Beck lecture series

The Beck lecture series at the University of Victoria focuses on various aspects of Icelandic literature and culture. 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. 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.

In the Fall term of 2017 academic year, we will host Dr. Birna Arnbjörnsdóttir, Professor of Second Language Studies and Associate-Dean of the Department of Languages and Cultures at the University of Iceland.  Her main research interest is language contact. She directs the research project, English as a Lingua Franca in Iceland: The Status of English in a Changing Linguistic Environment. She is the project director for a series of free and open online courses in Icelandic. Birna is also actively involved in research on heritage languages, especially North American Icelandic.

She will teach a credit course GMST 369 A01: Topics in Scandinavian Studies: From the Sagas to Sigurr Rós: An Introduction to Icelandic Language and Culture.  M, Th 1:00 - 2:20 pm,  CLE D131

In addition, Birna will give three public lectures:

  • North American Icelandic: The only variety of Icelandic spoken outside of Iceland

September 24, 2017, 2 - 3:30 pm, CLE A202

  •  Teaching Icelandic Online: Free and Open Language Courses

October 22, 2017, 2 - 3:30 pm, CLE A202

  • English in Iceland: A Microcosm of Communities Affected by the Spread of English

November 19, 2017, 2 - 3:30 pm, CLE A202

Everyone is welcome.

The Endowment

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.


Dr. Helga Thorson, University of Victoria (current)
Dr. John Tucker, University of Victoria (emeritus)
Dr. W. D. Valgardson, University of Victoria (emeritus)


Ms. Irina Gavrilova, University of Victoria

Comments & Questions

Please the Beck Lecture Series.