Course Syllabus

A Sense of Place in

European Literature

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The Wadden Sea, Fanø

Semester & Location:

Spring 2024, DIS Copenhagen

Type & Credits:

Literature Core Course - 3 credits

Study Tour:

Berlin, Germany

Major Discipline:




Faculty Member:

Mette Jungersen,  current students contact through Canvas Inbox

Time & Place:

Mondays and Thursdays, 08.30-09.50

Fiolstræde 6, Metro-102

Course Description

In this course we will explore and identify the interrelation between place and text. We discover comparative perspectives on European literature through in-depth analysis and close readings of texts written by modern and classical European writers. 

The European Humanities core course includes a total of 18 classes, a core course week with a short study tour to the island of Fanø, and a six day long study tour to Berlin, Germany.

Course Format 

The course will be a mixture of class discussions, short lectures, and meetings with contemporary writers.

Core Course Week: Copenhagen and Short Study Tour to the Island of Fanø 

On the first days of the week we will read Tove Ditlevsen's Childhood and explore her neighborhood of Vesterbro where the novel takes place. We then travel on a three-day study tour to the island of Fanø in the North Sea. We retreat from the city to read poetry of Danish author Jeppe Brixvold, and explore the role of place in his writing.

Six days Long Study Tour to Berlin, Germany

During the trip to Berlin, we will explore one of the most complex, lively and literary cities in Europe. We will read and discuss selected Berlin texts on site and explore how the city influences our reading and vice versa.   

Berlin is a city of grand modernist experiments as well as a city with a recent past of horrific atrocities and suppression. Throughout the 20th century, Berlin has undergone tremendous transformations and abrupt changes. The aftermaths of The Third Reich, WWII and The Cold War are still very visible in Berlin’s urban landscape and the historical wounds and cultural voids present in the minds of the Berliners. From our theoretical perspectives of place, text and memory, we will study how artists and writers have responded to the changing political situations. We will see how authors of Berlin have helped shape the city’s imaginaries and how the city has been a driving force for the creation of literary text throughout the changing times.

After the fall of the wall and the reunification of Germany, the controversies of how to remember such a recent and troubled past have thrived in the capital. We will study how Berlin tries to come to terms with its past and how place is still contested and negotiated in relation to the reunited city’s memorial culture. We will see how these controversies are reflected in both the urban landscape, political debates and in the literature. 


Mette Jungersen  Cand. mag. (Russian Language and Literature, University of Copenhagen).

Email: Phone: +45 2517 4916. 

Course Objectives

  • Examine the interrelation between place and text in literature  
  • Learn the methodology of literary geography  
  • Identify significant themes and narration strategies in the works read
  • Improve your skills in textual analysis

Course Requirements 

This course is discussion‐based and requires your active participation and engagement. You are also required to complete the following to pass the course: 

  • Paper: Literary Analysis

due February 18

  • Leading class discussion in Berlin

Outline due March 15

  • Paper: Analysis of Berlin text and place

due April 7

  • Berlin Reflection

due April 26


More information on assignments will be given in class, and individual consultations will be available. 

Grade Components   

Active Participation 25%
Paper: Literary Analysis 25%
Leading Group Discussion in Berlin: Outline & Reflection 20%
Paper: Berlin text & place 30%


Required Readings 

Theoretical texts 

Bachelard, G. The Poetics of Place.

Casey, Edward S. “How to get from Space to Place in a fairly short stretch of time”. 

Cresswell, Tim. “Introduction: Defining Place.”  Place – an introduction. 2nd ed., John Wiley & Sons, 2015. 

Foucault, Michel. "Of Other Spaces".

Massey, Doreen. “A Global Sense of Place”. Space, Place and Gender, U of Minnesota Press, 1994. 

Moretti, Franco. Atlas of the European Novel, 1800‐1900, Verso, 1998. 

Relph, E. Place and Placelessness. 


Aridjis, Chloe. Book of Clouds. Black Cat, 2009.

Baudelaire, Charles. "Crowds".

Benjamin, Walter. Berlin Childhood.

Brixvold, Jeppe. Østerland (Handout). 

Calle, Sophie. Detachment. Actes Sud, 2013. 

Celan, Paul. Selected  Poems and Prose of Paul Celan. W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 2001

Ditlevsen, Tove. "Childhood". Childhood, Youth, Dependency.

Dostoevsky, Fyodor M. Crime and Punishment.

Gogol, Nikolai. "Nevsky Prospect". Plays and Petersburg Tales. Oxford University Press, New York, 1995 

Hensel, Jana. After the Wall. Public Affairs, 2004.

Jensen, Johannes V. The Fall of The King.

Korneliussen, Niviaq. Last Night in Nuuk.

Lorde, Audre. The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde. W.W. Norton & Company, New York, 2000 

Poe, Edgar Allen. "Man of the Crowd".  

Schalansky, Judith. Pocket Atlas of Remote Islands, Fifty Islands I have not visited and never will. Penguin Books, 2012.


Secondary Literature 

A selection of relevant secondary readings will be available under ‘Recommended Readings’ on Canvas. 

Academic Regulations  

Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on:


DIS - Study Abroad in Scandinavia -

Course Summary:

Date Details Due