This week at DIS is known as “Core Course Week.” Instead of meeting in my regularly scheduled classes, the entire week was dedicated to intensive studies with my core course (in my case, Prostitution and the Sex Trade). This week also included the first of two study tours with my core class. In accordance with DIS’s academic model “Copenhagen as your home, Europe as your classroom,” my class had the opportunity to travel together to Sweden for two days and attend a series of lectures.
Sweden was an optimal location for our study tour because their policy regarding prostitution is quite different from the Danish legislative model. While prostitution is legalized in Denmark, Sweden takes a unique approach. Though the selling of sex is legal, the purchase of sex is criminalized. This approach, more commonly known as the Nordic model, is designed to protect sex workers while minimizing the rates of prostitution and sex trafficking in Sweden.
Prior to our trip, the class had been assigned a selection of readings that analyzed the effectiveness of the legal policy. Thus, we were eager to hear from some of the people who had experienced this model in action, hoping to learn more about its pros and cons.
During our time in Sweden, we attended five different lectures regarding the Nordic model. Three of these lectures were from representatives of non-profit organizations working in Sweden. In addition, we heard from a member of the Swedish police and an academic who researched the “Multiplicities of Prostitution Experience” in Sweden.
It was so interesting to hear from this wide variety of perspectives within our organized lectures. However, we also gained insight by speaking to Swedish citizens during our study tour. While in Sweden, we were assigned an interview project. In small groups, we asked some of the people we encountered about their views on prostitution and the Nordic Model. By doing so, we learned a great deal about public perception and the Swedish mentality in regards to sex work.
On our way back into Denmark, we visited the famous Louisiana Museum of Modern Art. As a class group, we were able to attend a private tour of the “Men and Masculinity” exhibit. Though the exhibit wasn’t directly related to our course material, our tour at Louisiana was spefically curated to spark discussion about the link between gender roles and sexuality.
Though our trip had ended, we continued our discussion and debate throughout the week. For instance, on Thursday, we heard from a representative from the Rose Alliance, a Swedish organization for sex workers. Even though we were back in Copenhagen, this lecture was one of the highlights of core course week for me. If you’re interested in what we’re discussing as a class, I’d recomment the Rose Alliance’s website!
This has been such an amazing week. After traveling to Sweden together, my class has definitely become much closer as a group, and I can’t wait to travel again (to Amsterdam!!) with my new group of friends at the end of October.