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Dr Claire Thomson

Senior Lecturer in Scandinavian Film

Dr Claire Thomson

Background: I gained my PhD in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Edinburgh, and hold an MA in Modern European Languages and European Union Studies (French and Danish) and an MSc in the Practice and Theory of Translation, also from the University of Edinburgh. I lectured in Scandinavian Studies at the University of East Anglia for four years before joining UCL as a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in 2004, in connection with the research programme Identities and Culture in Europe since 1945. After a year as UCL Teaching Fellow in Danish, I was appointed to a lectureship in Scandinavian Film, teaching in the Department of Scandinavian Studies and in the Centre for Intercultural Studies, primarily for UCL's MA in Film Studies. I am also a director of  Norvik Press, and editor of the journal Scandinavica.

Research: My doctoral and postdoctoral projects explored the role of the visual arts and literary genres in shaping and reflecting (post-)national identities in Scandinavian and Scottish culture. My current research centres on intercultural, multisensory, posthumanist theory and eco-critical approaches to cinema and literature. In other words, I have always been interested in how texts function as spaces (or maybe machines) for the negotiation of collective identities; what kinds of imagined communities emerge after the nation state, and how can we understand their entanglement with more-than-human entities?...I edited the anthology Northern Constellations: New Readings in Nordic Cinema (Norvik Press, 2006) (more...), and my work on Nordic and Scottish literature and film have appeared in various books and journals including New Cinemas: Journal of Contemporary Film, Synsvinkler: Tidskrift for nordisk sprog og litteratur, Scandinavica, Short Film Studies, and Language and Literature. My book on the first Dogme 95 film and the transition to digital filmmaking, Thomas Vinterberg's FESTEN, for Washington University Press' Nordic Film Classics series, will be published in November 2013. Ongoing projects include an anthology of eco-critical essays on Nordic culture, in collaboration with Christopher Oscarson of Brigham Young University. In 2013-14, I am based at the Danish Film Institute in Copenhagen, researching a book on Dansk Kulturfilm, the Danish agency for educational and public information films.

Contact: Room 203, 16-18 Gordon Square; email:; tel: +44 (0)20 7679 3177

Other homepages: UCL Mellon Programme; UCL Film Studies

Office hours: on sabbatical leave 2013-14; no office hours. To contact me, please email


(on research sabbatical 2013-14 - no courses running)

Administration and enabling

Research publications

Northern ConstellationsFramed HorizonsThomas Vinterberg's FESTENLove and Modernity
  • Monograph:

Thomas Vinterberg's FESTEN. Nordic Film Classics Series. Seattle: University of Washington Press, forthcoming 2013 

  • Edited books:

Love and Modernity. Scandinavian Literature, Drama and Letters. Essays in Honour of Professor Janet Garton. Ed. with Elettra Carbone. London: Norvik Press, 2013.

Framed Horizons: Student Writing on Nordic Cinema. Ed with Marita Fraser, Melissa Powell, Rose-Anne Ross, Anna V. Strauss. London: Norvik Press, 2012.

Northern Constellations: New Readings in Nordic Cinema. Norwich: Norvik Press, 2006 (edited book)

  • Journal articles:

'Lamper, lys og oplysning. Om PH's Danmark og Ole Roos' PH-Lys.' Kosmorama 249 (May 2013) [Danish version] [English version: 'Lamps, light and enlightenment: PH's Denmark and Ole Roos' PH-Light']

'(Hot) Dogs. Of Fast Food and Companion Species.' Short Film Studies 3:1 (2013) 45-48.

'Air, Scent and the Senses'. Short Film Studies 1:2 (2011), 245-9.

'Material Resistance: Mogens Klitgaard’s Den guddommelige Hverdag (1942) as National Narrative and Technotext.' Scandinavica 47:1 (2008) 47-71

‘Fortællinger om huden: Peter Høegs posthumane kroppe' (Tales of the Skin: Peter Høeg’s Posthuman Bodies). Synsvinkler: Tidsskrift for nordisk litteratur og sprog (May 2007) pp 24-49

'It's All About Snow: Limning the Posthuman Body in Solaris (Tarkovsky, 1972) and It's All About Love (Vinterberg, 2003)'. New Cinemas: Journal of Contemporary Film 5:1 (Easter 2007) pp 3-21

‘Re-imagining Nordic National Narratives' (survey essay, as guest editor of theme issue on Nordic National Narratives). Scandinavica 44:2 (Nov 2005) pp131-142

