July 25 - July 30, 2021 |



Join Stanley Woodward Professor of History, Valerie Hansen and Associate Professor of English, Emily Thornbury for this journey through four centuries of epic Viking exploits with a focus on history, literature and archaeological study. This immersive online seminar course, team-taught by two exemplary Yale faculty leaders, traverses the lands and seas that the Vikings once dominated from Northern Europe, westward to Newfoundland Island in Canada and east to Central Asia. Together, we aim to recover the total Viking experience, reading the tales Vikings told about their exploits, learning about their gods and myths, and studying eye-witness accounts of their raids.

Working closely with your faculty leaders, you`ll examine the archeological traces of their settlements in Greenland, Iceland, Eastern Europe, and North America, analyzing why experts accept some discoveries, reject others as outright forgeries, and leave yet others in a gray zone awaiting further evidence. During this week of intensive study, you`ll challenge popular conceptions of Viking heritage, uncover the evidence behind the mysteries, and develop new theories of your own through challenging dialogue with faculty, special guest lecturers and stimulating peers. The course syllabus will be available on request via the brochure tab on this site.

Course Format

The online immersion experience begins as soon as you register and receive your books. You`ll join the private online course community where you can meet and connect with fellow alumni scholars in the group and chat virtually about ideas and inspirations from your readings in preparation for the course. By July, you`ll be ready for six days of intensive study with a collegial group of dedicated learners and a passionate pair of faculty.

The main course sessions will include a total of 20 hours of small-group sessions led by faculty and guest speakers. Alumni participants will come together for a scholarly endeavor that hearkens to the days of being a student on Yale`s campus. Seminar-style discussions provide ample opportunity to engage with experts and peers, informed by comprehensive readings and complementary materials from Yale`s collections: galleries, libraries and museums. Special guest speakers add context to the themes of the syllabus, and evening salons create space to share new ideas and understandings from the lectures and readings. This program has been specially designed for Yale Alumni Academy by Professors Hansen and Thornbury. We invite you to enjoy the privilege of an intimate and bespoke classroom experience with these excellent faculty.