2020 Honors in Iceland + Sweden

2020 Honors in Iceland + Sweden

Nordic Justice, Identity, and Culture: From Vikings to Today


Locations: Stockholm, Uppsala, and Linnköping, Sweden and Reykjavik, Iceland

Sponsoring Units: Honors Program, Scandinavian Studies

Dates: Summer Term A: June 22 – July 22, 2020

Credits: 15 total (3 credits in spring will be joined with the 2 credits in summer to equal 5 credits of Honors core)

Course Credits Credit Type
HONORS 213: Nordic Justice, Identity, and Culture (spring prep seminar) 3 Honors Humanities, VLPA, “W”
HONORS 213: Sagas 5 Honors Humanities, VLPA, “W”
HONORS 384: Nordic Noir: Justice, Society, and Identity 5 Honors Interdisciplinary, VLPA/I&S, “W”
HONORS 213: Introduction to Nordic Languages 2 Honors Humanities, VLPA, “W”

Information Sessions

  • Tuesday, Nov. 19 @ 9 a.m. – MGH 206
  • Wednesday, Dec. 4 @ 4 p.m. – MGH 211E (Honors Library)
  • Thursday, Jan. 16 @ 4 p.m. – MGH 211E (Honors Library)
  • Thursday, Jan. 21 from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. – HUB 214

About the Program

About the Program

This interdisciplinary study abroad program will explore concepts of justice, gender, and identity in Iceland and Sweden; as well as an introduction to Nordic languages. For the first half of the program, we will examine medieval saga literature as a window into the cultural history of Iceland from the Viking Age to the late Middle Ages; we will then move on to learn about contemporary Swedish culture, society, and history through a focus on crime fiction and the popularized Nordic Noir genre. Throughout the program, we will reflect on questions around power structures, access to justice, norms, cultural identity, and intersections with gender, class, race, and religion. Situating our program in Iceland and Sweden will provide opportunities for rich and unique experiential learning such as site visits, field trips, guest lectures. Course assignments will include reflective writing, group discussions, collaborative projects, and presentations. There are no prerequisites for this program and, although we will introduce you to the language, English is widely accepted in both Iceland and Sweden.


The program will be based in Reykjavik, Stockholm, and Uppsala, with excellent transportation options to the surrounding areas and abundant opportunities for learning beyond the classroom. Housing in Reykjavik will be at the Student Hostel on the Háskóli Íslands campus, in Stockholm will be in Zinkensdamm Hostel, with 2 to 4 students per room. Breakfast is provided at the hostel and a communal kitchen is available for meal preparation.

Program Credit / Course Description

Honors 213: Introduction to Nordic Languages,  2 credits (VLPA, “W”). Instructor: Kim Kraft

This course will introduce students to basic pronunciation of Icelandic and Swedish language to help them navigate their visit. Students will learn about historical and cultural significance of the Nordic linguistic community; how the ability to understand one another linguistically has helped to bind the region together culturally; how policies such as the “Declaration on Nordic language policy” as well as media have impacted the Nordic languages.

HONORS 213: Sagas, 5 credits (VLPA, “W”)

Instructor: Lauren Poyer

This course gives students an understanding of medieval saga literature as a genre and as a window into the cultural history of Iceland from the Viking Age to the late Middle Ages. The Sagas of Icelanders narrate the legendary exploits of Iceland’s Viking Age ancestors and examine the power structures of a proto democratic society bordering on anarchy. They contain stories kept alive by oral tradition and shaped by generations of storytellers, and are thus both reflections on the past and interrogations of the present. Themes of the sagas include the conversion to Christianity, the concentration of wealth, and the loss of sovereignty. Through their seamless integration of folklore, myth, and history, the sagas prompt us to examine our own cultural narratives. In this course, we will focus on answering the following questions: Who has access to justice? How does the execution of the law intersect with gender, class, race, and religion?

Students will read a selection of saga literature to examine these questions, as well as visit a variety of Saga Age sites in Iceland and sites that seek to study, represent, recreate, and/or emulate different aspects of the Saga Age. Through encountering medieval Icelanders’ literature, land, and language, students will gain a deeper understanding of the broad relationships between landscape, identity, and power.

HONORS 384: Nordic Noir: Justice, Society, and Identity, 5 credits (VLPA/I&S, W)

Instructor: Kim Kraft

We will explore the Swedish Crime Fiction to consider how our interaction with a country’s literature can lead to a richer understanding of the culture, politics, and society within which it was produced. Students will explore issues related to the Swedish welfare state; the political landscape of Sweden as the country continues to experience considerable changes; and the complex questions around identity and what it means to be Swedish.

