an exploration of all things nordic

Norwegian Civil Resistance of the Nazi Occupation: 1940-1945

By Kourtney Juhl Minnesota State University, Mankato After finally gaining independence in 1905,[1] Norway had been a nation intent on building a national identity and relishing their freedom. The Norwegian Kingdom had successfully lived in peace, maintained neutrality through World War I, and hoped to remain neutral from the great conflict that was World War II (WWII). To the Norwegians’ utter shock, those hopes came to a shattering end during the early hours of April 9, 1940, when German forces…

Subsistence Change for the Norse Vikings at Brattahlid, Greenland

By Jennifer Lien University of Wisconsin–Madison The immigration of the Viking pioneers to the North Atlantic islands was a period of expansive exploration, settlement, and colonization. Primary sources such as the King’s Mirror and Erik the Red’s Saga inform us about the lifestyles and the journeys of the Norse into the western part of the North Atlantic Ocean that led to the discovery of habitable islands such as the Faroes, Iceland, Greenland, and Vinland. The Norse settlement at Greenland in…

At the Intersection of Religion and Divorce in History: A Comparative Analysis of Short Stories by Amalie Skram and Kate Chopin

By Ellen Robison University of Wisconsin–Madison Author and scholar Reza Aslan argues that “literature offers not just a window into the culture of diverse regions, but also the society, the politics; it’s the only place where we can keep track of ideas.”[1] Though Aslan lives and writes in the 21st century, this understanding of literature as reflective of society is by no means modern itself; it has long been understood that authors’ writing is situated by their social identities—their identifications…

The War of Laws: Hen-Thorir’s Saga

By Thomas Malcom University of Wisconsin–Madison At first glance Hen-Thorir’s Saga[1] appears to be a simple family saga presenting to the reader a blood feud along with the moral code of the Icelandic society, but in truth it pertains to much deeper societal matters. After peeling back the false front of the saga, it can be seen that the saga discusses the conflict between natural law and positive law, and also how this conflict affected the nation. The question then…

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Desirable or Disturbing? An Analysis of The Sandman

By Kayta Gruneberg University of Wisconsin–Madison The Sandman is a mythical character, popular in Central and Northern European folklore, who brings sleep by sprinkling magical sand onto the eyes of children. The tale of the “The Sandman” has been written numerous times from the perspective of many different cultures, and, as a result, each version of the story drastically differs. Some portray the Sandman as good and lovable while others focus on the morbidity of death. I will focus on…

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Trees are Like People, They Do Not Like To Be Alone: Jens Jensen

By Ryan Gesme University of Wisconsin–Madison Architecture is more than just designing buildings; it is also about the landscaping. One of the most influential landscape architects was Jens Jensen. Jensen was a unique American landscape architect because of his Danish identity and background which he showed by exhibiting a Danish style in the public parks and private homes he designed in the Midwestern region of the United States. In analyzing Jensen’s life, I will illustrate how his Danish upbringing influenced…

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Handshake That Made History

By Ellen Ahlness Minnesota State University, Mankato During the 2013 annual reciprocal troop exchange between Norway’s Heimevernet Home Guard and the Minnesota National Guard at Camp Ripley, Minnesota, Norwegian General Kristin Lund addressed her fellow officers with the adage, “If you stop visiting your friends, they stop being your friends.” In Scandinavian culture, maintaining connections with friends is a premier value, especially when there is a national attitude towards a “culture of closing off those outside your circle of connections.”1Biehtar…

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