Ethnology is the discipline that studies the traditional and popular cultures of a community, region or nation. While related in some respects to both anthropology and cultural history, ethnology is now well established in its own right as an important contributor to the humanities and social sciences throughout Europe and beyond. Through close study of such cultural forms as folklore, music, song, oral narrative, custom and belief, this programme examines the development of cultural systems through time. The University of Edinburgh is the only institution in Scotland to offer an undergraduate degree in this discipline. The Scottish Ethnology programme aims to develop the analytic, critical, communication and creative skills of students by engaging with a broad range of cultural forms and ethnographic materials relating primarily, although by no means exclusively, to Scotland.
The languages, history, politics and culture of the Scandinavian countries have had a considerable impact beyond the Nordic region. At the University of Edinburgh you will explore Scandinavian culture, past and present, alongside the study of the Scandinavian languages. Edinburgh has an excellent reputation for its research in this area. Regular research seminars and cultural events provide students with opportunities to find out more about the latest developments in Scandinavian culture and research.
Whichever of the three main languages – Danish, Norwegian or Swedish – you choose to specialise in, you will also gain a passive knowledge of the other two during the course of your degree programme. You do not need a previous knowledge of any of the languages (with the exception of the joint honours programme with Business Studies) as courses are available for beginners. The relatively small class sizes provide an informal and supportive learning environment.
Located at the heart of the city, itself UNESCO's first World City of Literature, the University offers a rich array of unique resources which facilitate scholarship and learning. Excellent libraries are among the many factors that make the city an ideal place for the study of literature. As well as the wealth of resources in the main University Library, the National Library of Scotland, one of the finest bibliographical collections in Europe, is only five minutes’ walk from both departments. The Archives of the School of Scottish Studies are an outstanding research resource offering material from both the Gaelic and the Scots tradition collected over a period of over sixty years.
The Scottish Ethnology and Scandinavian Studies programme is designed to:
- Develop students’ understanding of the historical and ongoing development of the discipline of ethnology in its international context.
- Engage students in theoretical debates relating to the key issues and concepts of ethnology.
- Encourage students to critically deconstruct and evaluate cultural forms and processes.
- Develop students’ investigative skills through the provision of training in archive- and field-based research techniques.
- Encourage students to build a strong empirical knowledge base of the culture and tradition of Scotland and selected comparative regions or nations, grounded in the extensive sound, photographic, film and manuscript holdings of the School of Scottish Studies Archives, the Scottish Studies library and related resources.
- Understand developments at the forefront of both subjects and to participate in research-led study.
- Develop the independent critical, analytic and communicative skills which will fit students for a wide range of employment, further training and life-long learning.