CENES Courses: Spotlight on SCAN 332A (Sámi Culture: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow)

The Department of Central, Eastern and Northern European Studies (CENES) is thrilled to host an exciting array of courses in Winter 2022-23. Among these is SCAN 332A 001: Topics in Scandinavian Studies (in English), taught by Dr. Tim Frandy, a three-credit course that explores everyday life, artistic expressions, and the political realities of Sámi people—the only recognized Indigenous people in Europe.

CENES: What is the main focus of the course?

Tim Frandy: The main focus of this course it to center Sámi voices and perspectives in thinking about Sámi culture, history, and sovereignty.

CENES: What are the particular highlights?

TF: One of my favorite things about this course is the deep engagement with primary texts, which are finally finding their way into English translation. When we look at these stories from a century or more ago, we can see a history of resistance, survivance, and resurgence that outsiders struggle to see.

CENES: What gave you the idea to design this course?

TF: As a Sámi American, I didn’t get to learn about my own people until I was in graduate school. This is the course I wish I had as a young person, struggling to understand my roots.

CENES: Which students do you think might be particularly interested in this course?

TF: Students interested in both Indigenous studies and European studies will find this course particularly useful. We’ll get to see the parallel struggles between Sámi people and other Indigenous peoples around the world, and how Sámi people complicate the very notions of Europe and the Nordic region through their Indigeneity.

CENES: What do you think are the most important insights students can take from this course?

TF: The most important takeaway of this course is that Sámi culture is not some relic of a bygone past, but rather it operates as a viable, resilient, and brilliant strategy of living for today and the future.