Dag Herbjørnsrud

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Dag Herbjørnsrud. Photo: Sebastian Dahl, 2015. Wikicommons

Dag Herbjørnsrud (born 1971) is a historian of ideas, author, a former editor-in-chief, and a founder of Center for Global and Comparative History of Ideas (Senter for global og komparativ idéhistorie, SGOKI) in Oslo. His writings have been published by Aeon, the American Philosophical Association (APA), Dialogue and Universalism, Cosmopolis, etc., and he was formerly a columnist for Al Jazeera English. Herbjørnsrud was the guest editor of a special issue of the bilingual journal Cosmopolis (Brussels), on "Decolonizing the Academy";[1][2] one of his contributors was the author and Professor Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o.[3] He sits on the Editorial Review Board of the book series Global Epistemics at Rowman & Littlefield.[4]

In the Norwegian book "Global Knowledge" (Globalkunnskap, 2016), and in an essay on the blog of the Journal of the History of Ideas (JHI), Herbjørnsrud argues for the need of a "global history of ideas" and for the importance of the discipline global intellectual history.[5] His subsequent articles covers topics such as the Hatata of the rational Ethiopian philosopher Zera Yacob and the philosophy of Anton Wilhelm Amo from Ghana ("The African Enlightenment", 2017),[6] the women philosophers of the Global South,[7] the Battle of Vienna,[8] the philosophy of ancient Egypt,[9] and the thinking of pre-colonial Mesoamerica (Nahua/Maya),[10] in addition to the atheist/secular philosophy of India (Carvaka/Lokayata)[11] and its influence on Europe from the late 16th century.[12] Herbjørnsrud has delivered lectures on global perspectives, Eurocentrism, and decolonizing the Academy at institutions like the University of Cambridge,[13] Royal Holloway (University of London),[14] Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (Germany),[15] and Berliner Festspiele.[16] In December 2021, he delivered the inaugural lecture ("Redefining the Canon") in the "Decolonizing Knowledge" series by Quantum Bio Lab (QBL) at Howard University.[17]

In May 2019, the paper "Beyond decolonizing: global intellectual history and reconstruction of a comparative method" was published online by the journal Global Intellectual History. Here, Herbjørnsrud proposed a global comparative method for the discipline, based on the three concepts of "context, connection, and comparison."[18] The article became the most read article in the journal, and it is "[i]n the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric."[19] In the Winter 2021 issue of The Review of Higher Education (Johns Hopkins University Press), the Texas State University scholars Z. W. Taylor and Richard J. Reddick cited the paper, and they wrote: "As higher education has rapidly globalized in the past few decades (Altbach, 2016), institutional leaders of higher education could have their theory of intellectual reconstruction informed by Herbjørnsrud’s (2019) argument for an interconnected, global perspective of cultures, people, and their histories. (...) Extending and synthesizing the work of Crozier (1901), Dewey (1920), W.E.B. Du Bois and Gates Jr. (2010), Hann and Hart (2011) and Herbjørnsrud (2019), the following section will forward a theory of intellectual reconstruction specifically for institutional leaders of higher education and their many educational stakeholders. (...) At the center of the theory is Herbjørnsrud’s (2019) emphasis on adopting a global comparative perspective (...)"[20][21]

Herbjørnsrud was the editor-in-chief of the Norwegian weekly left-wing news magazine Ny Tid from 2005 to 2015; formerly (1995-2005) a reporter and op-ed-writer for the conservative newspaper Aftenposten.[22][23] As an editor of Ny Tid and responsible for its "Without Borders" ("Uten grenser") column, Herbjørnsrud was responsible for contacting the paper's columnists; like Anna Politkovskaya (Russia), Nawal El Saadawi (Egypt), Irshad Manji (Canada), Elena Milashina (Russia), Marta Beatrize Roque (Cuba), Parvin Ardalan (Iran), Tsering Woeser (Tibet) and Ethel Kabwato (Zimbabwe).[24][25] Herbjørnsrud contributed to the production of the TV and Netflix thriller Occupied (2015), in which he ("editor Dag") was played by the actor Øystein Røger.[26] He is the son of writer Hans Herbjørnsrud and historian Anna Tranberg.[27]

Herbjørnsrud is a cand. philol. of history of ideas on an English-language thesis on Robert Nozick.[28] In the thesis, and in an interview with the liberal-conservative periodical Minerva, Herbjørnsrud stated that Nozick advocated the welfare state, and that Anarchy, State, and Utopia is not representative of Nozick's philosophy.[29] In 2004–05, he was a columnist for Al-Jazeera's English website.[22][30]

Selected works[edit]

In cooperation with Stian Bromark he has written three non-fiction books in Norwegian:[31]

  • Blanke løgner, skitne sannheter (Blatant Lies, Dirty Truths) (Tiden, 2002)
  • Frykten for Amerika (The Fear of America) (Tiden, 2003) (Nominated for the Brage prize)
  • Norge - et lite stykke verdenshistorie (Norway - A Small Piece of World History) (Cappelen, 2005)


