ASANOR 2022 – America and the Sea: Bachelor of English Students Test the Waters

In week 39, Nord University hosted the American Studies Association of Norway’s biennial conference. The event attracted over 75 participants from around the world to engage in scholarly discussions and research presentations concerning this year’s theme: American and the Sea.

Amid the scholars and experts, Bachelor of English students played a special role in the conference’s organization; 18 BAENG students served as assistants throughout the conference, contributing with pre-conference preparations, advising participants, helping with technical and practical issues, and taking photographs of the conference proceedings.

ASANOR board member Laura Castor with BAENG student Israel Ishola

According to ASANOR president Professor Lene Johannessen (University of Bergen, Norway),

“the students performed their roles as hosts and helpers to the utmost, and provided conference participants with what assistance was needed throughout.” 

ASANOR board member Professor Laura Castor (University of Tromsø, Norway) was similarly impressed, adding: 

“to mobilize the students in such creative and constructive ways added to the conference greatly and will benefit their learning.”

ASANOR president Lene Johannessen with BAENG Programme Coordinator Jessica Allen Hanssen

Of course, students did more than just serve a support function during the conference. They had recently read the great American maritime novel Moby-Dick as part of their coursework, and they were excited to engage with scholars who were researching some of its themes and contexts. 

Students were invited to attend panels of their choice, as well as to interview panelists—asking about their research interests and backgrounds, as well as for advice on continuing their own studies of English. It was hard work, and students were rewarded with an unforgettable night at the movies (sponsored by the Bodø Film Club and FLU’s international committee) to watch the 1956 production of Melville’s epic novel at the historic Fram Kino.

“It is important that English students have the chance to experience the professional side of academic life,” explains Prof. Jessica Allen Hanssen, pedagogical coordinator for ASANOR 2022. She continues, “It was great for them to work closely with event manager Heather McKendry, and to see first-hand how many moving pars are involved in an academic conference. I see their assistance with ASANOR as a step towards many career possibilities, both inside and outside academia.”

According to BAENG’s Eureka student representative Andjela Dmitrijevic, “Organizing this conference was obviously not easy, and our role as students was just a tiny part of it, but we could not sense any stress or nervousness. The positive energy and joy were all over the place, which made this experience very special to me, and it definitely awakened more questions I will have in mind regarding my future.”

Please click the names below to read the interviews and see the photos of selected panelists.

Jen Atkins (Florida State University, USA)
Nina De Bettin Padolin (University of Graz, Austria)
Cassandra Falke (University of Tromsø, Norway)
Peter Ferry (University of Stavanger, Norway)
Anna Marta Marini (Universidad de Alcalá, Spain)
Hamid Masfour (Sultan Moulay Sliman University, Morocco)
Jeff Slomba (Southern Connecticut State University, USA)
Georgia Soares (Harvard University, USA)
David Valente (Nord University, Norway)

All photography by BAENG students Ulrika Grinberga, Daphne Hanssen, Thi Huyen Tran Hunyh, and Andreea-Măriuca Tanasă.

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