Scandinavian history at Cal

When I was an undergraduate in the Scandinavian Department here at UC Berkeley, one of our professors was a historian. He specialized in Swedish history, and had written his doctorate on Linneas. I really enjoyed taking classes from him, even though it was pretty brutal trying to slog through 17th century Swedish original documents.

He retired over 10 years ago, and since then we have not had a historian in the department. The Swedish specialist we got to replace Dr. Larson is a modern literature expert, who specializes in narrative theory.

Now we have another professorship available in the department, but as far as I know, none of the candidates are historians by training.

Because of my own background and training, it strikes me as a bit odd to talk about the literature of Scandinavia without also being able to have a nuanced appreciation of Scandinavian history. But clearly I am in the minority.


Raimo said…
The Swedish government was responsible for the most iron ore the Nazis received. Kiruna-Gällivare ore fields in Northern Sweden were all important to Nazi Germany.

These massive deliveries of iron ore and military facilities from Sweden to Nazi Germany lengthened World War II. Casualties of the war have been estimated at 20 million killed in Europe. How many of them died due to Sweden's material support to Nazi Germany, is not known.

The Swedish drinking toast (skal) has a rather macabre background; it originally meant 'skull'. The word has come down from a custom practiced by the warlike and terrorist Vikings who used the dried-out skulls of their enemies as drinking mugs, with the evident advantage that the mug held a large quantity of mead and could be easily replaced.

The Viking raids are remembered: Spanish-speaking mothers warn their children that if they do not behave, the Norwegian (el noruego) will carry them off.

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