Department of Germanic Studies

Rikke Cortsen


LecturerPh.D., Comparative Literature and Modern Culture, University of Copenhagen

Rikke Cortsen

Contact

Interests


Danish Language and Culture, Scandinavian and Nordic Culture, Cultural Theory, Comics and Graphic Novels, Popular Culture, Theory and Practice

Biography


 Twitter: @rpcortsen               Homepage: rpcortsen.com

 

Fields of Study

- Comics and Graphic Novels

- Danish Language and Culture

- Scandinavian and Nordic Culture

- Cultural Theory

- Aesthetics and teaching

- Popular Culture

 

Rikke Platz Cortsen’s teaching focuses on Danish language and culture and a wide variety of topics in Scandinavian culture ranging from the work of key literary figures such as Hans Christian Andersen, and special topics like Northern European comics to broader introductions to European culture and Scandinavian contemporary stories. 

Her research into comics and graphic novels examines the way comics make meaning, build worlds and manipulate space and time as a function of text-image relations, often in specific cultural contexts. Her publications cover many aspects of the field of comics studies including formal questions, comics as science communication, information comics, comics in teaching, theory and practice, constructions of space in comics, heavy metal and comics, and Nordic comics.   

Rikke Platz Cortsen’s current research includes two book projects. The first is an inquiry into the nature of spatio-temporality in comics which discusses the ways in which comics offer multiple ways of understanding space and time in narratives. The second book analyzes contemporary Nordic comics, specifically looking at how space is constructed and how this adds to a “sense of place” in relation to the Nordic region.

Her book “Tegnerserier og Tekstlæsning” (2015) written with Mette Jørgensen offers examples on how to teach with and about comics, suggesting ways to teach the analysis of comics as well as using the creative production of comics as a way of analyzing written canonical texts. The book features comics in different languages to support the teaching of foreign languages with comics.  

Other projects include co-authored publications with Anne Mette W. Nielsen on the use of aesthetic productions in higher education and using various experimental formats in research and teaching.

Education

PhD in Comparative Literature and Modern Culture, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, 2012

Awards

Foreign Language Teaching Excellence Award, Texas Language Center, College of Liberal Arts, The University of Texas at Austin, 2017.

Post-doctoral scholarship, The Danish Council for Independent Research, 2014

PhD scholarship, University of Copenhagen, 2009

Courses


DAN 604 • Accelerated First-Year Dnsh-Wb

36735 • Fall 2020
Meets MW 9:00AM-11:00AM
Internet

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 341Q • Northern European Comics-Wb

37074 • Fall 2020
Meets MW 1:00PM-2:00PM
Internet
GCWr (also listed as C L 323, EUS 347)

OUR GSD  COURSES ARE TAUGHT IN ENGLISH.

Watch Video: Learning Danish

Descripton

The burgeoning field of comics and graphic novels has received attention in the last few decades where publishers, critics and new readers have engaged enthusiastically with a medium which has historically not been at the pinnacle of cultural good taste. This course provides an introduction to comics and graphic novel with an emphasis on works from Northern Europe as a specific area of comics culture that tends to stand in the shadow of more known comics cultures. The course will go into depth with the mechanics of comics, how images and text work together, as well as how this particular way of telling stories relates to other media. The main readings will delve into the rich material from the Northern European sphere but will situate these comics in the wider world of international comics culture through parallel readings of American, Franco-Belgian and Japanese manga. The main focus will be on comics from the last 30 years, but the course will include a historical element that considers the history of comics globally.

One of the main reasons comics have surfaced as an artistically viable and serious medium in recent years is the diversity of subjects and the quality of writing and drawing of comics artists today. This course discusses style, line, coloring and structure as important aspects of comics and graphic novels story telling but also emphasizes the wide variety of topics that comics portray with great sensibility and complexity. From adventure stories to graphic memoir, from avant-garde experimental comics to newspaper humor strips, this course allows you to read, write, discuss and think critically about comics and graphic novels as well as it provides a greater understanding of the cultures of Northern Europe.

