CCOG for HST 244 Spring 2024

Course Number:
HST 244
Course Title:
Introduction to Viking History
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Introduces Viking history, culture, and society through mythology, art, sagas, warfare, politics, and conversion to Christianity. Examines Viking influence on North America, the British Isles, Continental Europe, and Russia. Covers modern conceptions of the Vikings through contemporary popular culture. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  • Articulate and interpret an understanding of key historical facts and events in Scandinavian history during the Viking Age.
  • Identify the influence of culturally-based practices, values, and beliefs to analyze how historically-defined meanings of difference affect human behavior.
  • Identify and investigate historical theses, evaluate information and its sources, and use appropriate reasoning to construct evidence-based arguments on historical issues.
  • Construct a well-organized historical argument using effective, appropriate, and accurate language.

Social Inquiry and Analysis

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to apply methods of inquiry and analysis to examine social contexts and the diversity of human thought and experience.

General education philosophy statement

This course examines Viking Age history and culture, which includes the peoples of Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, and Icelandic ancestry. It requires students to focus on Viking history from a variety of different perspectives such as social class, gender, race, and religious belief. The Scandinavian diaspora is one of the most influential and important cultural dispersions in all of European history. They traveled farther than any other European culture in their time, even making contact with North America 500 years before Christopher Columbus. Their expansion into North America, the British Isles, Ireland, Continental Europe, Asia Minor, and Russia put them into contact with many different cultures. Students will examine how Viking contact with Native Americans, Europeans, Turks, Sami, Inuit, and the manifold tribes and ethnicities in the Central Asian Steppes created a cultural legacy that exists to this day in all those areas. This course focuses on the lasting global impact made by Vikings and their role in the creation of western culture, with contributions to elements such as language, geographical place names, popular culture, political systems, and gender equity. One of the key goals of this course is to provide a perspective on the contemporary world that is grounded in a robust and informed understanding of the past.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assess by using any combination of the following:

  • Exams
  • Essays
  • Oral presentations
  • Research projects
  • Book critiques
  • Service Learning
  • Class participation and discussion
  • Other creative assignments

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Competencies and Skills:

Analyze and evaluate primary and secondary sources:

  • Connect evidence to its relevant historical context
  • Analyze and evaluate written, artistic, or other evidence
  • Assess the motivation and purpose of evidence

Evaluate different interpretations of past events and construct your own interpretation:

  • Identify a historian’s thesis and supporting evidence
  • Evaluate the arguments used to support different interpretations of historical issues
  • Develop your own thesis and historical interpretation and use evidence to support it

Think critically about the relationship between past and present events and issues:

  • Recognize and identify historical roots and parallels to current issues

Compare and contrast the experience of diverse groups in society:

  • Listen to and appreciate the experience of students from a variety of  backgrounds
  • Assess the contributions and experiences of various groups in society

Demonstrate college-level communications skills with an emphasis on writing (and may include listening and speaking):

  • Communicate effectively in writing about a historical topic
  • Communicate in writing an understanding of historical process and an evaluation of how concepts or values change over time

Clearly articulate thoughts and ideas to a particular audience which may include:

  • Working collaboratively with other students to evaluate and understand historical events
  • Working collaboratively with others in discussions, debate, or role plays
  • Presenting information in oral presentations

Themes, Concepts, Issues:

  • Viking identity
  • Social structure
  • Politics
  • Gender
  • Warfare and raiding
  • Shipbuilding and seafaring
  • Sagas and poetry
  • Art
  • Language and runes
  • Mythology and cosmology
  • Christianity
  • Settlement of Iceland and Greenland
  • Contact with North America
  • Influence on the British Isles and Europe
  • Influence on Russia and Asia Minor
  • Depiction in modern popular culture