of preparing for the synchronous weekly seminars, focusing on several questions relating to that week's specified themes, and taking turns to act as the Discussion Group Leader. The weekly Discussion Group Leader(s) will then lead the whole-class discussion in the seminar that follows [Synchronous].
NB: PG students will also give a presentation on an assigned topic at one of the five additional PG-only Tutorials [Synchronous].

Summative Assessment:
Following each week¿s learning and teaching activities, students will complete a computer-marked Multiple-Choice Quiz via Learn [Asynchronous]. The Quiz will test whether they have absorbed and understood the factual underpinning of a named theme from the required readings. Each week's Quiz will have to be completed before 5pm on Friday of the relevant teaching week.
Over the first 5 weeks of the course, all students will also formulate draft essay proposals, in which they identify and develop a viable topic for a discursive essay. This will be submitted in Week 5, with formative feedback provided within the following week. Students will submit their final essay proposal for grading and feedback by the end of the following week.
The deadline for submitting course essays will be in the exam weeks which follow the end of the course.

Potentially Re-Traumatising Content:
In this course, we will be discussing content that may be re-traumatising to some students. Topics broached will include military violence, misogyny, human trafficking, and slavery. We believe in the importance of engaging with this material and so please rest assured that we will work with you to ensure you can participate fully and demonstrate your achievement of the learning outcomes of the course, without compromising your wellbeing or your academic development. If you have concerns at any point, we invite you to approach the course organiser to discuss how we can best support you in your work on this course. We affirm that you will be treated with dignity and respect in all discussions and at every stage of the course.

NB: An exciting new 'fusion' course is being developed in collaboration with the University of Lund in Sweden, called 'Pretext, Context and Intertext: Navigating Viking Culture, Then And Now'. This new course aims to equip students with the toolkit and skillset they need to access and evaluate the preconceptions and misconceptions surrounding the Viking Age, and how these have impacted on political and cultural developments throughout the Western World over the past 200 years. It also places a heavy emphasis on transferrable skills, providing training in writing about the topic for a range of different audiences, from academics to the general public. As such, we hope it will appeal to students with an interest in the Vikings specifically, but also those with a more general interest in developing a future career in the cultural heritage sector. If it is ready in time for Semester 2, this new course will run instead of Viking Studies.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students must have successfully completed an appropriate course in Scandinavian Culture, or History or Archaeology at Level 8 (or equivalent). The Course Organiser can advise on appropriateness.
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2024/25, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  0
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 11, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 185 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Coursework 100%
Leading and Participating in Discussion Group (Formative).
20%: Essay Proposal (600 words).
20%: 10 x Weekly Quiz.
60%: Course Essay (2400 words).

Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a nuanced understanding of the historical developments referred to collectively as ¿The Viking Age¿, and covered by the period c. AD 750-1050, from the reasons for the Viking expansion to the legacy it left behind.
  2. Critically appraise the various forms taken by the Viking Expansion utilising a sophisticated combination of sources, approaches and methods of interpretation, including historical, archaeological, linguistic, and onomastic, crossing disciplines such as philology and history.
  3. Identify and develop a suitable topic for an advanced, discursive essay, exploring a relevant aspect of the Viking Age in fine detail, supported by sufficient, relevant source materials.
  4. Produce a clear and coherent essay, which develops arguments both critically and systematically with the use of relevant emphases, subsidiary points, and examples, and with direct reference to the primary sources and ongoing academic debate.
  5. Participate meaningfully in discussion of selected themes, demonstrating finely honed communication, presentation and interaction skills across a range of media and circumstances.
Reading List
A detailed reading list can be found on the course Learn page.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Special Arrangements This course comprises sessions, which are jointly taught with undergraduate students (ELCS10034 & ELCS09010), and an additional 5 tutorials exclusively for Lvl 11 students.
KeywordsViking,Expansion,Diaspora,Norse,Old Norse,Archaeology,Scandinavia,Medieval,Place-names,History
Course organiserDr Alan MacNiven
Tel: (0131 6)50 3279
Course secretaryMs Sheila Strathdee
Tel: (0131 6)50 3619
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