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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Jan Sjavik
SCAND 150
Seattle Campus

Norwegian Literary and Cultural History

A survey of Norwegian literary and cultural history from the Vikings to the present. Authors read include Bjornson, Ibsen, Hamsun, and Roolvaag.

Class description

The purpose of this course is to offer an introduction to the literary and cultural history of Norway, starting with the Viking age and carrying through to the present time, but with major emphasis on the second half of the 19th Century. Our focus will be on reading and interpretation of representative literary texts, and these cultural artifacts will be placed in their historical context. Political history will be touched on only briefly and then only as it is necessary to properly situate the works that are studied.

Student learning goals

Learn about the historical development of Norwegian literature/culture: 10 percent

Learn about specific Norwegian literary texts: 60 percent

Develop your ability to analyze texts orally and in writing: 30 percent

General method of instruction

Lecture/discussion based on texts that the students have read in advance.

Recommended preparation

No prerequisites.

Class assignments and grading

I will use a point system that will allow you to earn up to 100 points. Low-stakes paper: 10 points Class participation: 20 points Midterm exam: 30 points Final exam: 40 points

The low-stakes paper: The paper should be approximately 2.5-3 pages in length and is intended to give you a chance to practice writing the type of essay you will be asked to write on the midterm and the final (you will get an e-mail with detailed instructions later). To get full credit (10 points) for it, you will need to turn your paper in to me by a specified deadline and be willing to revise the paper, if I ask you to. For those who wish to get W-credit for SCAND 150, the low-stakes paper should be 5 pages long.

Class participation: To receive your full 20 points for class participation, you will need to provide brief un-graded written responses to a series of not previously announced questions given you in class. You will have 10 minutes of class time to write your responses each time a question is given, and some of the responses will be shared with the class by being read aloud by me or via e-mail to the class list (your identity will not be revealed). There will be nine such mini-essays, and you will earn 3 points each time you write one (up to a maximum of 20 points). If you miss a mini-essay, you will not have an opportunity to make it up later.

Midterm and final exams: Both the midterm and the final will be essay exams. You will have 50 minutes for the midterm, and the final will last for 1 hour and 20 minutes. For each exam you will get a list of 3-5 questions, of which you will choose one or two. (Those who write on one question will be expected to provide a fuller discussion of the topic than those who write on two topics.) Study questions will be handed out in advance of each exam.

Substitute paper: Under certain conditions (see the end of this paragraph) you may write a 3-4 page paper (5 pages for those who wish to get W-credit) in lieu of the midterm and/or the final exam. The paper must be written in advance, and it will be due at the beginning of the exam in question. This paper cannot be used to make up a poor test grade; it has to be written in advance of the test. While there may be a small amount of overlap between your low-stakes paper and a substitute paper, the substitute paper cannot be a revised and expanded version of your low-stakes paper. If you use the paper as a substitute for the final exam, a significant part of the material discussed in the paper must be connected with readings covered in class after the midterm. You earn the right to write a substitute paper for the midterm by missing no more than one of the mini-essays written in class before the date the midterm is given. If you did not write a substitute paper for the midterm, you may write a substitute paper for the final if you still have not missed more than one mini-essay. If you have not missed any mini-essays, you may write a substitute paper for both the midterm and the final exam.

W-credit You may earn ad hoc W-credit in this course by writing two 5-page papers, which you will have an opportunity to revise. The easiest way to get W-credit is to use the low-stakes paper as one of these two 5-page papers. The second 5-page paper can be a paper written in lieu of the midterm or the final, but you may also write a separate un-graded paper, if you wish. This option may be attractive if you prefer your course grade to be based mostly on tests rather than on papers. If your record with regard to the mini-essays does not qualify you for writing a paper in lieu of the midterm or the final, you can get W-credit by writing a second paper solely for that purpose (in addition to your low-stakes paper).

Please scroll down the lengthy text in the previous window, where you will find detailed descriptions of the low-stakes paper, what is meant by class participation, the midterm and final exams, the possibility of writing a paper in lieu of the midterm and/or the final, and how you can get W-credit for this course.


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 Jan Sjavik
Date: 05/12/2011