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Scandinavian Program




Mark SafstromSafstrom

Lecturer in Swedish and Scandinavian Studies

Coordinator and Advisor for Scandinavian Studies Program


Campus Affiliations

European Union Center

Teaching and Scholarship

Dr. Mark Safstrom’s primary research interests are 19th and early 20th century Scandinavian history, with emphasis on the so-called "folk movements" (the temperance movement, labor movement, and the religious revivals), as well as the history of Scandinavian immigration to North America, and Scandinavian polar explorers and their travel accounts. He has written on Scandinavian travel literature, polar exploration, Scandinavian-American history, and Lutheran Pietism. Dr. Safstrom currently teaches courses on Scandinavian history, Scandinavian literature in translation (such as Arctic Studies and the writings of Søren Kierkegaard), as well as language courses in beginning and intermediate Swedish. During the summers, he has frequently taught at the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden as part of the “Stockholm Summer Arctic Program: Environment and Society in a Changing Arctic” with field site components in Svalbard, Norway and Northern Sweden.

Primary Language:Swedish

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Verena Höfig

Verena Höfig Verena Höfig

Post-Doc Research Associate in Scandinavian Studies

Teaching and Scholarship

Dr. Verena Höfig’s research focuses on the intersection of literature, material culture, and social history in Scandinavia from the Viking Age until today. This has included identity and memory formation, the political history of early Iceland in the context of overseas migration, frontier narratives, and the representation of animals in Old Norse material and textual culture. Her two current projects explore healing and obstetrics in the pre-Christian North, and the signifying potential of thrones, chairs, and high-seats-pillars. Dr. Höfig teaches courses in Old Norse,Swedish, and topics courses ranging from medieval to modern Scandinavian culture (history, archaeology, mythology, sagas, and the modern reception of Vikings), including links between Medieval German and Scandinavian literature.


Primary languages: Old Norse, Swedish and Icelandic

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Theo MalekinMalekin

Visiting Lecturer in Scandinavian Studies


Teaching and Scholarship

Dr. Theo Malekin’s research interests include Scandinavian cinema, the plays of August Strindberg, Henrik Ibsen and other playwrights from the Modern Breakthrough, and Scandinavian children’s literature. He is also interested in the growing interdisciplinary engagement between consciousness studies and literature. He regularly teaches courses on Viking sagas and Viking mythology and has also taught a number of courses on more recent Scandinavian literature and on film. He has also developed a new course on children’s literature and youth culture.

Primary language: Swedish

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Mara WadeMara Wade


Mara Wade

Mara WadeMara Wade

Professor of Germanic Languages and Literatures


Campus Affiliations

Comparative and World Literature, Gender and Women's Studies, LAS Global Studies, Jewish Culture and Society, Library Admin, European Union Center, Media and Cinema Studies, Center for Global Studies, and the Center for Advanced Study.

Teaching and Scholarship

Professor Wade’s teaching and scholarship includes topics in early modern German literature, the royal courts of Germany and Scandinavia, book history, cinema studies,Jewish studies, and gender studies. She teaches regularly an undergraduate seminar, “BooksMatter, Book Matters,” for the Campus Honors Program at the University of Illinois. She regularlyworks with international organizations and institutions as well as the Austria Illinois ExchangeProgram to promote academic exchange. Professor Wade’s research has a strong focus on digital humanities, and the internationalresearch group associated with Emblematica Online has published widely about theirresearch. She also fosters the research of younger scholars, including recent PhDs, graduatestudents, and undergraduate students.

Primary languages: German and Danish

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Charles Robert WebsterCharlie Webster

Visiting Instructor

Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Germanic Department


Teaching and Scholarship

Charles Webster is the director of the basic language program for German. His research interests and teaching includes Germanic linguistics, second language acquisition and study abroad, the history of the Germanic languages, methods of language teaching.

Primary languages: German and Norwegian

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