Winter 2022 Thursday Lecture Series
Nordic Europe: From Vikings to Modernity
Thursday, January 13 to March 3, 2022 – 10:00am to 12:00 noon
There will be 2 double lectures: January 27 and February 17
Coordinator and Presenter: Dr. Carolyn Harris
Course Overview: This series will examine the history and culture of the Nordic Nations: Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland.
January 13: Introduction to the Course, Geography and Prehistory – Overview of the course: diverse landscapes of the various Nordic Nations, the earliest evidence of settlement in the region and the contacts between northern Europe and the Roman Empire. Resources, Week 1
January 20: The Vikings in Scandinavia and Iceland – The beginning of the Viking Age in the 800’s: Viking culture in Scandinavia including shipbuilding, weaponry, religious ritual, and the family. The settlement of Iceland by the Norwegian Vikings. Resources, Week 2
January 27: 10 AM – The Vikings in Europe and North America – The Vikings traveled as far west as Newfoundland, as far east as Russia and as far south as Constantinople and Baghdad. In the north, they were raiders, in the south, they were traders.
11:05 AM – Christianity, Renaissance and Reformation – Religious change transformed Viking society as first monarchs and then the wider population converted to Christianity. During the reformation, the Nordic Nations embraced Protestantism.
February 3: The Golden Age of Sweden – During the 17th century, Sweden emerged as a major European power, controlling much of the Baltic Sea region. King Gustavus Adolphus introduced key military innovations and his daughter Queen Christina became a cultural patron. The Golden Age of Sweden ended with the Great Northern War.
February 10: The Grand Duchy of Finland and Royal Denmark – In the 19th century, the borders shifted in the Nordic Nations. Finland became part of the Russian Empire, Sweden and Norway were ruled by the same monarch and Denmark lost territory to Germany. The Danish royal family were closely connected to other European royal houses.
February 17, 10 AM: Emigration to North America – The upheaval of the 19th century resulted in waves of emigration to North America and the wider world. Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Icelandic and Finnish emigrants remained interested in European events including the Norwegian independence movement in the early 20th Century.
11:05 AM: Art and Literature – From Viking sagas and jewellery making to the plays of Henrik Ibsen and the paintings of Edvard Munch to modern Nordic architecture and design.
February 24: Science and Exploration – For centuries, the Nordic Nations have produced influential mariners, explorers and scientists. The Nobel Prizes have been presented in Sweden and Norway for more than 100 years.
March 3: The Second World War and the Nordic Nations in the Modern World – The modern history of the Nordic Nations: from the Second World War to the strengths and challenges of the present day.
Committee Contact and Chair: Loretta Fines
Dr. Carolyn Harris is an instructor in history at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies. She is the author of three books: Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada, Queenship and Revolution in Early Modern Europe, and Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting and contributes historical commentary to TV and radio.