REECAS Quarterly Course Lists

Spring 2021: SCAND 152 Latvian Literary and Cultural History

Spring 2021

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Meeting Time: Synchronous online classes on Mondays; Asynchronous classes on Wednesdays

Location: Online

SLN: 19446

Joint Sections: N/A

Instructors: Solvita Burr

Additional Details:


Latvia is a country in northeastern Europe with ancient and diverse cultural heritage. Due to its geographical location and historical events Latvians have always lived-in close connections with other nations, their language, religion, and culture and have interacted with them. Therefore, Latvians’ self-identification (individual and national) and relationships between individuals, social and ethnic groups, and nations are significant issues of Latvian culture awareness.


Design of the course

This course has been designed to provide you with themes related to Latvian-ness using a variety of texts (e.g., poems, novels, postcards, advertisements, maps, paintings, films, and songs). These colorfully represent certain periods in time, show a significant change in Latvians’ worldviews, cultural and literary traditions, and daily life, as well as reflect complications of internal relations.


Methodological pathway of the course

We will practice deep reading to uncover multiple layers of the texts in terms of literary studies and social semiotics. In other words, we will meaningfully read not only linguistic texts, but also multimodal texts (created by various modes, e.g., scripts, creation materials, pictures, ornaments, colors, music) – to uncover links to Latvian community and culture.


We will focus on four periods of time:

1) Baltic tribes and transformations of paganism in the territory of nowadays Latvia,

2) intelligent self-confidence, national romanticism, and the Young Latvians movement in the late 19th century,

3) individual identity crisis, propaganda, and social realism in Soviet Latvia,

4) hybrid identities, globalization, and post-modern literary experiments in contemporary Latvia.

Each period will be presented in one separate thematic module.


The Course Structure

We will have:

– synchronous online classes on Mondays;

– asynchronous classes on Wednesdays.

The plan, form and materials of each class will be published on the course page of Canvas. They will consist of short lectures and presentations, reading assignments, movies, videos and songs, practical tasks, and discussions.


The Course Evaluation

To pass the course, you need to complete all assigned independent work and discussions in online classes, pass four quizzes on the course modules, and obtain a positive grade in the final essay.