Nina Witoszek-FitzPatrick

    is a Norwegian-Polish-Irish sociologist and writer, considered one of the 10 leading intellectuals in Norway. She is Research Director at the Centre for Development and Environment at Oslo University and a visiting professor at Stanford University. She is the recipient of the Norwegian Freedom of Expression Foundation (Fritt Ord) Award for “bringing Eastern European perspectives to the public debate in Scandinavia.” Her scholarly books, mostly on comparative cultural history, include Talking to the Dead (1998), The Postmodern Challenge (1999), Culture and Crisis (2003) and Verdens Beste Land (The Best Country in the World, 2009). She also writes fiction (until 2001 doing so jointly with her late husband Pat Sheeran) under the pen-name Nina FitzPatrick, including Fables of the Irish Intelligentsia (1991), The Loves of Faustyna (1995) and Daimons (2003). “The contemporary dream of Europe is concerned with a continent which, according to progressive philosophers and sociologists like Habermas or Beck, ought to be maximally tolerant and open. It is a Europe that hates war and desires to leave its demonic history behind. But this Europe worried Kolakowski because it reminded him of Switzerland and Sweden. Both countries have become idols of modernity due to their tolerant pacifism and wealth, which papered over lies, cowardice and collaboration with the devil. And both were quite unable to resist the totalitarian evil of the Nazi-regime. They waited for the Americans, Russians, British and Poles to do the dirty work for them.”