The course meets the Writing Flag and the Global Cultures Flag Criteria

DAN 612 • Accelerated Second-Year Danish

37275 • Spring 2020
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%

DAN 328 • Advanced Danish II

37276 • Spring 2020
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM BUR 376

TBD

T C 358 • Copenhagen - City Of Culture

41715 • Spring 2020
Meets MW 12:00PM-1:30PM CRD 007A

Copenhagen – City of Culture

At various points in history, Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, has been a cultural hub, which has fostered famous writers, filmmakers, philosophers, architects and designers. This course is an interdisciplinary course that uses Copenhagen as a prism through which to look at cultural developments in European history and get a wider perspective on specifically the culture of the Scandinavian countries. This course uses human geography and philosophies of place to discuss what makes a place like Copenhagen special and how we can use an understanding of places to know more about the people and events that shaped and were shaped by the city.

Throughout the course we will delve into the Golden Age of Copenhagen in the Romantic period through readings of famous Danes like H.C. Andersen and Søren Kierkegaard. We will also dig into the Modern Breakthrough where writers like Georg Brandes and J.P. Jacobsen set the scene for a cultural movement that also included well known Scandinavians like August Strindberg and Edward Munch.

Copenhagen´s history has shaped some of its current cultural expressions and the course will go into depth with the urban planning strategies of the city, the thoughts of some of its famous architects as well as its current claim to fame as one of the bicycle capitals of the world. City planning ties in with the Danish welfare state (or Nordic model) which will be discussed as it also plays a role in the film culture of Denmark, specifically with the Dogma 95 directors like Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg. Recently, “New Nordic” or “Nordic Cool” has meant a hightened focus on Nordic fashion, Nordic Design and Nordic cooking which in this class will be discussed through Copenhagen´s world famous restaurants and the designers that calls this city home. To some, Copenhagen will be known mostly through the many TV-series that have surfaced featuring the city and this course uses this platform to discuss issues of gender, equality and politics in Denmark through a closer look at the Nordic crime fiction wave.    

The streets of Copenhagen has been traversed by famous philosophers, fictive crime fiction heroes and the Copenhageners in their everyday life and as such, it serves as a great point of departure for historical and contemporary discussions of life in Scandinavia and how it relates to the US.  

Major texts/readings:

Cresswell, Tim. Place – a short introduction.

Jan Gehl. Life between the buildings.

Søren Kierkegaard

H.C. Andersen

Karen Blixen

Peter Høeg: Smilla’s sense of snow

Nella Larsen: Quicksand

TV series: Kristoffer Nyholm:  The Killing

Adam Price: Borgen

Film: Nicolaj Arcel A royal affair

 

Assignments:

Essays (one resubmit, one peer review): 30%

Final essay (6-8 pages long): 30%

Smaller writing assignments: 20%

Participation (in class exercises, discussions and one oral presentation): 20%

 

The essays are 3-4 pages long, the smaller assignments address key features, concepts or writing skills and are 1 page long. There will be 5 smaller assignments throughout the semester.

About the Professor: Rilke Platz Cortsen is lecturer in Danish and teaches Scandinavian culture and Danish language at the Department of Germanic Studies. She holds a Ph.D. in graphic narrative and an MA in comparative literature from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Her current research includes space and place in contemporary Nordic comics, Danish comics, Scandinavian culture, heavy metal music and innovative teaching strategies.

