Also offered to Master's students of the programme Alue- ja kulttuurintutkimuksen maisteriohjelma (ALKU).
The objective of this course is to advance the students’ understanding in European or Nordic area and cultural studies and support achieving necessary knowledge for master’s thesis research.
The course will consist of seven lectures (including an introduction session) and seven reading seminars. There will be two session each week: one lecture and one reading seminar (except possibly for one week with two reading seminars). A number of the lectures (3-5) will be given by invited guest lecturers, mostly from CENS although possibly also by a distinguished university-external scholar with expertise in the field (to be decided upon later). As most of the guest lecturers will be from CENS, these will mainly deal with aspects of interwar modernities as these related to the Nordic countries, whereas the reading seminar will take on broader (albeit largely “Western”) perspectives. The reading seminars will give room for students to discuss the assigned readings in depth. Students are expected to participate actively, as these sessions will be driven almost entirely by student discussion.
This course deals with “modernity” in its multifarious forms as it related to various projects of nation building, ideological contest, and ways of living during the interwar era. We take a broad notion of modernity (including its relatives: the modern and modernism) as the starting point for our discussions, seeing the era as one of various competing and interacting modernities. We look at the ways in which various political, cultural, and ideological regimes, movements, and actors perceived of modernity and asserted their understanding. We talk about continuities and ruptures, progress and disruption. We ask questions such as: was there a specific US American modernity? A Soviet? A Nordic? Was there a Nazi version? We discuss links between artistic modernism and political modernity, as well as the links to eugenics, racism, and even mass killings. Towards the end of the course, we also touch upon reactions against modernity and various forms of anti-modernism.
Students are required to read the mandatory text as well as one of the suggested readings for each reading session. Once during the course, each student (as part of a group) will introduce the texts read for a given reading seminar and with leading the discussion during this seminar. By the end of the course, students should hand in a final essay of maximum 3500 words. This might either be a review essay, discussing themes and texts from at least three different sessions, or a research paper dealing with a theme relevant to the course as well as, preferably, the student’s thesis work. This should be discussed with the instructor, and students are required to have a consultation with the instructor once within the first three weeks of the course.
Several options available (including contact teaching either at the University of Helsinki or other universities). The method of completion is agreed upon with the academic coordinator of the programme.