“Meet the professor: Rolf Strom-Olsen”

Written on June 2, 2010 by Roberto Arribas in Arts & Humanities, General, Highlights

    Could you tell us about your professional and academic experiences so far?

I have a BA from the University of Pennsylvania, a MA from McGill University and a Ph.D. from Northwestern University. In1998/1999 I was a Fulbright scholar to Spain. I took a break from my academic pursuits between 2000 and 2006, to found a company called ‘UR Mobile,’ which specialised in digital information delivery to the medical and scientific communities. In 2009, I completed my Ph.D. focusing on the role of ceremony and court ritual as instruments of state-building in fifteenth-century Burgundy. I am currently preparing a number of articles around this topic for publication in the near future.

 How and when did you get in touch with IE University? Do you develop any specific role?

Since 2007, I have been involved with ‘Sapiens Tribune,’ the blog for the IE Humanities program. In 2009, I was approached about teaching in the newly launched international program at IE University and I have subsequently assisted in the development of the humanities curriculum both at the undergraduate and graduate levels.  

 What course/courses do you teach? Why is this course/are these courses important for a student?

I teach the Freshman class “History of Ideas,” which is mandatory for all students in all programs and provides an overview of the development of Western thought. It is designed to offer a knowledge of the cultural inheritance of the West, challenge students about their understanding of the critical intellectual concepts that have been developed, as well as place them in their historical context.  

 Could you give us three books, TV series, movies, you would recommend? Why?

1. TV: The HBO series ‘The Wire’, which set a new standard for narrative and character development and is one of the most compelling television series in modern memory.
2. Book: I could select many books, of course, but one that I have recently enjoyed is Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake – an exceptionally well-written novel in the genre of dystopian fiction that I think is highly memorable, in large measure because of the landscape that Atwood creates – an example of a writer at the top of her craft.
3. Movie: The Big Lebowski, because the Dude abides.


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