DAN 604 • Accelerated First-Year Danish

36810 • Fall 2019
Meets MWF 9:00AM-11:00AM BUR 232

Why Learn Danish? Ja, hvorfor ikke? You will be given the opportunity to get to know a new language and culture. Learning Danish will also provide you with the necessary skills to read texts in the other Scandinavian languages. Danish and English are very similar in sentence structure and basic vocabulary: Vil du have en kop kaffe og en kage? For historic reasons, Danish may very well be the closest foreign language to English, seeing as old Anglo-Saxon had its geographical origin in the southern parts of Denmark. In this class, which gives you the opportunity to fulfill your language requirement in two semesters, you will be brought up to a level where you can communicate with a Dane in everyday situations and be able to read short stories, simple newspaper articles, etcetera within the period of a few short months. We will also watch a variety of Danish films to acquaint you with the rhythm of the language and to introduce you to modern Danish culture. The type of classroom environment fostered in this Danish language class will be student-centered rather than teacher-centered. This means that I will not typically stand in front of class giving you a prepared lecture. Instead, 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, listen for specific words or phrases, or get the gist of a text. Furthermore, we will spend quite a lot of time on pronunciation (since this constitutes one of the bigger challenges of learning Danish). Learning about life and culture in Denmark is, of course, an integral part of the course, and we will spend most Fridays discussing Danish culture or watching Danish movies so you will become familiar with the rhythm and pronunciation of Danish.

DAN 327 • Advanced Danish I

36815 • Fall 2019
Meets TTH 1:00PM-2:30PM BUR 376

In Advanced Danish 327 the student will get enhanced reading, writing, and speaking skills in Danish as well as improved listening abilities and get a more thorough understanding of the language and its structures. Finally, the student will gain a deeper understanding of Danish culture.

This course will continue on from material covered in DAN 612.

GSD 341J • Contemp Scandinavn Stories

37155 • Fall 2019
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM CMA 3.114
GCWr (also listed as EUS 347)

Description:

The principal focus of this course will be to analyze contemporary Scandinavian literature, film and comics 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 discuss 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. The Scandinavian comics scene is experiencing a diverse and creative growth mirroring the international development in the field and visual culture plays an important role in discussions of sustainability, immigration, equality and democracy in the North.

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.

 

Readings:

Books:

Stieg Larsson: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Erlend Loe: Doppler

Mikael Niemi: Popular Music from Vittula

Steffen Kverneland: Munch

 

Films and TV series:

Thomas Vinterberg: The Celebration

Aki Kaurismäki: The Man Without Past

Lukas Moodysson: Show me love

Amanda Kernell: Sami Blood

Nicolaj Arcel: A Royal Affair

Kristoffer Nyholm:  The Killing

 

DAN 612 • Accelerated Second-Year Danish

37485 • Spring 2019
Meets MWF 9:00AM-11:00AM BUR 234

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.

T C 358 • Copenhagen - City Of Culture

42275 • Spring 2019
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM CRD 007A

Copenhagen – City of Culture

At various points in history, Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark, has been a cultural hub, which has fostered famous writers, filmmakers, philosophers, architects and designers. This course is an interdisciplinary course that uses Copenhagen as a prism through which to look at cultural developments in European history and get a wider perspective on specifically the culture of the Scandinavian countries. This course uses human geography and philosophies of place to discuss what makes a place like Copenhagen special and how we can use an understanding of places to know more about the people and events that shaped and were shaped by the city.

Throughout the course we will delve into the Golden Age of Copenhagen in the Romantic period through readings of famous Danes like H.C. Andersen and Søren Kierkegaard. We will also dig into the Modern Breakthrough where writers like Georg Brandes and J.P. Jacobsen set the scene for a cultural movement that also included well known Scandinavians like August Strindberg and Edward Munch.

Copenhagen´s history has shaped some of its current cultural expressions and the course will go into depth with the urban planning strategies of the city, the thoughts of some of its famous architects as well as its current claim to fame as one of the bicycle capitals of the world. City planning ties in with the Danish welfare state (or Nordic model) which will be discussed as it also plays a role in the film culture of Denmark, specifically with the Dogma 95 directors like Lars von Trier and Thomas Vinterberg. Recently, “New Nordic” or “Nordic Cool” has meant a hightened focus on Nordic fashion, Nordic Design and Nordic cooking which in this class will be discussed through Copenhagen´s world famous restaurants and the designers that calls this city home. To some, Copenhagen will be known mostly through the many TV-series that have surfaced featuring the city and this course uses this platform to discuss issues of gender, equality and politics in Denmark through a closer look at the Nordic crime fiction wave.    

