Centre for Scandinavian Studies

Interdisciplinary Research

Scandinavian Studies

Exploring Scandinavian language, history and culture

Centre for Scandinavian Studies

Welcome to the website of the Centre for Scandinavian Studies at the University of Aberdeen. The Centre specialises in the literature, history, language and culture of Viking Age and Medieval Scandinavia (including Iceland and other parts of the ‘viking world’). Our experts include Hannah Burrows, Ralph O’Connor, David Dumville and Frederik Pedersen. Aberdeen is one of very few places in the UK to have a specialist Centre for early Scandinavian Studies.

The purpose of the Centre is to bring together researchers to coordinate research projects, provide PhD supervision, and facilitate a postgraduate research community, teach postgraduate programmes and relevant undergraduate courses and to promote Scandinavian Studies generally, in particular through our public seminar series and outreach events.

To keep up to date with our activities, join our Facebook page.

Purpose and Aims

In the autumn of 2007, a Centre for Scandinavian Studies was launched at the University of Aberdeen, founded by Professor Stefan Brink. The centre is an interdisciplinary research institution, crossing discipline, school and college boundaries. The Centre’s aims are to:

  1. Initiate research on aspects on Scandinavian language, history and culture
  2. Run an MLitt (Masters) programme and a PhD in Scandinavian Studies
  3. Run a Scandinavian Studies Seminar
  4. Participate, promote and enhance different projects, networks, conferences and interests, related to Scandinavia. 

At the moment, the profile of the members of the centre is in Old Norse literature, language, culture and history and Scandinavian contact with the British Isles and Ireland. 

The University of Aberdeen has experts who can supervise postgraduates in early Scandinavian Studies and in the immediate academic vicinity in other departments. 

Research Projects

Projects associated with the Centre

Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages

The Skaldic Project is a major international research project which aims to edit, translate and provide commentary on the corpus of Old Norse-Icelandic skaldic poetry. The project has six co-ordinating editors (Sydney, Bloomington, Newcastle, Kiel, Reykjavík and Copenhagen), several assistants and postdocs and more than 40 contributing editors from around the world. The project’s Bibliography Editor, Hannah Burrows, is based at Aberdeen and the project’s website is hosted here. The edition will be published in print (9 volumes) by Brepols and online.

The project is funded by the Australian Research Council; the Joint Committee for Nordic Research Councils for the Humanities and the Social Sciences; the National Endowment for the Humanities (US); the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK) and other bodies.

Humours of the Past

Humours of the Past  (HOP) is an international interdisciplinary research network which was funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council during 2015-17. It is led by Dr Hannah Burrows (Aberdeen) and Dr Daniel Derrin (Durham). The HOP network brings together academic researchers, directors, translators, curators and others who have a professional stake in interpreting humour and laughter from cultures of the distant and more recent past.

HOP works on the premise that thinking about humour illuminates our cultural preoccupations and aspirations in new ways. Studying humour from a historical perspective can both illuminate past cultural values and reveal the ways in which they have changed. HOP aims to create discussions that will throw light on the historical links between humour, identity and cultural values in order to better understand the past and to illuminate those links in contemporary contexts. In particular, the HOP network seeks to clarify the methodologies by which researchers in academic history and other professionals interpret and make sense of humour from different cultural worlds across time.

For current staff research projects please see the People tab and individual staff webpages.




All the Centre’s PhD students have their own desk space and computer, provided by the School of Divinity, History, Philosophy & Art History. As well as the main university library, which has a rapidly developing collection of materials relating to Scandinavian Studies, the Centre has its own small specialist library and a common space (also available to MLitt students) in Crombie Annexe, the same building that houses the Department of History.