Beck Lecture series


The Beck Lecture series at the University of Victoria focuses on various aspects of Icelandic literature and culture. Richard and Margaret Beck made provision in their wills for a special fund to be established at the University of Victoria to provide public lectures on Icelandic language and literature. Richard passed away on July 23, 1980, and Margaret on December 10, 1985. The first "Richard and Margaret Beck Lecture on Icelandic Literature" took place on February 14, 1988. Since then, the University of Victoria has hosted over 80 lectures on a wide range of topics. 

During the fall of 2023, we are once again hosting a visiting professor from the University of Iceland. Dr. Hólmfríður Garðarsdóttir will be teaching a course on the depiction of women in Scandinavian Literature with a special focus on Icelandic writers and is also providing three public lectures as part of the Richard and Margaret Beck Lecture Series on Icelandic Literature.


Spring Lecture

University of Victoria, Clearihue A207


Sunday, February 25, 2024, at 2:00 pm 

Virgin Martyrs and Women Worthies in Post-Medieval Icelandic Poetry

Natalie Van Deusen, University of Alberta


This talk focuses on post-medieval poetry about exemplary women, which Natalie Van Deusen argues is its own particular poetic genre in the early modern period and serves the purpose of providing gendered expectations for women in Iceland.

Dr. Natalie Van Deusen holds the inaugural Henry Cabot and Linnea Lodge Scandinavian Professorship of Scandinavian Studies in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta.


Fall Lecture Series

University of Victoria, Clearihue A207


Sunday, September 24, at 2:00 pm

Reframing the Historical Role of Women: Icelandic Female Fishing Captains—Their Influences and Experiences on Land and Sea

Hólmfríður Garðarsdóttir, University of Iceland, and Margaret Willson, University of Washington

(This lecture is offered in partnership with Icelanders of Victoria, a chapter club of the Icelandic National League of North America.)


Sunday, October 8, at 2:00 pm

Icelandic Heritage in North America: A Celebration of Cultural Inheritance

Birna Arnbjörnsdóttir, University of Iceland, and Úlfar Bragason, Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies


Sunday, October 22, at 2:00 pm

Women Leading the Way: Climate Challenges as Represented in Recent Films

Hólmfríður Garðarsdóttir, University of Iceland, and Unnur Birna Karlsdóttir, University of Iceland 


Sunday, November 19, at 2:00 pm

Recurrent Themes in Today's Icelandic Literature by Women

Hólmfríður Garðarsdóttir, University of Iceland, and Soffía Auður Birgisdóttir, University of Iceland 


Lecture Recordings

Icelandic Films at Cinecenta

Oct 18   5:00 & 7:00   WOMAN AT WAR


Oct 25   5:00 & 7:15   A WHITE, WHITE DAY


Nov 1   5:00 & 7:00   RAMS 


You can find information about the past lectures in the Archive and other interesting information related to the Margaret Beck Fund under the tabs below.


Dr. Helga Thorson, University of Victoria (2015-2019, current)

Dr. Megan Swift, University of Victoria (2019-2021)

Dr. John Tucker, University of Victoria (emeritus)

Dr. W. D. Valgardson, University of Victoria (emeritus)

Comments & Questions

Please the Beck Lecture Series.