The streets of Copenhagen has been traversed by famous philosophers, fictive crime fiction heroes and the Copenhageners in their everyday life and as such, it serves as a great point of departure for historical and contemporary discussions of life in Scandinavia and how it relates to the US.  

Major texts/readings:

Cresswell, Tim. Place – a short introduction.

Jan Gehl. Life between the buildings.

Søren Kierkegaard

H.C. Andersen

Karen Blixen

Peter Høeg: Smilla’s sense of snow

Nella Larsen: Quicksand

TV series: Kristoffer Nyholm:  The Killing

Adam Price: Borgen

Film: Nicolaj Arcel A royal affair

 

Assignments:

Essays (one resubmit, one peer review): 30%

Final essay (6-8 pages long): 30%

Smaller writing assignments: 20%

Participation (in class exercises, discussions and one oral presentation): 20%

 

The essays are 3-4 pages long, the smaller assignments address key features, concepts or writing skills and are 1 page long. There will be 5 smaller assignments throughout the semester.

About the Professor: Rilke Platz Cortsen is lecturer in Danish and teaches Scandinavian culture and Danish language at the Department of Germanic Studies. She holds a Ph.D. in graphic narrative and an MA in comparative literature from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Her current research includes space and place in contemporary Nordic comics, Danish comics, Scandinavian culture, heavy metal music and innovative teaching strategies.

DAN 604 • Accelerated First-Year Danish

37625 • Fall 2018
Meets MWF 9:00AM-11:00AM SZB 278

Why Learn Danish? Ja, hvorfor ikke? You will be given the opportunity to get to know a new language and culture. Learning Danish will also provide you with the necessary skills to read texts in the other Scandinavian languages. Danish and English are very similar in sentence structure and basic vocabulary: Vil du have en kop kaffe og en kage? For historic reasons, Danish may very well be the closest foreign language to English, seeing as old Anglo-Saxon had its geographical origin in the southern parts of Denmark. In this class, which gives you the opportunity to fulfill your language requirement in two semesters, you will be brought up to a level where you can communicate with a Dane in everyday situations and be able to read short stories, simple newspaper articles, etcetera within the period of a few short months. We will also watch a variety of Danish films to acquaint you with the rhythm of the language and to introduce you to modern Danish culture. The type of classroom environment fostered in this Danish language class will be student-centered rather than teacher-centered. This means that I will not typically stand in front of class giving you a prepared lecture. Instead, 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, listen for specific words or phrases, or get the gist of a text. Furthermore, we will spend quite a lot of time on pronunciation (since this constitutes one of the bigger challenges of learning Danish). Learning about life and culture in Denmark is, of course, an integral part of the course, and we will spend most Fridays discussing Danish culture or watching Danish movies so you will become familiar with the rhythm and pronunciation of Danish.

DAN 327 • Advanced Danish I

37627 • Fall 2018

Course Description

In Advanced Danish 327 the student will get enhanced reading, writing, and speaking skills in Danish as well as improved listening abilities and get a more thorough understanding of the language and its structures. Finally, the student will gain a deeper understanding of Danish culture.

The student will for the individual classes:

Read a Danish short story/other type of text Submit a paper about a topic chosen by the instructor.

Listen to a Danish radio program or watch a television show and present an oral summary.

Read grammar sheets and do grammatical exercises or study pronunciation.

GSD 341E • Hans Christian Andersen

38010 • Fall 2018
Meets MWF 1:00PM-2:00PM PHR 2.114
GCWr (also listed as EUS 347)

Description

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.

 

DAN 612 • Accelerated Second-Year Danish

37365 • Spring 2018
Meets MWF 1:00PM-3:00PM BUR 234

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.

GSD 301 • Intro Study Of Northern Europe

37740 • Spring 2018
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM RLM 5.122
GC (also listed as EUS 307)

OUR GSD  COURSES ARE TAUGHT IN ENGLISH.

