Luca Arruns Panaro

Luca Panaro earned a BA in History with a minor in Medieval Studies from the University of New Mexico, and went on to complete an MA/MPhil in Viking and Medieval Norse Studies from the University of Iceland and the University of Oslo. He is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative Literature at the University of Iceland, conducting research on the modern reception of Old Norse culture.

His focus in this regard is on discerning the effects that the recent popularity of Old Norse narratives and themes in the global popular entertainment industry has had on our perceptions and memories of this material, particularly in arenas of new media such as video games.

Supervisor: Björn Þór Vilhjálmsson.

The Ph.D. project argues that medieval Scandinavian/Viking subjects have become increasingly pervasive in popular culture over the past ten to fifteen years, and that this development is a marked change in public perceptions of this material since World War II. By exploring this change and analyzing the nature of the processes involved, this project will also touch upon the powerful influences of new storytelling media upon the human imagination and collective perceptions, as well as the problematic socio-political receptions of Vikings in recent events. While television and film play a large role in popular perceptions of Vikings, special attention will be paid to video games (an industry grossing hundreds of billions of dollars yearly in international markets), which have not yet been considered in the field of Old Norse studies. To accomplish this study, a wide array of both the medieval Icelandic literature and modern works of narrative will be selected. These will be analyzed to determine the most prominent features, motifs, types, etc. that survive into the modern day and thus most prominently influence public perceptions and popular culture. This project thus approaches the legacy of medieval Scandinavia as a continuum of memory creation that informs successive works.