Report of the President of the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study

By DuBois, Thomas | Scandinavian Studies, Spring 2014 | Go to article overview

Report of the President of the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study


DuBois, Thomas, Scandinavian Studies


Outgoing SASS president Mark Sandberg brought his 2011-13 term of office to a memorable close by overseeing the many duties of the presidency while simultaneously helping his home department plan and host the society's largest conference ever. University of California, Berkeley faculty Linda Rugg (chair), along with colleagues John Lindow, Karen Moller, Mark Sandberg, Karin Sanders, Sirpa Tuomainen, and Jonas Wellendorf, and a team of talented graduate students and staff members mounted a stellar conference, the Society's 103rd, held at the San Francisco Hilton/Financial District Hotel, May 2-4, 2013. Honorary Consul General of Sweden Barbro Osher offered the opening plenary lecture, and the American Scandinavian Foundation hosted a Friday night reception. A unique feature of the conference was its "Conversations with Nordic Authors" series, which brought noted authors from each of the Nordic countries to share their views on their writings and careers with SASS attendees. The series was paid for through a combination of University of California, Berkeley Scandinavian Department funds and external grants, including a generous grant from the Norway House Foundation. The series was open to the general public. The conference itself drew 411 attendees, of which 349 gave presentations. Fully two-thirds of the attendees came from abroad. Ninety of the presenters were graduate students. To accommodate the large number of presenters, and experiment with innovations in scholarly communication, the conference included flash panels as well as poster sessions. Curated thematic streams helped organize the content of the sessions and enhanced the cohesion of the conference. A pre-conference workshop on tenure brought together assistant professors at American universities with Society leaders for a mentoring discussion of the tenure process. The Society owes a debt of gratitude to the Berkeley team and to Mark Sandberg for his inspiring leadership as president these past several years.

The SASS Executive Council met on Thursday afternoon, May 2, and the General Business Meeting, late on Friday afternoon. Topics of discussion included the transition of our journal Scandinavian Studies to its new editorial home at the University of Illinois Press, and the installation of our new editor Susan Brandy as well as our new book review editor Andrew Nestingen. University of Illinois Press Journals Manager Clydette Wantland spoke at both meetings. Meeting business included the approval of a modest increase in membership fees, a motion to amend the constitution in case of a tied vote for a Society office, and a redefinition of the Secretary-Treasurer office as an Executive Director. All of these important changes in the constitution of the Society require a vote by the general membership. An important event at the conference banquet was a tribute to outgoing Scandinavian Studies editor Steven Sondrup, who brought out his last issue of the journal at the end of the summer in 2013. Steven's work these many years has provided our Society with a journal of great reputation and impeccable editorial accuracy, one that contributes vitally to the field of Scandinavian Studies internationally. Executive Council members Tim Tangherlini and Anna Westerstahl-Stenport completed their terms of service to the Society, while newly elected Executive Council members Chip Oscarson and Peter Leonard began their terms immediately after the close of the conference. Likewise, after the end of the conference, Thomas DuBois took over as 2013-15 President, and Margaret O'Leary as 2013-15 Vice President.

During the remainder of 2013, work continued on the Society's coming conferences. SASS 2014--a joint conference with the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies--was planned for March 13-15, 2014, to take place on the campus of Yale University, with conference accommodations at the Omni New Haven Hotel at Yale. The planning committee, made up of Bradley Woodworth, Sherrill Harbison, Sharon Franklin-Rahkonen, Jadwiga Biskupska, Marianne Lyden, and Mara Lazda worked through the many details of the large and ambitious joint conference, timed to coincide with the Yale University spring break. …

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