Stockholm university
Gå till denna sida på svenska webben

Literature and the North: representations, expectations, negotiations

In this course we examine how the North is constructed in the encounter between the Romance and Scandinavian cultures. Based on translation and reception theories, and concepts such as Nordicity and Borealism, we examine Swedish translations of Romance literature, book reviews, articles from newspapers, blogs and literature programs on radio and television.

NASA Satellites See Santa's North Pole
Foto by NASA Goddard Photo and Video - CC BY 2.0 license

The purpose of the course is to study how representations about the North emerge and arise when Romance and Scandinavian cultures meet. By studying primarily Swedish translations, as well as reception of literature and culture from mainly the Romance language areas, you will practice to recognize and analyze ideas, expectations and negotiations about the North that arise when literature and culture from Romance and other language areas interact with and are communicated to a Swedish audience. The course also aims to provide an understanding of how other cultures can influence the constitution of the Northern identity. The course is based on translation and reception theories, and draws methodological inspiration from areas such as narratology, imagology and postcolonialism. We study different types of material, such as textbooks, translations, paratexts, author presentations as well as literature reviews and articles from newspapers and magazines, blogs and literature programs and broadcast on radio and television.

This course is at an advanced level and a Degree of Bachelor (180 HE credits) in the humanities, social sciences or law is required to be able to take the course. In addition, Swedish 3 and English 6 are required.

Teaching is given at a distance and takes place mostly in Swedish, but partly also in English.


  • Course structure

    The overall document for a course is the course syllabus. The syllabus can be found in the menu on the right. In this description, we clarify how to complete the course in practice. The course description should provide good guidance, but is not comprehensive. Further clarifications in oral or written form are given by the teacher during the lessons. Do not hesitate to ask the teacher if questions would remain. To see who the teachers of the course are, and for information about the schedule and examination, see further under "Schedule". Information about Reading lists can be found under Course literature.

    Teaching format

    This course consists of lectures and seminars led by various teachers, several of whom are guest lecturers from foreign universities. In addition, it includes group work and a final workshop where the students present their work orally. Other oral discussions can also take place during the course. You prepare for each lesson by reading relevant parts of the course literature. Course material, in the form of, for example, teacher presentations or discussion points about the literature, is continuously posted on our learning platform. A schedule of the seminars and clear reading instructions are provided. In the seminars, you are expected to participate actively and contribute to the discussion.

    For a passing grade, you shall be able to demonstrate:

    • knowledge and understanding of stereotypes and complex representations about the North in various types of discursive material;

    • the ability to conduct an independent research task in which established terms and methods related to the North and Romance literature are applied;

    • the skill to clearly explain and discuss their own and other’s conclusions and the knowledge and arguments on which these are based, both orally and in writing.


    The course is examined through a course essay and an oral presentation during the final workshop. The examinations can be performed in Swedish or English. All written assignments must be written and presented in your own words and based on your own reflections on the subject. Quotations from reference literature that illustrate your reasoning must be stated correctly with quotation marks and the source. For general information about cheating and plagiarism, see also Stockholm University's rulebook on rules for examinations and guidelines for disciplinary matters at Stockholm University.


    Mickaëlle Cedergren
    Cecilia Schwartz
    Christophe Premat

  • Schedule

    The schedule will be available no later than one month before the start of the course. We do not recommend print-outs as changes can occur. At the start of the course, your department will advise where you can find your schedule during the course.
  • Contact

    Student Office


    Student Office

    The Student Affairs Office is located on the fifth floor in the B-house (Södra huset, Frescati). The office can help you with general questions regarding your studies, such as registration, and signing up for exams. This is also the place to pick up your written exams.

    Student Affairs Office