Language, Culture and the Construction of National Identity in Scandinavia - Scandinavian Area Studies
Level of Study
Place of Instruction
Objectives and Content
The course gives an introduction to the role of language and culture in the construction of national identity in Scandinavia. The primary focus is on the period from the 19th century to the present, but reference will also be made to earlier periods, for example the Viking era.
Among the topics that will be covered are the following: the historical evolution of the Scandinavian languages, including the emergence of the two varieties of standard Norwegian (bokmål and nynorsk), different dialects and sociolects, and ideological debates over language planning and culture. In order to explore the issue of a distinct Scandinavian identity, we will also look at the relationship between the Scandinavian countries and their Nordic neighbors (Finland, Iceland, Greenland, the Faroe Islands and the Åland Islands). In addition, the languages and cultures of the indigenous people in Scandinavia will be addressed.
Throughout the course of the 19th century, different attempts were made to forge a distinct Norwegian, Swedish or Danish national identity, often by focusing on what set one of the countries apart from the other two. At the same time, one can also find an intellectual movement that stressed brotherhood and unity among the three Scandinavian countries, which were often likened to three branches growing out of the same tree. Through a focus on language and culture, SAS1 traces the evolution of these two opposing tendencies - the desire for a separate national identity as well as for a specifically Scandinavian identity - up until the current moment.
On completion of the programme the candidate should have the following learning outcomes, defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:
The candidate will have a thorough knowledge of central issues concerning language, culture and national identity in a Scandinavian context.
The candidate will be able to discuss the importance of language and culture for the construction of national identity in a Scandinavian context in light of relevant theoretical texts.
The candidate will have a broad knowledge of how linguistic, historical, cultural and social conditions have contributed to the construction of national identity in the Scandinavian countries.
Required Previous Knowledge
The course requires spoken and written proficiency in English.
Recommended Previous Knowledge
Access to the Course
The course is open to exchange students and other students with upper secondary education from outside Norway with admission to the University of Bergen.
Teaching and learning methods
One lecture per week. Total of 12-14 lectures.
Compulsory Assignments and Attendance
Forms of Assessment
Written examination in the end of spring term and autumn term. Examination duration 6 hrs.
Courses are evaluated regularly in accordance with UiBs quality assurance system.
Department of Linguistic, Literary, and Aesthetic Studies.