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  • Lecture on Aboriginal Knowledge and Academic Discourse on Friday 21 August at 12:00

    28. júlí 2015

    Hartmut_LutzDr. Hertmut Lutz, Professor emeritus from the University of Greifswald, Germany, gives a lecture at the Vigdís Finnbogadóttir Institute of Foreign Languages on Friday 21 Agust at 12-13, in room 101 in Oddi at the University of Iceland.

    The lecture is entitled “‘They Talk, We Listen,’ or ‘Theory coming through
    story’: Aboriginal Knowledge and Academic Discourse” and will be delivered in English. All are welcome.


    Since the beginning of Native Studies in the late Sixties and early Seventies, North American Aboriginal writers and intellectuals have, again and again, demanded that we unplug our ears and minds and listen to their voices (Deloria, Forbes), but it seems hard to overcome the Eurocentric notion that “all knowledge worth knowing...was created in Europe”, and that before their colonization, non-European Indigenes had been “sitting on [their] thumbs waiting for enlightenment” (Episkenew).  Using a variety of Indigenous interventions, the presentation will focus on some of the possible reasons for the centuries-old European and Euro-American inability to listen to and take seriously Indigenous philosophies and empirical scientific knowledge. Apart from the prevalent European cultural hubris that the achievements of the enlightenment eclipsed, once and for all, any other forms of scientific insight, the inability to listen also hinges on the way in which such insights are conveyed, and on the ethics they entail. If, as J. Armstrong maintains, “science is nature’s intelligence”, it makes no difference if that intelligence is expressed “through [written] scientific formulae or [spoken] words.”  Following Armstrong’s logic, and acknowledging that Aboriginal oral traditions record, store and transmit centuries and millennia of empirical knowledge about how to live well with the land and all its creatures, we have to acknowledge that empirical knowledge which is conveyed as “theory coming through stories” (Maracle) must be read on a par with abstract scientific formula like the periodic table.

    About the scholar:

    Hartmut Lutz taught North American Literatures and Cultures at University of Greifswald, Germany, until his retirement in 2011. His doctorate at the University of Tübingen in 1973 was on psychoanalysis and literature, entitled William Goldings Prosawerk im Lichte der Analytischen Psychologie Carl Gustav Jungs und der Psychoanalyse Sigmund Freuds (1975). His habilitation at the University of Osnabrück in 1983 on Indian stereotyping in U.S. and German cultures was entitled "Indianer" und "Native Americans":
    Zur sozial- und literaturhistorischen Vermittlung eines Stereotyps (1985).

    Books include: D-Q University (Davis, Ca. 1980), Achte Deines Bruders Traum!
    (1987, 1997), Minority Literatures in North America (1989), Contemporary
    Challenges: Conversations With Canadian Native Authors (Saskatoon, 1991), Approaches (2002), Connections (Delhi 2003), and The Diary of Abraham Ulrikab (Ottawa, 2005), Howard Adams ‘Otapaway’ (Saskatoon, 2005), What Is Your Place? (2007), Canada in Grainau (2009), Heute sind wir hier/We Are Here Today, (2009), Despite Harper (2014), and Johan Adrian Jacobsen’s Voyage With the Labrador Eskimos 1880-1881 (Gatineau 2014) and Contemporary Achievements: Contextualizing Canadian Aboriginal Literatures (2015). Lutz founded the OBEMA-series, which published twice a year bilingual editions of works by minority authors (1989-1998).

    He taught at the universities of Cologne, Osnabrück, Greifswald and Szczecin (Poland), and at the Native Studies programs in North America including University of California Davis, Dartmouth College, and Saskatchewan Indian Federated College. Guest professorships took him to Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Poland, Romania, and Spain. He received Fulbright-, ACLS-, DAAD- and ICCS-fellowships, the Harris Chair (Dartmouth College), the Canadian Government’s 2003 John G. Diefenbaker Award (Ottawa U), the 2012/13 Killam Visiting Fellowship at the University of Calgary, and a 2013 ICCS “Certificate of Merit, in recognition of outstanding contributions to the development of Canadian Studies.”

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  • A Celebration on the 35th Anniversary of the World’s First Woman President

    24. júní 2015

    Vigdis_Finnbogadottir 1980















    On Sunday 28 June at 19:40-21:00 festivities will take place at Arnarhóll square in central Reykjavik Lækjargata on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of Vigdís Finnbogadóttir’s democratic election to the Icelandic presidency. She was the first woman in the world to be elected to President in democratic elections.

    The event is organized by the Vigdís Finnbogadóttir Institute of Foreign Languages and the University of Iceland in cooperation with Alþingi, the Icelandic Parliament, the City of Reykjavík, the Icelandic Association of Local Authorities, the Committee on the 100 years anniversary of women’s suffrage in Iceland, and dozens of associations in the numerous fields where Vigdís Finnbogadóttir has been particularly active.

    Many artists will participate in this event which is designed to reach a large public, in particular young people. Among the actors and the musicians featured in the program, feature the Icelandic Wonderbrass band, the Faroese singer Eivør Pálsdóttir, the Danish lyric singer Palle Knudsen, the Swedish lyric singer Ylva Kihlberg, Baggalútur and Samaris bands and others.  

    Two Icelandic writers, the President of the Icelandic Parliament and Vigdís Finnbogadóttir herself will address the audience.

    Several choirs will gather together before the event and sing along with the audience. All are welcome.

    Vigdis_Finnbogadottir 19. júní 2015

















    Credit photos: Róbert Ágústsson (2 August1980) and Una María Óskarsdóttir (19 June 2015).

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  • The Aesthetics of Proletarian Literature in the Americas: Lecture on Friday 28 August 2015

    15. júní 2015

    Anna Björk Einarsdóttir, doctoral student at the University of California, Davis, gives a lecture at the University of Iceland on the aesthetics of proletarian literature in the Americas. The lecture will take place on Friday 28 August at 12:00-13:00. The location will be announced at a later date.

    The lecture, which will be delivered in Icelandic, deals with North and South American proletarian literature with a reference to the realist tradition in Scandinavia. Production of proletarian literature peaked during the 1920s and 30s with writers all over the world committing to the communist cause and contributing to the movement for proletarian and socialist literature. The lecture charts out the main characteristics of proletarian literature in Argentina, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia as well as the US while analyzing the aesthetics of proletarianism. Besides demonstrating the variety of subject positions that constituted the proletariat in each national literature, the paper focuses on how class consciousness is theorized and how that consciousness shapes the literary form.

    Anna Björk is a PhD candidate in Comparative Literature at the University of California, Davis. Her research focuses on 20th century literature of the Americas with a specific emphasis on the 1920s and 30s, the trajectory of realism throughout the 20th century, the connection between proletarian literature and the avant garde movements.

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