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  1. ^ "observatoireplurilinguisme.eu - Appel à articles sur le thème "Decolonizing the Academy" ou "Décoloniser le monde académique" (EN, FR, IT, DE, ES)". www.observatoireplurilinguisme.eu. Retrieved 2020-03-17.
  2. ^ "2020-3-4-en". Cosmopolis (in French). Retrieved 2021-04-13.
  3. ^ "Editorial". Cosmopolis (in French). 2021-01-08. Retrieved 2021-04-13.
  4. ^ "Global Epistemics | Rowman & Littlefield International". www.rowmaninternational.com. Retrieved 2020-03-17.
  5. ^ "Global History of Ideas: A Sea for Fish on Dry Land". JHIBlog. 2017-02-15. Retrieved 2017-12-17.
  6. ^ "Yacob and Amo: Africa's precursors to Locke, Hume and Kant – Dag Herbjørnsrud | Aeon Essays". Aeon. Retrieved 2021-05-11.
  7. ^ "Before the canon: the non-European women who founded philosophy – Dag Herbjørnsrud | Aeon Essays". Aeon. Retrieved 2021-05-11.
  8. ^ "The Battle of Vienna was not a fight between cross and crescent – Dag Herbjørnsrud | Aeon Essays". Aeon. Retrieved 2021-05-11.
  9. ^ Herbjørnsrud, Dag (2018-12-17). "The Radical Philosophy of Egypt: Forget God and Family, Write!". Blog of the APA. Retrieved 2021-05-11.
  10. ^ Herbjørnsrud, Dag (2020-01-09). "The Mesoamerican Philosophy Renaissance". Blog of the APA. Retrieved 2021-05-11.
  11. ^ Herbjørnsrud, Dag (2020-06-16). "The untold history of India's vital atheist philosophy". Blog of the APA. Retrieved 2021-05-11.
  12. ^ Herbjørnsrud, Dag (2020-06-24). "India's atheist influence on Europe, China, and science". Blog of the APA. Retrieved 2021-05-11.
  13. ^ "- gloknos". From Epistemicide to Global Knowledge: Reconstructing a Decolonised Academy - gloknos. Retrieved 2020-03-17.
  14. ^ "CHRONOS Research Theme Launch Event". royalholloway.ac.uk. Retrieved 2020-03-17.
  15. ^ Admin (2018-10-28). "Philosopher Anton Wilhelm Amo from Ghana: Conference in Halle, Germany". Senter for global og komparativ idéhistorie (SGOKI) (in Norwegian Bokmål). Retrieved 2020-03-17.
  16. ^ Festspiele, Berliner. "MaerzMusik - Beyond Eurocentrism and Tribal History: Towards Decolonization and Connected Histories". www.berlinerfestspiele.de. Retrieved 2020-03-17.
  17. ^ "Decolonizing Knowledge". QUANTUM BIOLOGY LABORATORY. Retrieved 2022-04-08.
  18. ^ Herbjørnsrud, Dag (10 May 2019), "Beyond decolonizing: global Intellectual history and reconstruction of a comparative method", Global Intellectual History, 6 (5): 614–640, doi:10.1080/23801883.2019.1616310, S2CID 166543159
  19. ^ "Altmetric – Beyond decolonizing: global intellectual history and reconstruction of a comparative method". routledge.altmetric.com. Retrieved 2021-05-11.
  20. ^ Taylor, Z.W.; Reddick, Richard J. (2020). "The Eyes of History Are Upon You: Toward a Theory of Intellectual Reconstruction for Higher Education in a Post-Truth Era". The Review of Higher Education. 44 (2): 167–188. doi:10.1353/rhe.2020.0043. ISSN 1090-7009. S2CID 229355972.
  21. ^ Admin. "On the paper "Beyond decolonizing" in The Review of Higher Education: WEB Du Bois, Dewey & Herbjørnsrud – Senter for global og komparativ idéhistorie" (in Norwegian Bokmål). Retrieved 2021-05-14.
  22. ^ a b "Herbjørnsrud ny Ny Tid-redaktør" [Herbjørnsrud new editor-in-chief]. Ukeavisen Ledelse (in Norwegian). 1 February 2008. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2011.
  23. ^ Dåstøl, Astrid (1 February 2008). "Ny redaktør i Ny Tid" [New editor-in-chief in Ny Tid]. Vårt Land (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on 18 September 2012. Retrieved 24 January 2011.
  24. ^ "Til minne om Nawal El-Saadawi". NY TID (in Norwegian Bokmål). 2021-04-08. Retrieved 2021-04-13.
  25. ^ "«Ode to the unknown". NY TID (in Norwegian Bokmål). 2011-08-18. Retrieved 2021-04-13.
  26. ^ "Skuespillerene i ny TV-serie ble utplassert i en redaksjon for å spille troverdige journalister". Dagbladet.no (in Norwegian). 2015-07-16. Retrieved 2018-03-16.
  27. ^ "About Dag Herbjørnsrud". The Thinker Site. Retrieved 24 January 2011.
  28. ^ Herbjørnsrud, Dag (2002). "Leaving Libertarianism: : Social Ties in Robert Nozick's New Philosophy".
  29. ^ "Den ukjente Robert Nozick" [The unknown Robert Nozick]. Minerva (in Norwegian). 20 September 2006. Retrieved 22 July 2012.
  30. ^ Holen, Øyvind (29 October 2004). "Skriver for Al-Jazeera" [Writes for Al-Jazeera]. Aftenposten (in Norwegian). Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2011.
  31. ^ "Dag Herbjørnsrud". Cappelen Damm. Retrieved 24 January 2011.

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