People have interacted with the mountains and fjords of western Norway since shortly after retreat of the Scandinavian ice-sheet 13,000 years ago. As a mountainous landscape with little agricultural land, hunting, seafaring, and small farms have dominated Norwegian history. With the discovery of North Sea oil, Norway has transformed from one of the poorest countries in Europe to one of the wealthiest on Earth.
During our pre-trip classes, we’ll examine the ways past societies throughout the world have worked with and against nature. We’ll pay particular attention to colonial New England and its legacy of agrarian history seen today in our stone walls and young forests. The geography and history of Norway and the failed Norse colony in Greenland will also be a focus. In May we’ll travel 10 days in western Norway devoting our attention to these questions: How does nature influence culture? And, how does culture, as a result of its unique history, shape the landscape we see today? Students will be immersed in the nature and culture of western Norway in order to understand the ways environment has influenced the history of the people. Much of our content is easily related back to Vermont.
Class meetings will be held on five Saturdays from 10am to 3pm at CCV-Upper Valley during the spring semester.
Course Page: HIS-2270-VJ01: Society & Environment in History
Travel Dates: May 9 – 18, 2019
Study abroad scholarships are available to help reduce the fee associated with the course. Please apply here.
- Experience Bergen, Norway’s second largest city, where we’ll visit a number of museums and hike local trails
- Sail up Sognefjord, the second longest fjord in the world
- Work with sheep on a small family farm and explore how and why rural landscapes are being preserved
- Walk up to a glacier and learn how ice has shaped all of Scandinavia’s history
- Visit Norsk Villakssenter, the Norwegian Wild Salmon Centre
- Hike in some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes
Three Reasons To Join Us In Norway
First, amazing landscapes:
Yes, we already mentioned sheep over in the highlights, but trust us, you’ll want to visit this link.
Third, glaciers. Totally worth seeing.
Meet Your Instructor
Michael Gaige works as an ecologist at the intersection of nature and human land-use history to understand the ways people have interacted with landscape over time. He has explored Scandinavia and the British Isles in search of ancient trees, the patterns of landscape history, and his own ancestral roots. Michael has taught undergraduate field programs for over 12 years in Alaska, the American West, Patagonia, and Norway. He also teaches Natural History of Vermont at CCV in Brattleboro.
How to Pack
Since we’ll be hiking, good to take note of these recommendations!