'Walking in the City, Mapping the World: Migrational Spaces in Peer Hultberg's Byen og verden'. Scandinavica 44:2 (Nov 2005) pp203-228

'"Slainte, I goes and he says his word": Morvern Callar Undergoes the Trial of the Foreign'. Language and Literature 13:1 (January 2004) pp55-71

'"Vi æder vores eget lort": Scatology and Eschatology in Peter Høeg's Forestilling om det tyvende århundrede'. Scandinavica 41:1 (May 2002) pp 37-59

'"My Water of Leith Runs Through a Double City": Cityscape and Mindscape in the Poetry of Norman MacCaig and Klaus Rifbjerg'. Northern Studies: The Journal of the Scottish Society for Northern Studies 34 (1999) pp 61-88

  • Book chapters and essays:

'This Site is under Construction: Remediating the Øresund Region Around the Millennium', Forthcoming in Comparative History of Nordic Literary Cultures Vol. II: Place, ed. Dan Ringgard, Thomas DuBois, International Comparative Literature Association.

'"Ladies and Gentlemen! You are Beings From A World More Advanced than Your Own!" Civilizing Sublimities in Early Danish Science Fiction.' In Love and Modernity. Scandinavian Literature, Drama and Letters. Essays in Honour of Professor Janet Garton. Ed. with Elettra Carbone. London: Norvik Press, 2013, pp141-65.

‘Laterna Magica’. In Conversation Pieces: Inspirational Objects in UCL’s Historic Collections. Ed. Mark Carnall. Shire Publications, July 2013.

'"The Delayed Rays of a Star": Strindberg's Celestographs in the Light of Camera Lucida'. Swedish Book Review 2012:2, pp50-6.

'"The Sun will Shine on the Homes of the Future": Danish Welfare Architecture on a Scale of 1:1'. In Urban Constellations, ed. Matthew Gandy. Berlin: Jovis, 2011, pp199-202.

'The Artist's Touch: Dreyer, Thorvaldsen, Venus'.  (Also available in Danish as  'Kunstnerens hånd: Dreyer, Thorvaldsen, Venus'). Danish Film Institute: Carl Th. Dreyer: The Man and His Work. May 2010

'"Cultivate the Nation, Don’t Nationalise Culture!": Intercultural cinema in a small language department'.  Liaison Magazine 4, LLAS Subject Centre, January 2010 [download as pdf]

'The Tale-End of History: Literary Form, Historiography, and the Danish (Post)national Imagination' in Mole, Richard (ed.) (2007): Discursive Constructions of Identity in European Politics. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

'Denmark: Narratives and Fictions of Empire' in Poddar, Prem, Rajeev S. Patke and Lars Jensen (eds): A Historical Companion to Postcolonial Literatures. Continental Europe and its Empires. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2008, pp 88-91

'Quiet existences: Silence, Language and Landscape in the Fiction of Vibeke Grønfeldt, Andrew Greig and Alan Warner’. In Thomsen, Bjarne Thorup (ed.) (2007): Centring on the Peripheries: Studies in Scandinavian, Scottish, Gaelic and Greenlandic Literature. Norwich: Norvik Press (more...)

'"A Land of Machines": On Time, Technology and Otherness in some Tales by H.C. Andersen'. In Renton, J. (ed.): Textualities 1: Magic Afoot (May 2006) pp 57-66 (

'Starry Constellations and Icy Fractals: Reading Nordic Films Past and Present'. In Thomson, C. Claire (ed.) (2006): Northern Constellations: New Readings in Nordic Cinema. Norwich: Norvik Press

'Incense in the Snow: Topologies of Intimacy and Interculturality in Friðriksson's Cold Fever and Gondry's Jóga'. In Thomson, C. Claire (ed.) (2006): Northern Constellations: New Readings in Nordic Cinema. Norwich: Norvik Press

‘”En usynlig krop”: Transgressing the Boundaries of the Body in Vibeke Grønfeldt’s Mulighedernes land and I dag’. In Forsås-Scott, H. (ed.) (2004): Gender, Power, Text. Scandinavian Culture in the Twentieth Century. Norwich: Norvik Press (more...)

Essays on 'Nationalism', 'Paludan-Møller', 'Grundtvig', 'Oehlenschläger' and 'Ingemann' in Murray, C.J. (ed.) (2003), Encyclopedia of the Romantic Era, Fitzroy Dearborn, New York

  • Comedy, podcasts, etc.

Podcasts 33 and 33a at