Marianne T Stecher Hansen
Introduction to research into European topics and to the analysis of problems.
This course focuses on literary representations and personal narratives dealing with World War II in the Nordic and Baltic countries. During WWII most of Northern Europe was occupied by foreign powers. Norway and Denmark by Nazi Germany, whereas the Baltic States were occupied -- during different periods -- by both the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. Only Sweden claimed neutrality and remained autonomous, while Finland (in alliance with Nazi Germany) escaped annexation by waging war against the Soviet Union.
The course surveys these national destinies and explores the experiences of individuals during the War by means of fiction, memoirs, and other personal narratives. In general, we will examine the relationship between history and fiction. In particular, we will investigate the memoir and personal narrative as a source of historical knowledge. The course will also consider forms of "resistance" and "passive resistance" in occupied Scandinavian countries and how resistance is represented in the literature about the period. By juxtaposing historical events with literary and personal narratives dealing with WWII, we will be able to pinpoint the ideological perspectives in these texts.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
The instruction and organization of the course is driven by inquiry in areas such as the following: • the validity of the personal narrative or memoir as a “historical account” • the interpretation of encoded (allegorical) messages in literature, written under political censorship • the revisionist tendencies of postwar scholarship dealing with the Nordic countries during WWII
Students will contribute their own lines of inquiry to the course by drawing from the larger questions posed by the instructor.
Course Format: This 5-credit course will consist of lectures, seminar-style discussions, a couple guest-lectures, and a few documentary films. The course will meet two days a week for two-hour sessions.
Background in European or International Studies, History, Scandinavian Studies or Comparative Literature is recommended. Strong writing and research skills. Substantial reading list for class; contact instructor for syllabus.
Class assignments and grading
Participation in inquiry-driven group discussions, midterm and final exams (essay and objective questions). In addition, students are required to develop research papers based on original research and assigned reading. Methods of scholarship are emphasized in preparation for the research paper; a term paper abstract and bibliography are due in advance of the final paper.
10% Participation in group assignments and class discussions 10% Midterm exam 30% Final exam 10% Term paper abstract and bibliography 40% 12-15 page research paper