02 September 2017

Research Prize goes to Church Historian


Professor in Church History Mette Birkedal Bruun receives the Carlsberg Foundation's Research Prize 2017 for her innovative research into monks' withdrawal from the world.

Mette Birkedal Bruun received one award, while the other was awarded to Professor of Chemistry at Aarhus University, Karl Anker Jørgensen. Photo: Martin Juul/Carlsbergfondet

On 3 September, Professor of Church History Mette Birkedal Bruun received the prestigious Carlsberg Foundation Research Prize 2017. The prize was awarded by HRH. The Crown Princess and the Minister for Science, Technology, Information and Higher Education, Søren Pind, and the Chair of the Carlsberg Foundation, Flemming Besenbacher. With the prize comes DKK 1 million, of which DKK 750,000 is earmarked for research activities, while DKK 250,000 is a personal gift.

"I am deeply grateful and honoured by the collegial nomination and really happy to have received the prize. It is a huge honour for me and for the research field. And then, of course, it is a recognition that incites a renewed effort, "she says.

Mette Birkedal Bruun recieves the prize for her research in seclusion in the Medieval and the Early Modern period. Research that has led to significant new insights in church history and cultural history.

On the choice of Mette Birkedal Bruun the Foundation writes:

Mette Birkedal Bruun receives the prize for her research into medieval monasticism and the early modern period, which has led to new insight significant to church history and cultural history. Her cross-disciplinary methodological use of the term “topos” has led to a pivotal new interpretation of Bernard of Clairvaux and the cistercians’ use of textual strategies - not least known from spatial and architectural language – to further their withdrawal from the world. Moreover, it has led to vital insight into the interaction between withdrawal from the world and involvement in the world in the early modern period, increasing our understanding of the historical dimension of isolation.

New basic research centre is to shed light on the history of privacy

Professor Mette Birkedal Bruun's research has long centered on withdrawal from the world in various forms, and she will draw on this experience when she starts as centre leader of The Danish National Research Foundation Centre for Privacy Studies, PRIVACY. As the first research centre in the world, the centre will delve into the notion of privacy by studying it historically and in a broad, interdisciplinary collaboration. PRIVACY brings together top researchers working on, religious culture, political thinking, legislation and architecture.