Viet Thanh Nguyen is appointed a honorary doctorate by Uppsala University.
The nine faculties at Uppsala University have decided on who they wish to appoint as honorary doctors this academic year. The new honorary doctors include researchers in fields as diverse as string theory, maternal healthcare, evolutionary biology, the European history of ideas, prostate cancer and preschool pedagogy.
Honorary doctor, or doctor honoris causa, is a title awarded to those who have made an outstanding scientific contribution or otherwise promoted research at the university. It is always the faculties themselves who appoint honorary doctors, rather than the vice-chancellor or university management in general.
Faculty of Theology
Nancy T. Ammerman is professor of sociology of religion at the Sociology Department of the College of Arts and Sciences and in the School of Theology at Boston University. Professor Ammerman is a prominent researcher in the field of “lived religion”, which argues for the study of how religion is expressed in daily life, rather than attempting to understand its individual and societal significance through dogma and organisations. Her books Everyday Religion: Observing Modern Religious Lives and Sacred Stories and Spiritual Tribes: Finding Religion in Everyday Life are central works in the field’s theoretical and methodological development and are used in many research topics within theology and religious sciences. Professor Ammerman is the recipient of several awards for the contribution her previous studies of fundamentalist Christian congregations in the United States have made to understanding the internal dynamics and societal role of these movements. She served as President of the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion from 2004-2005, Chair of the Religion Section of the American Sociological Association from 2000-2001 and President of the Association for the Sociology of Religion from 1995-1996.
Fania Oz-Salzberger, professor of history at the University of Haifa Faculty of Law, is a researcher and author of international stature. Professor Oz-Salzberger’s research has primarily been devoted to the European history of ideas, with an emphasis on cultural interaction. Her book Jews and Word, written together with her recently deceased father Amos Oz, has been translated into multiple languages and shines a light on the cross-fertilisation of the Jewish linguistic tradition with other cultures and religious traditions over millennia. From 2016 to 2019, Fania Oz-Salzberger was the director of Paideia – The European Institute for Jewish Studies in Sweden, a collaborator with the Forum for Jewish Studies at Uppsala University.
Faculty of Law
Hans Petter Graver is professor of sociology of law specialising in administrative law at the University of Oslo. Professor Graver’s eminent jurisprudence research encompasses a large number of works in the fields of both of public law in a broader sense and legal theory, and he has made significant contributions to jurisprudence as a whole. He has worked at the Norwegian Ministry of Government Administration and Consumer Affairs and the Office of the Norwegian Attorney General, as well as serving as Director of the ARENA Centre for European Studies at the University of Oslo, and is a member of the Norwegian Academy of Sciences. His research encompasses administrative law, sociology of law, history of law, jurisprudence, legal theory, theory of legal argumentation and rhetoric. His latest research project is Judges under Stress – the Breaking Point of Judicial Institutions. Hans Petter Graver has been an active legislator, including working on a number of significant government inquiries, and has in various ways contributed to a deeper understanding and nuancing of difficult legal issues.
Faculty of Medicine
Stacy Loeb is a physician and assistant professor of urology and population health at New York University. Dr Loeb’s field of research is clinical prostate cancer specialising in early-stage prostate cancer and knowledge dissemination via social media. Stacey Loeb is an internationally recognised expert with over 285 published scientific articles and many book chapters. She is a frequently engaged international lecturer, the presenter of the radio programme the Men’s Health Show, which broadcasts on US and Canadian satellite radio, and a highly active twitter user with over 12,000 followers. Stacy Loeb has so far published 29 scientific articles coauthored with researchers at Uppsala University based on data from the National Prostate Cancer Register of Sweden (NPCR) and is an important ambassador for the University and Swedish Quality Registries research.
Ingeborg Hochmair-Desoyer, Doz. Dipl.- Ing. Dr. techn. DDr. h.c, is one of the world’s leading researchers in the field of cochlear implant development, one of the greatest medical discoveries of all time. This surgical treatment offers a cure for congenital deafness in children and gives them a verbal language. Even those suffering from adult-onset deafness can regain much of their lost hearing. The method involves inserting an electrode into the cochlea that delivers rapid acoustically generated electric signals to the auditory nerve, which are then delivered to the brain. Together with her husband, Erwin Hochmair, Hochmair-Desoyer developed the first multichannel electrode embedded in a silicone casing. This laid the foundations for operating on the severely hearing impaired even when some hearing remains, a treatment known as electroacoustic stimulation (EAS). In 2013, she was awarded the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award. Since 1990, Hochmair-Desoyer has been building the company MED-EL in Innsbruck, Austria, managing the company with a focus on research and development and globally supporting successful research into hearing loss, including a number of research projects at Uppsala University Hospital’s Ear, Nose and Throat Diseases Clinic, as well as at Uppsala University.
