|The Holberg International Memorial Award|
|Awarded for||outstanding scholarly work in the fields of the arts and humanities, social sciences, law and theology.|
|Presented by||Government of Norway|
The Holberg Prize was established in 2003 by the government of Norway with the objective of increasing awareness of the value of academic scholarship within the arts, humanities, social sciences, law and theology, either within one of these fields or through interdisciplinary work. The prize was established in honour of Ludvig Holberg and complements the Abel Prize in mathematics established in 2001. It has been described as the "Nobel prize" for the arts and humanities, social sciences, law and theology.
The Holberg prize was established by the Norwegian Parliament 1 July 2003. The Holberg Prize is funded by the Government Budget through a direct allocation from the Ministry of Education and Research to the University of Bergen, and is administered by the University of Bergen on behalf of the Ministry of Education and Research. The Holberg Prize award ceremony takes place annually in Bergen, Norway in June.
The Holberg Board awards the prize at the recommendation of the Holberg Committee who consists of five outstanding researchers in the arts and humanities, social sciences, law and theology. The Holberg Committee gathers assessments on the short-list candidates from international recognized scholars before giving their recommendation to the Board. The Prize amount is 4.5 million Norwegian kroner (approximately €538,000 or $735,000).
The Holberg Prize is named after the Dano-Norwegian writer Ludvig Holberg who excelled in all of the sciences covered by the award.
|2004||Julia Kristeva||University of Paris||French||“for innovative explorations of questions on the intersection of language, culture and literature which inspired research across the humanities and the social sciences throughout the world and have also had a significant impact on feminist theory”|
|2005||Jürgen Habermas||University of Frankfurt||German||“for developing path-breaking theories of discourse and communicative action and thereby providing new perspectives on law and democracy”|
|2006||Shmuel Eisenstadt||Hebrew University of Jerusalem||Israeli||“for developing comparative knowledge of exceptional quality and originality concerning social change and modernization, and concerning relations between culture, belief systems and political institutions.”|
|2007||Ronald Dworkin||New York University
University College London
|American||“for developing an original and highly influential legal theory grounding law in morality, characterized by a unique ability to tie together abstract philosophical ideas and arguments with concrete everyday concerns in law, morals, and politics.”|
|2008||Fredric Jameson||Duke University||American||“for outstanding contributions to the understanding of the relation between social formations and cultural forms in a project he himself describes as the "poetics of social forms".”|
|2009||Ian Hacking||University of Toronto||Canadian||“for his combination of rigorous philosophical and historical analysis which has profoundly altered our understanding of the ways in which key concepts emerge through scientific practices and in specific social and institutional contexts.”|
|2010||Natalie Zemon Davis||University of Toronto
|“for being one of the most creative historians writing today, an intellectual who is not hostage to any particular school of thought or politics.”|
|2011||Jürgen Kocka||Free University of Berlin||German||“for effecting a paradigm shift in German historiography by opening it up to related social sciences and establishing the importance of cross-national comparative approaches.”|
|2012||Manuel Castells||University of Southern California||Spanish||for shaping "our understanding of the political dynamics of urban and global economies in the network society"|
|2013||Bruno Latour||Sciences Po||French||for having "undertaken an ambitious analysis and reinterpretation of modernity, and [having] challenged fundamental concepts such as the distinction between modern and pre-modern, nature and society, human and non-human"|
|2014||Michael Cook||Princeton University||British||for "... reshaped fields that span Ottoman studies, the genesis of early Islamic polity, the history of the Wahhabiyya movement, and Islamic law, ethics, and theology. "|
- Symposium in Honor of Julia Kristeva, 2004 
- Participants: Kelly Oliver, Denis Diderot, Sara Beardsworth, John Fletcher, Atle Kittang and Iréne Matthis.
- Symposium in Honor of Jûrgen Habermas, 2005 - "Religion in the Public Sphere" 
- Participants: Arne Johan Vetlesen, Gunnar Skirbekk, Cristina Lafont, Cathrine Holst, Helge Høibraaten, Craig Calhoun, Thomas M. Schmidt, Jon Hellesnes, Hauke Brunkhorst and Tore Lindholm.
- Symposium in Honor of Shmuel Eisenstadt, 2006 
- Participants: Jack A. Goldstone, Jonathan Friedman, Sverre Bagge, Johann P. Arnason, Donald Levine, Bernhard Giesen, Shalini Randeria, Jeffrey Alexander, Fredrik Barth, Rajeev Bhargava, Said Amir Arjomand, Shalini Randeria, Luis Roniger, Nina Witoszek-FitzPatrick, Yehuda Elkana, Georg Klein, Bernt Hagtvet and Jeffrey Alexander.
- Symposium in Honor of Ronald Dworkin, 2007 
- Participants: Jan Fridthjof Bernt, Stephen Guest, Frank Henry Sommer, Jeremy Bentham, Jeremy Waldron, Peter Koller, Rebecca Brown, Seana Shiffrin, Thomas Nagel, Rainer Forst, Dietmar von der Pfordten and Synne Sæther Mæhle.
- Symposium in Honor of Fredric Jameson, 2008 
- Participants: William A. Lane, Jr, Astrid Söderbergh Widding, Paik Nak-chung, Maria Elisa Cevasco, Wang Hui, Michael Löwy, Perry Anderson, Sara Danius, Helmut F. Stern and Xiaobing Tang.
- Symposium in Honor of Ian Hacking, 2009 
- Participants: Ragnar Fjelland, Professor Dagfinn Føllesdal, Bruna De Marchi and Merle Jacob.
- Symposium in Honor of Natalie Zemon Davies, 2010 - "Doing decentered history - the global in the local" 
- Participants: Bonnie G. Smith, David Abulafia, Joan W. Scott, Ida Blom and Erling Sverdrup Sandmo.
- Symposium in Honor of Jûrgen Kocka, 2011 - "Civil Society and the Welfare State: Competitors or allies?" 
- Participants: Theda Skocpol, Christoph Conrad, Per Selle, Simone Lässig, Stein Kuhnle and Ivar Bleiklie.
- Symposium in Honor of Manuel Castells, 2012 - "Media and Democracy" 
- Participants: Ivar Bleiklie, Helga Nowotny, Göran Therborn, Helen Margetts, Andrew Chadwick, Jostein Gripsrud, Terhi Rantanen, Annabelle Sreberny, William Dutton and Mette Andersson.
The Holberg Prize Academic Committee is composed of five members:
- Kwame Anthony Appiah, Professor of Philosophy, Princeton University
- Pratap Bhanu Mehta, President, Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi
- Helga Nowotny, Professor, President of the European Research Council
- Mary Jacobus, Professor of English, Cambridge University
- Christoph Markschies, Professor of Theology, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
In 2006, the awards to Julia Kristeva and Shmuel N. Eisenstadt were criticised by Jon Elster in an article in Nytt Norsk Tidsskrift and an op-ed in Aftenposten. He stated that the award to Kristeva was "scandalous" and described her as a "notorious French charlatan." He also said that Eisenstadt was not among the foremost researchers in his field, and claimed that several prize winners were close associates of committee members.
As part of its research dissemination targeting younger people, the committee also awards the Nils Klim Prize to an academic below the age of 35, and the Holberg Prize Schools Project to a high school.
- Bruno Latour wins the 2013 Holberg Prize, Holberg Prize
- Michael Cook | Statement from the Holberg Committee
- The Holberg Prize - School projects
- The Holberg Prize website
- Reactions, from the Norwegian researchers' association
- Debate, from forskning.no
- Jon Elster: Too much politeness, too little quality, about Norwegian academic life in general and the Holberg Prize in particular