Silencing the Vikings: Bureaucracy and The End of Old Norse at Aarhus University

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“Not perverts but bureaucrats will set things off, and we won’t even know if their intentions were good or bad. Things will go off by command; they will be carried through according to regulations, mechanically, down the chain of command, with human wills bent, abolished, overcome, in a task that ceases to have any meaning”.[1]

– Jacques Lacan

Old Norse is the language of the Vikings. It is the language carved laboriously into runestones all over Scandinavia, indeed even as far afield as Ukraine. It is the language of the Icelandic sagas of the High Middle Ages, and the language which preserves most of our knowledge of Scandinavian mythology: Gods such as Óðinn and Þórr, the vengeful Fenrisúlfr …

Ragnarǫk at the University of Copenhagen? The ideology of closing down smaller language programmes

Johannes gehrts ragnarok mindre

The closure of Old Norse, Old Danish, modern Icelandic, and Faroese as elective courses at the University of Copenhagen is sad news indeed, that has also been covered also in the daily press. That this is a deeply misguided decision will almost certainly be self-evident to readers of Lingoblog. 

Ideological absurdity

There is an obvious absurdity that the oldest university in Denmark will not offer medieval Danish. Or that a world-class Old Norse research institute (Den Arnamagnæanske håndskriftsamling) will no longer offer teaching in Old Norse. Or that the same institute, which is a joint Danish-Icelandic venture, should no longer offer teaching in modern Icelandic. I expect that I will not need to convince you either that this is …