John L. Cox is professor emeritus at Keele University, Staffordshire, in the United Kingdom. Professor Cox is internationally recognised for his work in the field of perinatal psychiatry; in particular, for the development of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS), a screening instrument to identify women suffering from postpartum depression. EPDS is used in both clinical and research contexts. John Cox is a cofounder of the Marcé Society for Perinatal Mental Health and over the years his work as a practising psychiatrist, researcher and teacher has been rewarded with a number of prestigious prizes. He is one of the founders of modern perinatal psychiatry and made a significant contribution to improving the diagnosis and treatment of women suffering from perinatal depression.
Faculty of Pharmacy
Elizabeth C.M. de Lange is a professor of predictive pharmacology at Leiden University in the Netherlands. Professor de Lange’s research relates to predicting the human effects of various pharmaceuticals. One of her research team’s study areas is the transportation of drugs to various tissues, especially the brain, which is protected by the blood–brain barrier. Elizabeth de Lange was elected a Fellow of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2013. She is the author of over 100 published scientific articles and many book chapters and has also participated in and organised many international conferences and symposia. There have been strong links between Professor de Lange and Uppsala University since the early 1990s, especially to the translational pharmacokinetics-pharmacodynamics (Transitional PKPD) group at the Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences.
Faculty of Arts
Petra Broomans, associate professor with ius promovendi at the University of Groningen and visiting professor at Ghent University, is a prominent researcher in the field of Swedish literature, women’s writing and cultural transfer and transmission. Dr Broomans has been particularly active in highlighting female writers and has initiated several collaborative projects with literature and gender researchers, not least through the U4Society Network of universities. Petra Broomans has also been responsible for educational cooperation between departments in Groningen, Uppsala and Sichuan. Her many successful years at the University of Groningen have been crucial to the promotion of Swedish and Scandinavian literature in the Netherlands.
Peter Wollny is a prominent name among scholars of Johann Sebastian Bach and his sons and one of the foremost specialists in the field of musicology. The award of an honorary doctorate recognises Professor Wollny’s detailed and thorough studies of seventeenth and eighteenth-century music, as well as his distinguished work at the Bach Archive in Leipzig that, under Wollny’s leadership, has developed into the most important research institute dedicated to the Bach family and German music of the early modern period. During his many years of collaboration with the Department of Musicology, he has proved extraordinarily valuable to ongoing research into the history of early modern music, among other things through his important work on the Düben Collection of musical manuscripts at the Uppsala University Library.
Faculty of Languages
Camilla Wide is professor of Scandinavian languages at the University of Turku in Finland. She has made major contributions on behalf of the Swedish language, both in Finland and Sweden. In her research, Professor Wide primarily studies various aspects of spoken language, grammar and interaction. Worthy of particular mention is the valuable contribution her scientific work has made to international research into pluricentric languages through large-scale studies of differences between Swedish as spoken in Sweden and in Finland, both in terms of language use and language system. Camilla Wide is currently leading the Åbo element of the major research programme IVIP, financed by the Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences from 2013-2020.
Viet Thanh Nguyen is a Vietnamese-American author and professor of English, comparative literature, American studies and ethnicity at the University of Southern California. Professor Nguyen arrived in the United States at the age of four as a refugee from the war in Vietnam, an experience that by his own admission has influenced his choice of issues and themes. In both his scientific and literary work, Nguyen explores issues of migration, race, ethnicity and identity. His latest book, Nothing Ever Dies: Vietnam and the Memory of War, deals with the representation of the Vietnam War in literature, film and monuments. The same issues of war, race and identity are explored in a different way in Nguyen’s debut novel The Sympathizer (published in Sweden as Sympatisören), the story of a Vietnamese double agent operating in the United States. The novel won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize among a host of other awards. The short-story collection The Refugees will be published in Swedish translation in Autumn 2019. Nguyen has also been an important voice in the US in the public discourse on the burning issues of racism and refugees.
