This year’s Bjug A. Harstad Memorial Lecture will be held on Monday, March 14, 2016 at 7 pm in PLU’s Scandinavian Cultural Center. The lecture, “The Role of National Identities in a Rapidly Changing World,” will be delivered by Dr. Hege C. Finholt, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Arts and Ideas at the University of Oslo, Norway.

Dr. Hege C. Finholt holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from Boston University and a master’s degree in philosophy from the University of Oslo. She has taught at several universities in the U.S., including Boston College, Boston University, and University of Massachusetts. She did post-doctoral work at the Centre for Ethics at the University of Toronto, financed by the Canadian government, and has received other study grants from the Norway-America Association, Sons of Norway, and the American-Scandinavian Foundation. In Norway, she worked as an assistant professor at Lillehammer University College prior to her current position at the University of Oslo. Her research is focused on how one should understand the normative underpinnings of political power, national identities and democracy.

Lecture abstract:
National identities play a strong role in people’s lives. And yet, it is not always obvious what we mean by national identities and the role in which it plays in political arrangements. For instance, European integration has in many places lead to a revival of nationalism where some politicians argue that their particular national values are being attacked due to European integration- and globalization in general. They worry that economic and political integration will eventually erase the plurality of national identities that we find in Europe today. By giving a philosophical analysis of nationhood and national identity I argue that such a worry is both important but also deeply misguided. I argue that it is possible to envision a European Union, or similar political arrangements, that is the home of a plurality of national identities. This is, however, not an easy task and it requires a fundamental change in the way in which Europeans think about the normative underpinnings of political power and the relationship between democracy and justice.

The Bjug A. Harstad Memorial Lecture is an endowed lectureship made possible through the generous support of the Harstad family and friends.