Presentation – Ph.D. Björn Apelkvist, Lecturer of Swedish Language and Literature


   I was born in Turku, Finland, in 1969, and grew up there as a member of the Swedish speaking minority. In 1988 I took my high-school diploma at the Fenno-Swedish Katedralskolan in Turku. For university studies I turned to Sweden and Uppsala in 1989, and took a Bachelor of the Arts degree in August 1992, after following the cultural programme (Kulturvetarlinjen) with literature as my main subject. Beginning Ph.D.-studies in literature already in september the same year.

   After putting my research plans on the shelf for some years, and working at among other places the Uppsala University Library instead, I felt ready to recommense Ph.D. studies in 1997. Having moved to Lund in the very south of Sweden in 1994, along with my wife Åsa Apelkvist (whom I met in Uppsala in 1992), I applied for doctoral studies at Litteraturvetenskapliga institutionen in Lund and was approved in september 1997. This by means mainly of a Masters degree essay on the Swedish dramatist Lars Norén, that was published the year after as an article.

   Five years of self-financed hard work with Lars Noréns dramatic works of the 1980s finally, in spring 2003, resulted in an employment at the university as a Ph.D.-student. This position laid ground for a faster completion of my doctoral thesis than I had expected. On 4th of June 2005, I successfully defended my work and was hereby awarded the doctors degree. The thesis later received the Stina and Erik Lundberg-scholarship awarded by the Swedish Academy.

During my period as an employee of Lunds university (march 2003 – July 2005), I also functioned as assistant to the Ph.D. Students at the institution, dealing with different kinds of administrative dutys and publishing important information to the entire staff at the institution.

   As a Ph.D. –student I took part in the SASS-conference in Los Angeles, U.S.A., 15-17 of april 2004, with a paper titled ”Strindberg´s image of the mother at fin-de-siècle”, and at the conference ”The Future of Comparative Literature and the Nordic Perspective” in Helsinki, Finland on 3-4 september 2004, with the paper “Strindberg and Norén – a case study of comparative literature”. In autumn 2005, as a fresh Ph. D., I was engaged as a teacher on the ground level education at my mother institution in Lund, giving lectures on among other things Joseph Conrad´s Heart of Darkness, and Henrik Ibsen´s Peer Gynt.

   In december 2005, following an invitation from Head of Department Sanda Tomescu, I gave a lecture on Lars Norén for students of Scandinavian languages at the university Babes-Bolyai in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. The arrangement became an inspiring fulfilment of my since many years deep interest in the Eastern European countries. This interest I share with my wife Åsa, who speaks Romanian fluently and has created a wide network of connections with the country after thorough studies by means of a scholarship from the Swedish Institute, Stockholm, at Babes-Bolyai, and also through a summer scholarship at the Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, Romania. As the translator into Romanian of Lars Norén´s Play Demons, my wife Åsa appeared together with myself presenting Lars Noréns dramatic works at the launching of the book arranged by the Swedish Emabassy, also in december 2005, in Cluj-Napoca.

   As a writer and scholar, I have apart from my projects on Norén since the late 1990s also engaged myself in writing essays intended for a wider audience, mostly published in the Fenno-Swedish cultural magazines Horisont and Finsk tidskrift. In both of them I also function as a critic of new Swedish literature.

   As a scholar, essayist, critic and lecturer I picture myself as driven by a broad and thorough humanistic engagement, inspired by names such as the American existential psychologist Rollo May and the Finnish philosopher Georg Henrik von Wright. A future literary research school that after the focus on texts as merely texts during the last decades would reinvent the ordinary, everyday reality behind the texts as the main object of studies, putting its interest not to the least on psychological matters, suggests to me an orientation or a vision I strongly identify with. As indicated in the research plan attached to the application, I wish to pursue further studies into the dramatic works of Lars Norén in the future.

   Since October 2006, I am posted as the Swedish Lecturer at the faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures at Bucharest University, Romania. By terms of this position, financed by both the Romanian university and the Swedish institute, Stockholm, I have been able to develop a comprehensive Three year B.A.-programme for Swedish as Second Foreign Language (B-language) with a main focus on Swedish Literature and Culture, including among other things courses on Swedish Children´s literature, Modern Bourgeois Family Drama from Strindberg to Norén, and The Swedish Welfare State and it´s Ideology of Solidarity.

   I find my current work conditions highly stimulating, having the opportunity to use all aspects of my educational competence teaching and introducing the cultural history and various circumstances of my language to young students (approximately 80 active on different levels) with at the beginning quite brief knowledge of the Nordic Countries, Languages and Cultures in general. Finally I am also constantly engaged in what always has been my greatest passion in life, the Swedish language itself.

   In Romania I have also developed contacts with editors of different humanistic research periodicals and cultural magazines, hereby having been able to continue publishing articles in the areas of my interests, partly in Romanian, partly in English (see publications).

Overall I am greatly satisfied with life and work in Romania, together with my wife Åsa and our three small children Freja, Nikita and Ossian (aged 11, 9 and 6 respectively).





Pagină actualizată la 09 Aprilie 2014.