Description:

If you walk into the cities of Northern Europe, ride trains across the region's landscapes or ferries across its waterways, visit its museums, read its news, walk through its forests or onto its mountains, or engage with it in any way, you will see living connections between today and deep and often conflicting layers of history.  

            This course will start from iconic moments, events, and images from Northern Europe (Austria, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland), and then it will unfold these icons back into history and culture.  Its goal is to help you see what the many-layered terrain of Northern Europe means to its inhabitants and its various interlocutors, while introducing you to the various ways in which the humanities and its scholarship helps us understand it. 

            In approximate order, the topics treated will be:

1.         The Local and the Global:  Countrysides, Landscapes, Maps, and Borders

2.         The Many Faces of Migration:  From the Migration Age through Today

3.         Countries, Castles, and Cities:  Reading Spaces

4.         Religions as Culture:  Churches, Synagogues, and Temples

5.         Memorials, Memories, and Museums:  The Public Face of History

6.         Circulation:  Showing, Telling, Writing, Communicating

 

Readings:

READINGS:

Ibsen, Doll's House

Kierkegard, selection from  Notes From Underground

Benjamin, selection from the Arcades Project

Kafka, Metamorphosis

Spinoza, selection from EthicsI and Tractatus Theologico-pPoliticus

Kant, What is Enlightenment?

Marx, Communist Manifesto

 

VIEWING (excerpts):

Hello, Lenin

The Girl with a Pearl Earring

Sisi (the musical)

Head-On

Elling

Festen

Magic Flute

The Ogre

 

Grading:

3 short projects (5-8 pp) % 10% each = 30%

annotated bibiography for final project = 10%

final project (split between draft and final) = 30%

thee short online tests = 30%

DAN 604 • Accelerated First-Year Danish

37850 • Fall 2017
Meets MWF 1:00PM-3:00PM BUR 234

Why Learn Danish? Ja, hvorfor ikke? You will be given the opportunity to get to know a new language and culture. Learning Danish will also provide you with the necessary skills to read texts in the other Scandinavian languages. Danish and English are very similar in sentence structure and basic vocabulary: Vil du have en kop kaffe og en kage? For historic reasons, Danish may very well be the closest foreign language to English, seeing as old Anglo-Saxon had its geographical origin in the southern parts of Denmark. In this class, which gives you the opportunity to fulfill your language requirement in two semesters, you will be brought up to a level where you can communicate with a Dane in everyday situations and be able to read short stories, simple newspaper articles, etcetera within the period of a few short months. We will also watch a variety of Danish films to acquaint you with the rhythm of the language and to introduce you to modern Danish culture. The type of classroom environment fostered in this Danish language class will be student-centered rather than teacher-centered. This means that I will not typically stand in front of class giving you a prepared lecture. Instead, 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, listen for specific words or phrases, or get the gist of a text. Furthermore, we will spend quite a lot of time on pronunciation (since this constitutes one of the bigger challenges of learning Danish). Learning about life and culture in Denmark is, of course, an integral part of the course, and we will spend most Fridays discussing Danish culture or watching Danish movies so you will become familiar with the rhythm and pronunciation of Danish.

GSD 340 • Northern European Comics

38250 • Fall 2017
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM MEZ 1.120
GCWr (also listed as C L 323, EUS 347)

Description:

The burgeoning field of comics and graphic novels has received attention in the last few decades where publishers, critics and new readers have engaged enthusiastically with a medium which has historically not been at the pinnacle of cultural good taste. This course provides an introduction to comics and graphic novel with an emphasis on works from Northern Europe as a specific area of comics culture that tends to stand in the shadow of more known comics cultures. The course will go into depth with the mechanics of comics, how images and text work together, as well as how this particular way of telling stories relates to other media. The main readings will delve into the rich material from the Northern European sphere but will situate these comics in the wider world of international comics culture through parallel readings of American, Franco-Belgian and Japanese manga. The main focus will be on comics from the last 30 years, but the course will include a historical element that considers the history of comics globally.

