SCANG015 - Nordic Literature in a Global World

Value: 15 credits
Tutor: Dr Jakob Stougaard-Nielsen
Teaching structure: The module meetings will take the form of a mixture between lectures, seminar discussions, student-led discussions and student presentations. MA students will be meeting with the module tutor for specialized tutorials. There will be a two-hour weekly seminar (jointly with undergraduate version of this module) plus five extra seminars for MA students.
Assessment: One 4,000-word essay and participation in online forum.

Module Description:

This module examines contemporary literature written in the Nordic languages (Danish, Faroese, Finnish, Greenlandic, Icelandic, Norwegian, Swedish) through the themes, theories and perspectives of migration, exile, postnationalism, postcolonialism, cosmopolitanism, regionalism, world literature, translation and adaptation. The module will investigate what Nordic literature is, when so many literary works today are traversing, ignoring or rewriting the geographical, temporal, ethnic and linguistic borders that traditionally marked the limits of national cultures, identities and societies. Works studied in the original languages and/or in English will be by Kerstin Ekman, Peter Høeg, Mikael Niemi, Jonas Hassen Khemiri and Jakob Ejersbo or similar.

The module meetings will take the form of a mixture between lectures, seminar discussions, student-led discussions and student presentations. MA students will be meeting with the module tutor for specialized tutorials. Moodle will be used both as a repository for reading materials but also for preparatory assignments in the form of forum discussions on Moodle.

Preparatory Reading and Set Texts:


  • Jakob Ejserbo, Eksil (2009; English translation by Mette Petersen: Exile: Book One of the Africa Trilogy, 2011)
  • Kerstin Ekman, Händelser vid vatten (1993; English Translation by Joan Tate: Blackwater, 1996)
  • Peter Høeg, Frøken Smillas Fornemmelse for Sne (1992; English Translation by F. David: Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow, 1996)
  • Jonas Hassen Khemiri, Montecore - En unik tiger (2006; English translation by Rachel Willson-Broyles: Montecore: The Silence of the Tiger, 2011)
  • Jan Kjærstad, Forføreren (1993; English translation by Barbara J. Haveland: The Seducer, 2003)
  • Henning Mankell, Mördare utan ansikte (1991; English translation by Steven T. Murray: Faceless Killers, 1997)
  • Mikael Niemi, Populärmusik från Vittula (2000; English translation by Laurie Thompson: Popular Music from Vittula, 2004)


  • Mördare utan ansikte. Dir. Per Berglund. Perf. Rolf Lassgård. SVT, 1995. TV-Film.
  • Faceless Killers. Dir. Philip Martin. Perf. Kenneth Branagh. Left Bank Pictures/Yellow Bird. TV-Film. 3 January 2010.

Secondary Texts:

  • Appiah, K. Anthony. Cosmopolitanism. Ethics in a World of Strangers. New York: Norton, 2006.
  • Appadurai, Arjun. Globalization. Durham: Duke University Press, 2005.
  • Beck, Ulrich. What is Globalization? Cambridge: Polity Press, 2000.
  • Beck, Ulrich. Cosmopolitan Vision. Cambridge: Polity Press, 2006.
  • Behschnitt, Wilhelm (ed.). Literature, Language, and Multiculturalism in Scandinavia and the Low Countries. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2012.
  • Brink-Gabler, Gisela and Sidonie Smith (eds.). Writing New Identities. Gender, Nation, and Immigration in Contemporary Europe. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1997.
  • Damrosch, David. What Is World Literature? Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003.
  • Frank, Søren. Migration and Literature: Günter Grass, Milan Kundera, Salman Rushdie, and Jan Kjærstad. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.
  • Gebauer, Mirjam and Pia Schwarz Lausten (eds). Migration and Literature in Contemporary Europe. München: Martin Meidenbauer, 2010.
  • Gröndahl, Satu (ed.). Litteraturens gränsland. Invandrar- och minoritetslitteratur i nordiskt perspektiv. Uppsala Multiethnic Papers 45. Centrum för multietnisk forskning, Uppsala 2002.
  • Kongslien, Ingeborg. “New Voices, New Themes, New Perspectives. Contemporary Scandinavian Multicultural Literature”, Scandinavian Studies, 2007, Vol. 79: 2, pp. 197-226.
  • Moen, Randi Langen (ed.). Emigrant literature and Emigrated Authors: The Nordic Countries in a World Perspective. Panozzo Editore, 2005.
  • Nestingen, Andrew. Crime and Fantasy in Scandinavia: Fiction, Film, and Social Change. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2008.
  • Ponzanesi, Sandra and Daniela Merola (eds.). Migrant Cartographies. New Cultural and Literary Spaces in Post-Colonial Europe. New York: Lexington Books, 2005.
  • Simonsen, Karen-Margrethe and Jakob Stougaard-Nielsen (eds). World Literature, World Culture: History, Theory, Analysis. Aarhus: University of Aarhus Press, 2008.
  • Thomsen, Mads Rosendahl. Mapping World Literature: International Canonization and Transnational Literatures. London: Continuum, 2008.
  • Thisted, Kirsten. "The Power to Represent. Intertextuality and Discourse in Miss Smilla’s Sense of Snow." In Michael Bravo and Sverker Sörlin (eds), Narrating the Arctic. A Cultural History of the Nordic Scientific Practices. Science History Publications, 2002, pp. 311-342.
  • Tomlinson, John (ed.). Globalization and Culture. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999.
  • Zizek, Slavoj. "Henning Mankell: The Artist of the Parallax View". In, 2004 (accessed 30/09/2012).