Archive for the 'Teaching and Learning' Category

7th International Summer School in Manuscript Studies

Details of this year’s summer school in Medieval Scandinavian Manuscript Studies, to be held in Copenhagen, have now been published. It will take place on 12-20 August 2010. This event has been amazingly successful, and usually gets booked up quickly, so if you’re interested it would be a good idea to register as soon as possible.

Where to Study Medieval Scandinavia, 1: North America

I recently got an enquiry from an American student (Hi, Meg!) about the universities in the States that might offer courses in Old Norse at either undergraduate or postgraduate level. At Kalamazoo last year, in a round-table on the state of Saga Studies in the USA, one of the speakers claimed there were 38 institutions (I think) that offered Old Norse language in their syllabus. But I didn’t get a list, so I thought that we might try to compile one together. When we’ve identified likely universities, I’m going to try to get in contact with teachers in various locations and ask them to describe the opportunities available to students in our field.

So: where do (or can) you study Old Norse literature, language, and Medieval Scandinavian history/archaeology in North America (Canada is certainly to be included). Please leave a comment or use the contact page to let us know.

The information that would be most useful is:

  • What courses are available?
  • Which departments offer them?
  • Are they undergraduate or postgraduate level?
  • Are there opportunities for PhD research in these disciplines?

Once we’ve built up a database of North American institutions, we’ll move on to the rest of the world. Thanks for your help!

Aarhus University Summer Schools 2010

Our colleagues at Aarhus have now released details of next year’s summer schools in Medieval Scandinavian studies.  These summer schools have been a really great success in recent years (see Maja Bäckvall’s report on last summer’s event, for example). Next year there will be two summer schools. Click on the links for further details:

1. Viking Age Scandinavia – Transformation and Expansion

The University of Aarhus Summer School on Viking Age Scandinavia is an intensive short-session course designed to meet the needs of students interested in a brief but challenging educational experience during the summer.

Teaching takes place in a museum environment and brings together Danish and foreign students and staff. The course is open to BA and MA students in archaeology, history, literature and related disciplines from Denmark and elsewhere, as well as to other foreign students in Denmark and history teachers in secondary schools. The language of teaching is English.

Lecturers include Else Roesdahl, Unn Pedersen, and James Graham-Campbell.

2. From Greenland to Hell – Worldly, Mythological and Visionary Travels in Old Norse Literature

This summer school course focuses on travelling and encounters with the Other, themes that are widespread in a variety of Old Norse genres, both in historical, mythological and religious literature. The Old Norse texts will be studied primarily from a literary perspective, but will also be regarded as documents of a culture encountering the unknown.

The course allows you access to the latest knowledge in the field of international Old Norse studies. It is an intensive short session course designed to meet the needs of students interested in a challenging educational experience during the summer. Teaching takes place in a multinational environment, which brings together students and staff from different countries in Europe an abroad. The course provides you with an excellent opportunity to meet international lecturers and fellow students and to earn credit during the summer.

This course will be led by Pernille Hermann and Rolf Stavnem. Full details will be posted on the above website later this month.

Survey: Where’d you learn Old Norse that way?

The new academic year is kicking into gear now, and that means that all around the world a gratifying number of brand new students will be opening Old Norse textbooks for the first time, and getting stuck into the declensions. As ever, I’m feeling nervous about the prospect of facing an unknown class, full of people with radically different expectations and levels of experience–particularly in language-learning. I usually am very lucky with my classes, but I’m in the (probably very unusual position) of teaching in a department where Norse is a compulsory first-year course, so I always have some students who would rather be doing something else and for whom learning a dead language is difficult, boring, and superficially pointless. Not many, but one or two. Read more »

Learn Old Norse in Limerick

Dr Cathy Swift has written to inform us that Irish Conference of Medievalists is running an 11-Day Introduction to Old Norse Language and Literature at Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, Ireland, from 20-30 July.

This summer school, which is based on the successful format in which Old Irish has been taught at Limerick for the past few years, will be taught by Dr Katrina Burge of the University of Melbourne. Students will spend about 60 hours learning Old Norse over the course of the eleven days

They offer Bed &  Breakfast accommodation at 25 euros per night  and a taxi service to sights of Norse interest in the mid-west of Ireland whenever the teacher allows us to take a break. Price for the course is 300 euros.

The course is open to all. If you’re interested, please contact Cathy directly by email at

Good News from Birmingham

[Apologies for the long gap between posts — I’ve been away.]

Chris Callow writes to give us the very heartening news that Old Norse language is returning to the syllabus at the University of Birmingham, after a few year’s hiatus. Chris will be teaching an introductory level course in the School of History and Cultures. He hopes to extend the teaching to more advanced levels in the future.

Chris also thought that Old Norse News readers might be interested in Birmingham’s new  MA in Medieval History, which has its first
intake in September 2009:

It is expected that this will be the precursor to a series of other taught, graduate-level programmes in medieval studies and Late Antiquity which will become available over the next few years.

Finally, he mentions that Old Norse and Viking-Age scholars will be more than welcome at the annual Gender and Medieval Studies conference held in Birmingham on 7th-10th January 2010 (see The theme of the conference next year will be the family.

Obviously exciting times for medievalists at Birmingham, and I’m grateful to Chris for letting us know about them.

Learn Old Norse — The Alaric Way

Alaric Hall, the benefactor to society whose ‘Magic Sheet‘ of Old Norse paradigms has been one of the most popular links on Old Norse News, wrote a while back to advertise some more teaching materials that he’s put on line for the benefit of beginners in Old Norse language. Most excitingly, you can watch videos of Alaric explaining the Magic Sheet in person! There are also some texts to read, and some lectures on the cultural background to the subject. Enjoy!

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