As prominent Swedish crime novelist Åke Edwardson argued: “[In Sweden] it is not so much an obsession with crime; it’s using crime to take a good look at the society we are living in” (Ames 2010). In addition to learning through literature, we will tour and hear from experts at universities, museums, think tanks, and governmental and non-governmental organizations. Students will read at least two Swedish novels (in English translation), four films, and several scholarly articles. The reading list will be given to students during the spring quarter prep seminar. Readings and films will be contextualized in-country as students examine the relationship of these works to to law, identity and justice in Sweden. Students will also reflect on their own cultural identities as well as the power of the field of humanities to contribute to social criticism.

Honors 213: Nordic Justice, Identity, and Culture: From Vikings to Today (Spring Quarter Seminar, 3 credits (VLPA, “W”). Required. Note: 2 credits summer w/ 3 credits spring= 5 core Humanities credits

This program requires a 3-credit seminar during spring quarter for all program participants. The seminar will include pre-departure readings, discussions, and assignments, as well as important orientation information such as academic requirements, behavioral expectations, health and safety considerations, and living and travel arrangements.

Program Leadership

Program Leadership

Ph.C. Lauren Poyer received a Masters in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2016 and is current both a PhD candidate at UW-Madison and full-time faculty in the Department of Scandinavian Studies at the University of Washington. Her primary research area is medieval Icelandic language and literature, with a focus on medieval narratives of Christianization. She has presented most recently on her work with medievalism and how modern audiences understand “Viking” culture and values. Lauren has advanced fluency in Modern Icelandic, which she began studying through the Árni Magnússon Institute in Iceland in 2012. She is an active member of SASS (Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study).

email: lpoyer@uw.edu

Kim Kraft received a Masters in Scandinavian Language and Literature from UW in 2013, she also has a Masters in Education from Old Dominion University. Kim has near-native fluency in Swedish and is a Swedish lecturer and undergraduate adviser with the UW Scandinavian Department. She is an active member of ASTRA (Association of Swedish Teachers and Researchers in America), is associated with the Scandinavian Language Institute, and has a wide network of scholars in the field of Scandinavian Studies. Her personal experience as an exchange student in Sweden changed her life forever, and she is excited to help facilitate this Honors Study Abroad program.

email: kimkraft@uw.edu

Program Expenses

Program Expenses

The costs listed includes tuition via concurrent enrollment fee and all housing and excursions.

Students are responsible for most meals, airfare, study abroad fee, and insurance.

Program fee: $4,975

UW concurrent enrollment fee: $450

Average Airplane Ticket: $1,700

Daily out of pocket food costs (approx): $40

Payment Schedule:

Program fees will be posted to your MyUW student account and can be paid the same way that you pay tuition and other fees. Check your MyUW Account periodically for due dates.

Payment Type Payment Amount Payment Due Date
Non-Refundable UW Study Abroad Fee $450 TBA
Program Fee Balance $4,975 TBA

Making the program affordable

The Honors Program is passionate about study abroad and the incredible impact it can have on a student’s life.  Don’t assume you can’t afford to study outside of the U.S. Here are resources to help you get started on your global adventures!

Honors Program Scholarships

The Honors Program offers a number of scholarships for current Honors Program students. These scholarship funds may be used for UW approved study abroad programs or exchanges. Students may apply beginning in late January (deadline is March 30).

Study Abroad Scholarships at UW

Every student who applies and is accepted to a study abroad program is considered for a scholarship. Scholarship awards are dependent on need and students may be awarded up to $4,000. Visit the study abroad office in 459 Schmitz Hall to learn more or click here.  Students may also email goglobal@uw.edu for an advising appointment.

There are several outside resources for study abroad scholarships. Visit the UW’s Study Abroad Scholarship page for more information on scholarship support as well as information about GET funds and how you may apply the GET to your study abroad costs.

Using Financial Aid for Study Abroad

You may find more information about using your existing financial aid for study abroad on the Study Abroad Office’s Financial Aid webpage.  In general, all financial aid awarded may be used to support study abroad. Exceptions to this include tuition waivers, work-study awards, or scholarships that are specific about using the award for tuition (although there may be flexibility with some scholarships, please check with the financial aid office). Tuition waivers and work-study are never allowed for study abroad.

Revision of Need

You may also turn in a “Revision of Need” form with the Financial Aid Office if you have a FAFSA on file.  Once you are accepted to a study abroad program, visit the Study Abroad Office to obtain a budget for your study abroad program then complete the Revision Request and turn in both the budget and the revision request to the Office of Student Financial Aid in Schmitz Hall.

Visit the Financial Aid Study Abroad Funding Website for more information about applying for Summer quarter financial aid and for information about Exploration Seminar financial aid timeline (different than A or B term financial aid disbursement timeline).

Application Process

Application Process

Honors Program students and students from all disciplines are encouraged to apply. Majors and minors such as LSJ, International Studies, Political Science, CHID, English, Scandinavian Studies, Diversity, Geography, and GWSS are relevant to the topics covered in this program.

Selection to the program is competitive and acceptance is decided based on application materials, interviews, and student’s demonstrated motivation to challenge themselves intellectually across academic disciplines and cultures and to work both individually and in groups.


Deadline: January 31, 2020