'Narrating change'

In the opening lecture of the 2015-16 Paideia Texts and Issues series, Anna Peterson, Luther College assistant professor of history, will discuss letters that reveal how Norwegian women in the 1920s thought about their bodies and their lives.

The lecture, titled "Narrating change: Norwegian women's abortion letters," will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 15, in the Recital Hall of the Center for Faith and Life on the Luther campus and will be followed by a reception in Qualley Lounge.

Both the lecture and the reception are open to the public with no charge for admission.     

Analyzing letters written to the Mother Hygiene Clinic in Oslo, Peterson's lecture will focus on how pregnancy was viewed as a temporary state of change for a number of poor, rural Norwegian women in the 1920s. Finding this change undesirable, these women sought advice on how to rid themselves of unwanted pregnancies and return to normality, characterizing the help they needed more as a restoration of a stable condition than an end to a pregnancy.

The lecture will address this year's Paideia Texts and Issues theme "Impermanence: Embracing Change," in the way women understood pregnancy to be both a temporary state of change in their bodies and a potentially significant change in their already established lives.

Peterson joined Luther's history department in 2013 as a specialist in modern European history. Her courses include topics such as European history from 1648-onward, Russian history and Scandinavian immigration history.

She recently had an article related to the topic of this lecture, "'Et skjærende misforhold mellom lovens hensikt og dens virkinger': Single mothers and midwives respond to the Castberg Laws, 1916-1940," published with the Norwegian journal of history, "Historisk tidsskrift."

Peterson holds a bachelor's degree from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, a master's degree from the University of North Dakota and a doctoral degree from The Ohio State University.

The next presenters in the 2015-16 Paideia Texts and Issues series are David Hodge and Hi-Jin Kang Hodge, invited Oen Fellows, who will give the lecture, "Impermanence: The Time of Man" at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20. The Oen Fellowship enables the religion department to invite a distinguished guest lecturer to Luther biannually to explore and discuss intersections between religion, science, politics and the arts. For information on the complete Paideia Texts and Issues lecture series see: http://www.luther.edu/paideia/texts/, and for more on the Oen Fellowship see: http://www.luther.edu/religion/department/news/oen-fellowship/.

A national liberal arts college with an enrollment of 2,400, Luther offers an academic curriculum that leads to the Bachelor of Arts degree in more than 60 majors and pre-professional programs. For more information about Luther visit the college's website: http://www.luther.edu.

Anna Peterson