About the Holberg Prize

Björn Wittrock

Björn Wittrock is University Professor at Uppsala University and Principal of the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS), Uppsala. He has formerly been Lars Hierta Professor of Government at Stockholm University.

He is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and of Academia Europaea, and of the editorial board of its journal European Review.

Björn Wittrock has worked extensively with research councils, academies, and institutes for advanced study in a number of countries and has been a member of panels of the German Council of Science and Humanities (Wissenschaftsrat); the Max-Planck-Society (MPG); the European Research Council (ERC) and Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (WIKO). He was President of the International Institute of Sociology (founded in Paris in 1893) in the years 2005-2013.

He has published extensively, with nineteen books to the present day, in the fields of intellectual history, historical social science, social theory, and civilizational analysis. He has served on the editorial boards of 23 scholarly journals. His publications from recent years include: Nordic Paths to Modernity (Berghahn, 2012, with Johann P. Arnason); Frontiers of Sociology (Brill, 2009; with Peter Hedström); Eurasian Transformations, Tenth to Thirteenth Centuries: Crystallizations, Divergences, Renaissances (Brill, 2004; paperback edition, 2011; with Johann P. Arnason).

In 1999, Björn Wittrock was awarded the Torgny Segerstedt Medal (highest award of Uppsala University to a Swedish scholar in the social sciences and humanities). In 2003, he received an honorary doctorate at the University of Tartu. In 2008, he was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit (Bundesverdienstkreuz, 1. Kl) by the President of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Next: Pratab Bhanu Mehta
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Dame Hazel Genn

Dame Hazel Genn is Dean of Laws, Professor of Socio-Legal Studies and co-director of the UCL Judicial Institute in the Faculty of Laws at University College London, where she is also an Honorary Fellow. She previously held a Chair and was Head of the Department of Law at Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London.

In January 2006, she was appointed an Inaugural Commissioner of the new Judicial Appointments Commission established under the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 and was a member of the Committee on Standards in Public Life 2003-7. In April 2009 she was appointed to the Secretary of State's Advisory Panel on Judicial Diversity. She has been a Fellow of the British Academy since 2000, a member of its Council 2001-2004 and is currently Chair of its Communications and Publications Committee.

In 2005, she was awarded the US Law and Society International Prize for distinguished scholarship and she holds Honorary Doctorates from the Universities of Keele, Edinburgh , Leicester, and Kingston. She worked with the Judicial Studies Board for 12 years, serving as a member of the Main Board and the Tribunals Committee, and contributing to the design and delivery of training for the judiciary at all levels. She served for eight years as Deputy Chair and then Chair of the Economic and Social Research Council's Research Grants Board.

Next: Etan Kohlberg
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Etan Kohlberg

Etan Kohlberg is Professor Emeritus of Islamic Studies, Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Kohlberg's scholarly activity focuses on medieval Islamic religious thought and literature, with particular emphasis on Shia Islam. In numerous articles he has described and analyzed the principles of Shiite faith and law. He has also devoted considerable attention to Shiite literature, especially that part of it which is concerned with hadith (traditions) and with polemics against other Muslims. Another field to which he has made a major contribution is the study of martyrdom (shahada) in Islam.

Many of his writings have been translated into Persian, Turkish and Arabic.

Etan Kohlberg was twice a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies of the Hebrew University, and twice a member of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton. In 1993 he was elected to the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, and for six years represented it at the Standing Committee for the Humanities of the European Science Foundation.

Next: Björn wittrock
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Mary Jacobus

Mary Jacobus was a Fellow of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University, from 1971 to 1980. In 1980 she moved to Cornell University, where she held the John Wendell Anderson Chair of English and Women's Studies. In 2000 she returned to the UK as Grace 2 Professor of English at the University of Cambridge, where she is also a Professorial Fellow of Churchill College.

Mary Jacobus was Director of Cambridge University's Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) from 2006 - 2011.

Her past work has focused on Romanticism, feminist criticism and theory, and Continental and British psychoanalysis. She has written widely on literature, feminism, psychoanalysis, as well as visual culture, and is currently working on the artist Cy Twombly. She is a Fellow of the British Academy.

Next: Dame Hazel Genn
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Pratap Bhanu Mehta

Pratap Bhanu Mehta is President of Center for Policy Research, New Delhi. He was previously Visiting Professor of Government at Harvard University; Associate Professor of Government and of Social Studies at Harvard. He was also Professor of Philosophy and of Law and Governance at Jawaharlal Nehru University. He has also been a Visiting Professor at NYU Law School. His areas of research include, political theory, constitutional law, society and politics in India, governance and political economy and international affairs. Mehta has a B.A. First Class in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from Oxford University (St. John's College); and a Ph.D in Politics from Princeton University.

Pratab Bhanu Mehta has also done extensive public policy work. He is member of the National Security Advisory Board, Government of India. He was Member-Convenor of the Prime Minister of India’s National Knowledge Commission; Member of the Supreme Court appointed committee on elections in Indian Universities and has authored a number of papers and reports for leading Government of India and International Agencies, including the World Bank, UNRISD, DFID. He has been involved with several instituions of Higher Education. He is on the Board of Governors of International Development Research Council (IDRC), and numerous other academic institutions, including National Institute of Finance and Public Policy. He is also a member of the WEF's Global Governance Council.

Next: Mary Jacobus
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The Holberg Prize is awarded annually to scholars who have made outstanding contributions to research in the arts and humanities, social science, law or theology.

The Prize for 2015 amounts to 4.5 million NOK (approximately 538 000 EUR / 735 000 USD)

Election of prize winners

Scholars holding positions at universities and other research institutions, including academies, are entitled to nominate candidates to the Holberg Prize and the Nils Klim Prize. Deadline for nomination is June 15th each year.

The Holberg Prize Board awards the Prize at the recommendation of the Holberg Committee. The function of the nomination is to make the Committee aware of the candidate’s work.


Holberg Committee

  • Mary Jacobus, Professor Emerita, University of Cambridge og Cornell University; tidl. direktør, Centre for Research in the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, Cambridge.
  • Dame Hazel Genn, University College London
  • Etan Kohlberg, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • Björn Wittrock, Uppsala Universitetet, Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS)
  • Pratap Bhanu Mehta, President, Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi

The Holberg Board

  • Professor Sigmund Grønmo, Universitetet i Bergen (chair)
  • Professor Trude Haugli, Universitet i Tromsø
  • Professor Petter Aaslestad, Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • Professor Øivind Andersen, Det Norske Videnskaps-Akademi
  • Kjellbjørg Lunde, former director of education at the County Governor of Hordaland
Dates of future Award Ceremonies:
Statutes for the Holberg Prize

Established by the Ministry of Education and Research January 2004, last revised December 10.2013. Read more.

About Ludvig Holberg

The Holberg Prize is named after Ludvig Holberg, who was born in Bergen in 1684 and held the Chairs of Metaphysics and Logic, Latin Rhetoric and History at the University of Copenhagen. Holberg played an important part in bringing the Enlightenment to the Nordic countries. More about Ludvig Holberg