Faculty of Social Sciences
Michèle Lamont is professor of sociology and of African and African American studies and the Robert I. Goldman Professor of European Studies at Harvard University. Professor Lamont is a sociologist and world leader in the study of inequality. One perennial question is how inequalities arise and are sustained: what are its human consequences and how can it be countered? To answer this, an approach is required that encompasses economic, political, institutional and cultural dimensions. Michèle Lamont’s groundbreaking research deals with hierarchies of worth in all their dimensions and how these create exclusion and inclusion based largely on social class and ethnicity. Her contributions in the field have become modern classics. Lamont continues to study inequality and the accompanying stigmatisation of vulnerable groups, both in the United States and globally, demonstrating how human actions can lead to change through unstigmatisation. Similarly, Michèle Lamont’s research into the increasing institutionalisation of criteria of self-worth – for example, within the scientific community’s internal review processes – has been extremely influential. Her study How Professor Think: Inside the Curious World of Academic Judgment laid the groundwork for a theme that she continues to explore; namely, the influence of peer review on research and higher education. By conducting thorough comparative empirical studies, and through theoretical drive, she has fortified her position as an authoritative social scientist.
Faculty of Educational Sciences
Michel Vandenbroeck is associate professor in family pedagogy at Ghent University in Belgium, where he teaches and conducts research on policy and practice in early childhood care and education and its relationship to family policy. He specifically studies processes of inclusion and exclusion and parental support in contexts of increasing diversity between groups. Vandenbroeck’s research has attracted enormous international interest and recognition within the fields of pedagogy and social work, particularly in relation to preschool research. His prodigious scientific production includes articles, books and conference appearances and he is a much sought-after plenary lecturer at international conferences. As someone strongly committed to issues of social justice and diversity, Vandenbroeck is a regular contributor to public discourse and a champion of the role of research in promoting the development of qualitative and inclusive preschools for children and families from diverse backgrounds.
Faculty of Science and Technology
Professor Dino Fiorani is research director at the National Research Council’s (CNR) Institute of Structure of Matter (ISM) in Rome, Italy. Professor Fiorani conducts cutting-edge research into magnetism and nanotechnology and, as the initiator of the European Magnetism Association and Joint European Magnetic Symposia, has contributed greatly to coordinated and robust European magnetism research. He has published over 250 articles, primarily in the field of magnetic nanoparticles and magnetic thin films. The faculty conducts extensive experimental and theoretical research closely related to Professor Fiorani’s activities in the fields of magnetism and magnetic nanosystems. Researchers at the Departments of Engineering Sciences, Physics and Astronomy and Earth Sciences have enjoyed well-established scientific contacts with Professor Fiorani for many years, among other things resulting in a number of joint publications.
Dr Karen Hanghøj is a geologist who has previously worked in the private sector and at the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS). Over recent years, she has served as CEO for EIT RawMaterials, the world’s largest consortium in the field of raw materials, in which Uppsala University is a partner. The consortium is a partnership of leading companies, higher education institutions and research institutes that collaborate on the entire value chain of raw materials; from prospecting and mining to replacement materials, recycling and circular economy. Dr Hanghøj departed EIT in autumn 2019 to take up the post of director of the British Geological Survey (BGS), a major research institute in the field of geosciences. A number of faculty staff members have enjoyed and continue to enjoy highly active collaborations with Hanghøj in connection with both research and innovation activities.
Professor Judith Mank works at the University of British Columbia in Canada, where she is a leading researcher in the core scientific field of evolutionary biology. Professor Mank specialises in the evolution of gender, sex chromosomes and genetic conflicts between the sexes. She is also an active and highly appreciated guest lecturer, teacher and mentor. Professor Mank has strong links to Uppsala University, including a period as a postdoctoral fellow in 2007-2008. She is currently a visiting professor at the Department of Organismal Biology, where she has developed new collaborations with researchers within the faculty. Her scientific profile reinforces the faculty’s already prominent research in the field of evolutionary biology and facilitates new interactions on the borders between evolutionary and organismal biology.
Professor Cumrun Vafa, of Harvard University in the United States, is an eminent international expert in theoretical and mathematical physics, especially in both the physical and theoretical aspects of string theory. She has made important discoveries in the field of topological string theory and has been instrumental in coming to an understanding of mirror symmetry. Among her many achievements, Professor Vafa has been awarded the Prize in Fundamental Physics, the Dirac Medal and the Dannie Heineman Prize for Mathematical Physics. She has collaborated with both the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Department of Mathematics and is an active grassroots educator; among other things, holding a popular science lecture for a packed auditorium at the String Math Conference in Uppsala in summer 2019.
The conferment ceremony for new honorary doctors will be held in the University Main Building on 31 January 2020.