Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Welcome to Our Letter Exchange

Dear Students,

Thank you for participating in this international online conversation among students from one Swedish university and one American university, representing several academic levels and subject areas. We believe this cross-cultural letter exchange will increase your understanding of poetry, poetic language, and the various ways readers in differing contexts come to understand and appreciate poems. For this project, we will read three poems by the Swedish poet, Tomas Tranströmer and publish your letters online at our blog: Cross-Cultural Collaboration Spring 2010: A Conversation about the Poetry of Tomas Tranströmer.

Chalmers University of Technology in Göteborg, Sweden
The engineering students at Chalmers have a range of electives to choose from, and the students in this exchange on poetry take the course “Fiction for Engineers,” taught by Magnus Gustafsson. So, the students come from a variety of engineering disciplines and are all BSc students with at least two years of their engineering programme completed. The seminar meets once a week and apart from discussing the set texts, it is also geared towards preparing the students for their term paper assignment. The poetry exchange will form a part of their journal assignment and can be used as a starter for their term papers. Although English is not the first language of these students, some of whom are international students on a variety of MSc programs, the course is conducted in English like all the MSc courses at Chalmers and some of the electives.

Clemson University in Clemson, South Carolina, USA
Clemson is a land-grant institution focused largely on the sciences and engineering, but with a commitment to the arts and humanities. With over 17,000 students, the university has a strong orientation towards service to the communities of which it is a part. The university seeks to provide for its students opportunities for academic research and access to advanced technology in the environment of a small college.The students in this section of World Literature are largely English majors in the first year or two of their university coursework. The class meets twice a week with the aim of developing skills in critical thinking, close reading, and interpretation through assignments centering on a series eight works spanning a literary history from the epic Beowulf to Aravind Adiga’s White Tiger (2008). The poetry exchange will form a part of students’ written responses to literature and underscore the international dimension of their study.


Magnus Gustafsson, “Fiction for Engineers,” Chalmers University of Technology, Göteborg, Sweden
Cameron Bushnell, “World Literature,” Clemson University, South Carolina, USA
Donna Reiss, Project Consultant and Blog Manager, Clemson University, South Carolina, USA
Art Young, Project Consultant and Founding Developer (with Gustafsson and Reiss) of Cross-Cultural Collaborations, Clemson University, South Carolina, USA