TUE—April 16—7 PM, free



MoreLectures + Literary

Join us for a lecture exploring present and future changes in Faroese society, with a focus on current events in the Arctic region, with Bergur Djurhuus Hansen (Dean and Associate Professor of Literature, Faculty of Language and Literature at University of the Faroe Islands).

At times described as a borderland in the North Atlantic or as stepping stones towards another world, the Faroe Islands were first settled by Irish monks around 600 CE, colonized by Norse Vikings in the ninth century, Christianized around 1000 and integrated into the Norwegian and later the Danish Kingdom in the early and late Middle Ages. Developments in the 19th century gave rise to a national movement and a flourishing literature written in the native tongue, Faroese. Starting from oral traditions, old myths, legends, and poetry, Faroese literature of the modern era continued to be influenced by internal as well as external factors, mixing the geographical and cultural uniqueness of the Faroe Islands with characteristics of modern European literature. Following a Home Rule Government established in 1948 and the founding of the Faroese University in 1965 — a peak in the national building process — the Faroe Islands today have a strong economy, a vibrant art and music scene, and internationally-acclaimed literary publications, are engaged in international trade and cultural activities, and are dependent on their close relations with other nations.

Recent developments in the North Atlantic brought both opportunities for collaboration and economic growth, as well as threats from geopolitical competition and militarization. With these have come revitalized descriptions of the Faroe Islands as stepping stones — today to the Arctic. As first and foremost a Nordic nation with close connections to Scandinavian societies, this new gateway has attracted more outside interest. With this has come a resurgence in old narratives as the region undergoes an “Arcticification,” with an increased focus on the North as a region of ice and heavy seas, climate change, crisis, and military tensions.

Based on historical developments, presenting significant and fascinating excerpts from historical accounts as well as from travel writings and contemporary pieces of literature, Bergur Djurhuus Hansen will address these subjects and more.


Bergur Djurhuus Hansen is Dean and Associate Professor of Literature at the Faculty of Language and Literature, University of the Faroe Islands. With a background in comparative literature from the University of Aarhus, Denmark, he has focused on Faroese literature in a Nordic context and has participated in networks on for instance modernism in the Nordic region. His Ph.D. was on travel writings, and over the past couple of years, he has particularly focused his research on travel writings connected to the Far North/Arctic as well as — and more generally — interdisciplinary ecocritical theory in the context of developments in contemporary Faroese and Nordic literature. He is a frequent contributor to Faroese media and has published regularly in scientific journals and books over the past decade. Bergur is currently leading an international network on research in Arctic culture and history.

Photo by Thrainn Kolbeinsson/Visit Faroe Islands