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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Kirstine Marie Kastbjerg
DANISH 311
Seattle Campus

Topics in Danish Literature and Culture

Selected topics in modern Danish literature and culture, such as women's literature, Danish identity and the European Union, contemporary drama and film, or children's literature. Recommended: DANISH 203.

Class description

Once again this year, statistics showed Denmark to be the happiest country in the world. In DAN311 we will investigate the conditions for happiness in the modern welfare state. This means reading and discussing – in Danish – texts that somehow revolve around the question of happiness. What does it mean to be happy? How is happiness defined by Danes? By Americans? By Europeans? Are the Danes really the happiest people in the world and how is that possible? What in particular about Danish society creates this feeling? We will be reading short stories by contemporary writers such as Jacob Ejersbo, Naja Marie Aidt, Helle Helle, Katrine Marie Guldager, Jan Sonnergaard, and Pablo Henrik Llambías to arrive at a sense of the way in which happiness is constructed today. Potentially, we will also read short classics by H.C. Andersen, Herman Bang, and Henrik Pontoppidan for a discussion of how the issues in question have changed over the years and for a more philosophical perspective. Newspaper articles, music, lyrics, poems and recent movies such as "Frygtelig Lykkelig" will be included to promote a multifaceted discussion that takes into account the many components of happiness today.

A course pack will be available at The Ave Copy.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

The course is cross-disciplinary and is designed to generate some interesting discussions in Danish while creating awareness of Danish culture, language, literature, and society. We will practice textual analysis as applied to multiple genres and work on general linguistic competences.

Recommended preparation

Danish 203 or similar level of proficiency in Danish. We will spend some time in the beginning of the quarter on figuring out the appropriate level for the reading list.

Class assignments and grading

Assessment is based on participation, quizzes, short essays and a final exam.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Kirstine Marie Kastbjerg
Date: 09/20/2009