2019 Holberg Prize and Nils Klim Prize Laureates Named

Picture of the two
2019 Holberg Prize Laureate Paul Gilroy (left) and 2019 Nils Klim Prize Laureate Finnur Dellsén (right)

On 14 March, the Holberg Prize - one of the largest international prizes awarded annually to an outstanding researcher in the arts and humanities, the social sciences, law or theology - named British cultural historian and postcolonial scholar Paul Gilroy its 2019 Laureate. The Nils Klim Prize is awarded to Icelandic philosopher Finnur Dellsén for his research in epistemology and the philosophy of science. Both the Holberg Prize and the Nils Klim Prize will be conferred during a ceremony at the University of Bergen on 5 June.

As a scholar and a political advocate, Gilroy is known for his opposition to all forms of racism and ethnic absolutism. Through his authorship and through public discussion, he explores the possibility of moving away from the ingrained habit of simply accepting race as a matter of political ontology. He refutes what he sees as the absurdities of “raciological thinking,” wherever they appear. In response to their appeal he has championed the creative, humane possibilities that arise with the necessity to dwell convivially and the urgent obligation to assemble institutions that can accommodate the irreducible complexity of post-colonial societies. He is also a sensitive interpreter of black aesthetics, and has done much to encourage emergent black artists, writers and intellectuals. For many years, Gilroy has been among the most frequently cited black scholars in the humanities and social sciences.

Describing the key purpose of his work, Gilroy says: “My research responds to the deficit of imagination that denies all human beings the same degree of humanity. I have focused on the infrahuman presence that results from the invocation of racial difference, and tried to re-write humanism by stretching it to more accommodating moral and political dimensions.” “For me,” he says, “a critique of racism and race-thinking provides a route into clearer, deeper understanding of humankind and its contested nature.”

Read more about the 2019 Holberg Prize Laureate Paul Gilroy here.

Associate Professor Finnur Dellsén at the Department of Philosophy, University of Iceland, is an outstanding and original philosopher. Despite his young age, he is at the cutting edge of his field, with an impressive list of publications in internationally renowned journals.

Finnur Dellsén writes about highly complex philosophical matters in a clear and concise style. He frequently takes examples from everyday life to clarify his arguments, while using technical language and formal logic to substantiate them. He thoroughly examines the arguments involved and fairly considers alternative accounts of the topic in question. His philosophical work is impressively original, perceptive and precise.

Read more about the 2019 Nils Klim Prize Laureate Finnur Dellsén here.

  • The Holberg Prize is an international prize awarded annually by the government of Norway to outstanding scholars for work in the arts, humanities, social sciences, law and theology, either within one of these fields or through interdisciplinary work.
  • The Nils Klim Prize is awarded annually to Nordic scholars under the age of 35, for outstanding contributions within the arts and humanities, social sciences, law or theology, either within one of the relevant fields alone or through work of an interdisciplinary nature.