Melissa Gjellstad To Examine ‘When Men Speak: Masculinities And Fathering In Millennial Norwegian Literature’ At The Final UND Faculty Lecture April 19

Melissa Gjellstad, assistant professor and Norwegian Program director in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures at the University of North Dakota, will present the fifth and final lecture of the 2011-2012 Faculty Lecture Series.

The upcoming lecture is titled “When Men Speak: Masculinities and Fathering in Millennial Norwegian Literature,” and will be presented on Thursday at the North Dakota Museum of Art. A reception will start at 4 p.m., followed by the lecture at 4:30 p.m.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

Melissa Gjellstad
Melissa Gjellstad, an assistant professor in the Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures Department and Norwegian Program director, has been a faculty member since 2008. She’s also a Graduate School and Gender and Women Studies Program affiliate. Her strong advocacy for Norway’s storied culture, the land and its people has resulted in an expansion of the Norwegian Program at UND in her short tenure here.  She has created a thriving program, designing many of the language, literature and culture courses from scratch.

Since taking over the program, the number of students majoring and minoring has doubled. Students studying abroad also have increased.

Gjellstad, a native of Velva, N.D., took her first Norwegian class to fulfill an undergraduate language requirement and following a study-abroad program in Norway at the University of Oslo, her passion was ignited. With curiosity now fueling her interest, she completed a Ph.D. in Scandinavian Languages and Literatures at the University of Washington in 2004 after finishing her master’s there and her bachelor’s at Concordia College in Moorhead.

Gjellstad has been recognized for many achievements throughout her professional career; her most recent include: Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award (2011), Summer First-Year Experience (FYE) Pilot Development Project Award (2011), and the Faculty Star Award (2009). She also received several notable fellowships, some of which include the American Scandinavian Foundation Fellowship to research at the Center for Women’s Studies and Gender Research at the University of Oslo in Norway (2006), and the Fulbright Fellowship to research at the University of Bergen also in Norway (2002-2003).

Her expertise is in contemporary Scandinavian literature, primarily Norwegian, and the literary representation of motherhood and fatherhood in those texts. Her research focus is on feminist and masculinity theory inform, among other topics. Prior to her arrival at UND, Gjellstad completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of Agder in Kristiansand, Norway, where she worked with a team on a project titled “Different Families; an Investigation of Family Understandings in Legal Texts and Literature.” Gjellstad has published on several contemporary Norwegian authors.

Gjellstad has earned an international reputation for innovative teaching approaches and research. Last year, she was elected to the advisory board of the Society for the Advancement of Scandinavian Study, promoting Scandinavian languages, literature, history, culture and society in North America. Gjellstad also launched online beginning Norwegian language classes at UND, the only courses for university credit in this language currently offered online.

Recently, Gjellstad has been instrumental in her planning and coordination of a national traveling exhibit titled “Cold Recall: Reflections of a Polar Explorer,” which currently is staged at the UND Chester Fritz Library. The exhibit examines one of the greatest adventures of the early 20th century: the race to the South Pole.

As part of the “Cold Recall” exhibit, Gjellstad worked with others on campus to attract Ann Bancroft, modern-day polar explorer and educator, to UND for a Great Conversation event, which Gjellstad moderated on April 12.

Helpful links:
University Faculty Lecture homepage

Melissa Gjellstad’s Faculty profile

Eric Gunderson, Student Writer Intern, Office of University Relations, 701.777.3603 or at