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Philosophical links with Sweden
10 Jun 09
An Oxford academic has become the first female scholar of philosophy of religion to become an honorary doctor at a prestigious Swedish University.
Dr Pamela Anderson, Reader in Philosophy of Religion and Fellow in Philosophy at Regent's Park College, travelled to Sweden to receive the honour from the University of Lund, in an unusual degree ceremony which followed medieval tradition going back to 1670.
The Conferral of Doctoral Degrees took place in the famous Cathedral of Lund, with a procession of more than 300 people including University marshals in white tie and tails with a black vest for the gentleman and a long black dress with high neck and long sleeves for the ladies and white gloves.
Dr Anderson said: ‘I was given a doctoral hat, symbolising freedom and power, and at the same time a cannon was shot outside the cathedral. Next, the conferrer places a gold ring, symbolising fidelity to scholarship, on the fourth finger of my left hand - each faculty has its own symbols on the ring - and then, gives me a diploma.
‘It was an extraordinary, three and half-hour ceremony in Latin, with organ music, trumpet fanfares with over a thousand in the cathedral and others outside with people lining the path to the cathedral, bands playing, women and men in uniform, a cannon and flags.
Later Dr Anderson gave a lecture on A Thoughtful Love of Life: A Spiritual Turn in Philosophy of Religion.
She added: ‘All of this was a great honour but also reason for continued research and contact with Lund - the Swedish academics were so impressed by my work they inspire great hope for future exchanges of ideas and research.’
Catharina Stenqvist, a professor at Lund University said: ‘Pamela Anderson shows, that to partake in a truly feminist philosophy of religion means to participate in a review of the philosophical project in its entirety. She provides a critical analysis of the symbolic role given to women and desire, turning to hermeneutic philosophy and theories of knowledge and reconfigurations of myth to gain new insights concerning rationality and belief.’