Scandinavian 165B: Vikings on Film

Instructor: Kimberly Ball

Vikings were medieval raiders, traders, and pioneers who journeyed from Scandinavia as far west as the shores of North America and as far east as Baghdad. Their impact on the world was significant, as is their stature in the popular imagination, where Vikings continue to resonate as emblems of violence, freedom, adventure, brutality, and masculinity. This course explores representations of Vikings in films ranging from the 1920s through the 2020s, from Hollywood blockbusters to Icelandic “westerns” to Turkish pepla. We will consider what Vikings have come to signify in the modern era and why, as well as whether Viking films constitute a genre, and if so, what this genre’s characteristic features, concerns, and functions might be. We will view approximately two films each week, in addition to reading film scholarship and other secondary sources. Taught in English.