Department of Germanic Studies

Frank Hansen

LecturerMA, Literature and Philosophy, University of Copenhagen (2001)

Frank Hansen



Danish language and culture, Scandinavian Culture, photography, French and German philosophy, modern American literature.


DAN 612 • Accelerated Second-Year Danish

37225 • Spring 2022
Meets MWF 9:00AM-11:00AM BUR 234

Course Description


Accelerated Second-year Danish is a course for students who have taken Danish 604 or have similar prerequisites. In this course we will continue to learn to read, listen, write and speak Danish. You will get even better at asking and answering questions, naming and describing persons, things, places, events, narrate orally and in writing and comprehend a variety of texts. You will continue to broaden your knowledge of Danish culture. We will start to read original Danish texts and watch Danish television and films without English subtitles.

Grading Policy

Active Participation: 25%

Essays/translations: 20%

Quizzes: 20%

Midterm: 10%

Final project: 15%

Final exam: 10%

GSD 341J • Contemp Scandinavn Stories

37540 • Spring 2022
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM CMA 3.114
GCWr (also listed as C L 323, EUS 347)

The principal focus of this course will be to analyze contemporary Scandinavian literature and film and examine how the arts reflect a Scandinavian reality that is under transformation. The main focus will be Scandinavian stories from the last 25 years.

Scandinavian fiction has reached international audiences lately, gaining new followers with the concept of “Nordic Noir” which expands on the previous success of Scandinavian crime fiction as a form of fiction explicitly concerned with social critique in TV-series, novels and films. Literary fiction discusses aspects of identity, personal struggle, nationality, and the Scandinavian welfare state. These themes also appear in what is a golden age for Danish cinema in the Dogma 95 movement. The past is imposing itself on the present, and the family as an institution is being questioned time and again, while the youth seem lost in a world where all values are debatable, and the Scandinavian absurd humor can be used as a reflection of the challenges to society.

Scandinavian literature and movies are full of maladapted heroes and heroines. In many cases, the main characters are trying hard to realize their dreams and fulfil their ambitions. They all have individual goals that frequently collide with society's norms, the social pressure of the outside world and stereotypical views on body and gender roles.

            In this course, we examine the protagonists in some of the most celebrated books and movies from Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. We read and analyze the texts and interpret the movies with inspiration from intellectuals and philosophers such as Søren Kierkegaard, and Friedrich Nietzsche. Thinkers who have heavily influenced Scandinavian intellectual life.

            Throughout the course we will study some of the best works of autofiction written in recent years, all of which have been very popular among readers and praised by literary critics. Autofiction challenges the traditional divide between narrator and author and more closely examines the fascinating relation between reality and fiction.

In our discussions, we will compare similarities and differences between the various materials and look at how they each tackle historical and contemporary themes including how these artistic forms negotiate Scandinavian identity and interact with an increasingly global and interconnected world. We will examine what makes Scandinavian stories Scandinavian and discuss, in what ways the individual countries in the region might differ from each other in their political discussions as well as their creative output.

Using creative output from Scandinavia, this class develops your ability to discuss, write, and read carefully and critically as well as challenge your preconceived notions and aids you in becoming better at crafting arguments and communicating your thoughts to others.

DAN 604 • Accelerated First-Year Danish

38210 • Fall 2021
Meets MWF 9:00AM-11:00AM BUR 232

Course objectives

Velkommen til Accelerated First-year Danish! Accelerated First-year Danish is a course for students with no prior knowledge of Danish. In this course you will begin to learn to read, listen, write and speak Danish. You will learn to ask and answer questions, name and describe persons, things, places, events, narrate orally and in writing and comprehend a variety of texts. You will also be given the opportunity to get to know a new culture and be encouraged to make comparisons between the Danish and the American culture in order to gain a deeper understanding of differences and similarities. This class gives you the opportunity to fulfill your language requirement in two semesters. The type of classroom environment fostered in this Danish language class will be student-centered rather than teacher-centered. The most important aspect of learning a new language is using it, and we will base our strategy on the communicative language teaching approach. This means that I will come to class with a variety of prepared activities designed to give you the opportunity to practice and build skills that will enable you to learn Danish. You will be asked to practice speaking with a partner and in small groups. You will answer questions about things we have read and viewed in class. During listening activities you may be asked to fill in missing dialogue or listen for specific words or phrases. Furthermore, we will spend time on pronunciation (since this constitutes one of the bigger challenges of learning Danish). Class time is crucial for practicing communication skills, so attendance is essential, and participation will be part of your grade. We will use technology regularly to work interactively with the language and to enhance our understanding of the Danish society. After this semester the student will be able to:

 Conduct everyday conversations in Danish

 Read simple Danish text and understand it

 Listen to and understand simple Danish

 Write sentences in Danish

 Know and understand Danish Culture

GSD 341E • Hans Christian Andersen

38545 • Fall 2021
Meets MWF 12:00PM-1:00PM CMA 3.114
GCWr (also listed as EUS 347)


Hans Christian Andersen is the best known Dane, a fact that would have made him proud, as the strive for fame was a driving force in his life: "25 years ago, I arrived with my small parcel in Copenhagen, a poor stranger of a boy, and today I have been drinking my chocolate with the Queen". A large part of his works, which included novels, plays, poetry, tales and short stories (besides his extensive diaries), is also an attempt to interpret his own social destiny: "The history of my life will be the best commentary on my work", he stated. Mistakenly, Andersen's works have been considered to be exclusively for children. However, he wrote for adults as much as for children, and though his tales are full of magic and joy, they also contain a subtle layer of suffering, deprivation and sorrow you will find if you dig deeper into the texts. His best stories do more than entertain us, they examine the human soul and deal with its complexity and force us to do the same.

Our readings will primarily focus on Hans Christian Andersen’s mastery of the fairy tale genre and his complex narrative method, and we will examine how Andersen is influenced by the old folk tales. We will also work with different models to look at the narrative structure of fairy tales in general. Furthermore, we will broaden the view, and Hans Christian Andersen will be placed in a historical, philosophical and literary context, and we will be discussing such themes as the notion of childhood, the Romantic idea of the genius, social ambitions and what it is to be an eternal traveller (he was 61 years old, before he got his own bed). Finally, we can’t avoid digging deeper into Hans Christian Andersen’s own biography, as he would have sympathized with a modern man like Don Draper (Mad Men) in the way he creates his own mythological self.

HCA's fantastic fairy tales have attracted numerous film (and theatre) makers. We will watch and analyze excerpts from these as part of the course. And we will hear a lot of (classical) music – Andersen was very fond of music, knew all the great composers of the day and some of his poems count among the most beloved Danish songs – and discuss some of the paintings of the period.

The course aims at increasing your ability to think and work analytically. This includes developing the ability to read and analyze literary and non-literary texts, to voice criticism through coherent argumentation, to reason by analogy, to formulate good questions and to communicate your discoveries to others by writing an academic essay.


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