ESP Biography



KHAI TRAN, Yale Junior in Norse & Viking studies




Major: Humanities

College/Employer: Yale

Year of Graduation: 2020

Picture of Khai Tran

Brief Biographical Sketch:

Hi there! I'm a junior at Yale and a Humanities major. My research focuses on Old Norse mythology & Scandinavian studies (anything Viking-related, really). I also enjoy Harry Potter;

Contact:
khai.tran@yale.edu
khaitrangtran@gmail.com



Past Classes

  (Look at the class archive for more.)


Seiðr -- The Norse Magic and its Practitioners in Sprout Fall 18
Seiðr (seidhr, seithr, seid) is the collective term for a set of complex Viking Age sorcery and rituals that plays a significant role in Old Norse society, reflected strongly in Old Norse (mostly Old Icelandic) sagas, and to a lesser extent in Old Norse mythology. As a social phenomenon, seiðr is treated as a powerful weapon, a versatile means to achieve political and personal agendas, and both a gift and a curse to those who practice it. Practitioners of seiðr often find themselves in a struggle between divine and earthly powers, sometimes serving as the literal and symbolic medium, especially when tasked to predict the fate of heroes. This class surveys the practice of seiðr in mythological/cosmic texts (in the poetic edda and skaldic verses) and the secular sagas. The goal is to understand seiðr beyond a mere literary trope, a narrative device, or a convenient shortcut. Seiðr and its practitioners form a mysterious yet captivating aspect of Norse culture that survives, although in completely different forms and functions, well into our time.


The Art of Language Invention - Create Your Own Language in Sprout Fall 17
Most of us speak at least one language, and have the ability to learn more. But has the thought of creating your own language ever occurred to you? This course will provide you with fundamental linguistics framework and tools to help you create your own language, one that only you can control, develop, and share with others. With the focus on sound inventory, word order, and writing system, we will discuss the most illuminating aspects of human languages that you’ve never realized existed! Some examples will be drawn from famous invented (fictional) languages including Valyrian and Dothraki in Games of Thrones, Na'vi in Avatar, and Quenya in Lord of the Rings.


Old Norse Mythology in Sprout Fall 17
This course is an introduction to the Old Norse pantheon and mythology. We will explore the Old Norse myth as 1) the religious belief of the Vikings in pre-Christian Scandinavia 2) an inspiration for art and literature from medieval to modern time, including Thor movies 3) the root of Nazism, racism, and neopaganism. After a brief introduction to the main gods and goddesses, we will discuss Old Norse mythology through the following themes: magic-gender relation, different types of magic and powers, heroism and attitude towards death, gender flexibility, wisdom and power struggle. We will conclude with a short writing exercise on a subject of your choice. * There will be take-home readings.


A Brief History of Ancient Greek Medicine in Splash Fall 17
Illness is a universal experience, but for each society and culture, what counts as being "sick", what is considered "medicine", and what is thought of as "treatments" can vary tremendously. Ancient Greek medicine, influenced by the famous doctor Hippocrates and the Hippocratic corpus, was the accepted standard for Western medical practice until the 19th century. What makes this pseudoscience so popular and persistent through time? What theoretical frameworks enabled gruesome practices such as bloodletting to become the accepted treatments? What lessons can be learned from the ancient Greek medical tradition to benefit today's model of public health? This class will introduce you to the legendary/historical Hippocrates and his writings. We'll then discuss topics in epidemics (plague of Athens), "women's medicine", reproductive health, mental health, and public health in the Hippocratic tradition.


Old Norse Mythology in Splash Fall 17
This course is an introduction to the Old Norse pantheon and mythology. After a brief introduction to the main gods and goddesses, we will discuss Old Norse mythology through the following themes: magic-gender relation, different types of magic and powers, heroism and attitude towards death, gender flexibility, wisdom and power struggle.


Etymology in Splash Fall 17
What does the term 'psychology' have to do with butterflies? How are 'gentlemen' and 'hydrogen' related? The answers can be found in their etymologies. Etymology - a subfield of Linguistics - is the investigation of word histories, origins, and formations. This course introduces you to the etymology of the English language. We will learn about the various ways that English words are formed, hidden links and connections between them, and their unexpected origins.