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Showing posts from March, 2015

On fate

I'm working, in my head at least, on a talk about the Saga of the Faeroe Islands, specifically on the character of Thrand Göteskegg. He's such a contrast to Sigmund, the hero of the saga. Unlike many other sagas, this one is structured along the lines of a hero and anti-hero, and one of the distinguishing features in this saga between the hero and anti-hero is the degree to which fate controls their lives. Thrand is in good social standing throughout his life, and uses his own authority and power to maintain his prestige and power. Sigmund's life is much more dramatic, going from the lows of being a homeless beggar to being the king's favorite, to being murdered on the beach, all of his life being governed by luck and fate. The funny thing about the saga though, at least in the context of Flateyarbók, is that there seems to be more narrative attention on Thrand. The saga begins and ends with him, so my students have often argued he is the main character, even though he…

Nordic Heritage Museum

There are a lot of Scandinavian Americans in Washington State, or Nordic Americans if one wants to be sure to be inclusive of Icelanders and Finns also. This is of course why I have my job at the Scandinavian Cultural Center at Pacific Lutheran University.

Another Washington based Scandinavian museum is the Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle, which is  looking to expand into a whole big new designer facility in a downtown tourist district. They've been working on it since 2005 at least, and now things are finally getting critical, with the lease on their current building about to expire in 2018. I've been doing some light consulting with them since 2006, and just a few days ago gave them names of some scholars I thought they should contact to flesh out the medieval history and Nordic identity sections of the exhibition. I hope my suggestion proves helpful.

Life is full of interesting challenges, and I always seem to be happiest when I've got some project I'm working on,…

November 2014

So, I changed my profile description yesterday, to reflect the fact that I no longer live in Iceland. Haven't actually since 2011, but I guess it took me a while to officially accept that. In fact, it wasn't until November of 2014 that it really sunk in.

That is when I went to Iceland with my brother, sister, and niece. It was my niece's 18th birthday, my sister's 50th birthday, my brother's 45th birthday. It was not any special year birthday for me (although I considered it significant, as the answer to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Universe) but I was along as a guide.

Going as a guide to Iceland was appropriate I thought, since my mom couldn't go, and since I do know a lot more about Iceland than my siblings. It was also kind of strange, because they had the unabashed enthusiasm of most tourists to Iceland, excited to see the Leifur Eiriksson statue, blown away by the great nightlife (even in November), eager to take pictures of all the waterfalls.

I ca…