One of the main reasons comics have surfaced as an artistically viable and serious medium in recent years is the diversity of subjects and the quality of writing and drawing of comics artists today. This course discusses style, line, coloring and structure as important aspects of comics and graphic novels story telling but also emphasizes the wide variety of topics that comics portray with great sensibility and complexity. From adventure stories to graphic memoir, from avant-garde experimental comics to newspaper humor strips, this course allows you to read, write, discuss and think critically about comics and graphic novels as well as it provides a greater understanding of the cultures of Northern Europe.

The course meets the Writing Flag and the Global Cultures Flag Criteria

 

Course Materials:

Ivan Brunetti, Cartooning: Philosophy & Practice (Yale UP)

Jeet Heer & Kent Worcester, eds., A Comics Studies Reader (UP Mississippi).

Jason: Hey, wait…

Steffen Kverneland: Munch

Tommi Musturi: Book of Hope

Tove Jansson:  Moomin

Martin Kellerman: Rocky

Ulli Lust: This is the last day in the rest of your life.

 

Grading

Essays: 30%   

Final essay: 20%        

Quizzes: 20%             

Midterm: 10%            

Participation: 20%

NB: plus/minus grades will be assigned in this class.

DAN 612 • Accelerated Second-Year Danish

37780 • Spring 2017
Meets MWF 1:00PM-3:00PM BUR 234

 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.

GSD 341J • Contemp Scandinavn Stories

38180 • Spring 2017
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM CLA 0.122
GCWr

Description:

The principal focus of this course will be to analyze contemporary Scandinavian literature, film and comics 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 discuss 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. The Scandinavian comics scene is experiencing a diverse and creative growth mirroring the international development in the field and visual culture plays an important role in discussions of sustainability, immigration, equality and democracy in the North.

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.

 

Readings:

Books:

Stieg Larsson: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Erlend Loe: Doppler

Mikael Niemi: Popular Music from Vittula

Steffen Kverneland: Munch

 

Films and TV series:

Thomas Vinterberg: The Celebration

Aki Kaurismäki: The Man Without Past

Lukas Moodysson: Show me love

Amanda Kernell: Sami Blood

Nicolaj Arcel: A Royal Affair

Kristoffer Nyholm:  The Killing

 

DAN 604 • Accelerated First-Year Danish

37630 • Fall 2016
Meets MWF 1:00PM-3:00PM BUR 234

Why Learn Danish? Ja, hvorfor ikke? You will be given the opportunity to get to know a new language and culture. Learning Danish will also provide you with the necessary skills to read texts in the other Scandinavian languages. Danish and English are very similar in sentence structure and basic vocabulary: Vil du have en kop kaffe og en kage? For historic reasons, Danish may very well be the closest foreign language to English, seeing as old Anglo-Saxon had its geographical origin in the southern parts of Denmark. In this class, which gives you the opportunity to fulfill your language requirement in two semesters, you will be brought up to a level where you can communicate with a Dane in everyday situations and be able to read short stories, simple newspaper articles, etcetera within the period of a few short months. We will also watch a variety of Danish films to acquaint you with the rhythm of the language and to introduce you to modern Danish culture. The type of classroom environment fostered in this Danish language class will be student-centered rather than teacher-centered. This means that I will not typically stand in front of class giving you a prepared lecture. Instead, 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, listen for specific words or phrases, or get the gist of a text. Furthermore, we will spend quite a lot of time on pronunciation (since this constitutes one of the bigger challenges of learning Danish). Learning about life and culture in Denmark is, of course, an integral part of the course, and we will spend most Fridays discussing Danish culture or watching Danish movies so you will become familiar with the rhythm and pronunciation of Danish

 

GSD 341E • Hans Christian Andersen

38035 • Fall 2016
Meets MWF 11:00AM-12:00PM RLM 5.116
GCWr (also listed as EUS 347)

Description

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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