Anna Rühl, a doctoral student in Norwegian Studies, has been awarded the 2014-2015 Ruth Kielland - Leif and Sophie Løvdal Fellowship.The fellowship will allow Anna to spend an academic year at the University of Bergen, Norway, where professor Pål Bjørby has graciously agreed to host her and help supervise her dissertation project entitled 'Imot naturen?' - Images of 'nature' in contemporary Norwegian life-writing. In her dissertation, Anna aims to examine the ways in which different traditions of life-writing in Norwegian literature from the 1990ies to today conceptualize nature and the natural, both in the sense of the non-human environment as well as in that of human nature. She will apply a broadly ecocritical approach to the texts, treating them as indicative of societal attitudes towards the environment in Norwegain culture at a certain time. The so-called autofictional genre currently popular in Norway - as exemplified by the overwhelming success of Karl Ove Knausgårds monumental autobiography Min kamp - is particularly interesting in this respect as it claims to portray life "as it is," thus naturalizing socially constructed understandings of the natural world and of human nature.
The most prestigious award the Department has to offer, the Kielland-Løvdal Fellowship supports dissertation research for up to a year by providing funds for living expenses, travel and research costs. Graduate students in Norwegian or Swedish studies are eligible to receive the award which honors the life and work of three extraordinary individuals who meant so much to the generous donor of the endowment.