54:343 History of Iceland, 870-2010 [Winter]

Prerequisite: 6 credit hours in History or permission of Instructor.

This course will introduce students to the history and culture of Iceland, a country whose cultural importance exceeds its small size and remote geographic location. It will begin by looking at the Landnám (i.e., the settlement of the island in the ninth and early tenth centuries), but will quickly move on to the early modern and modern eras. Among the topics to be discussed: Iceland’s experience as a colony of Norway, then Denmark; the Lutheran Reformation in Iceland; the development of the island’s economy; how volcanism and the highland interior helped shape the culture of the island; Icelandic sorcery in the early modern era; trolls; draugar, and the huldufólk; Romantic nationalism and the independence movement; emigration to Canada and other destinations; Icelandic literary traditions; the women’s movement; art and popular music; the tourism boom.

3 lecture hours per week, one term.

Instructor: David Winter