This seminar studies the life and work of the “father of existentialism”, Søren Kierkegaard (1813-1855). Kierkegaard’s mission as an author begins with a journal entry he wrote while overlooking the sea north of Copenhagen: “What I really need is to get clear about what I must do, not what I must know, except insofar as knowledge must precede every act. What matters is to find a purpose ... to find a truth which is truth for me, to find the idea for which I am willing to live and die.” We will follow in Kierkegaard’s footsteps, both literally and figuratively, beginning with his fateful choice to leave the beaten path, and to seek a higher purpose for his life. He found this purpose in fighting for the importance of the individual person – her values, her choices, her happiness – in a world that was becoming increasingly mechanized, objectified, and depersonalized. We will see how Kierkegaard’s defense of personhood translates into a prophetic critique (and call for reform) of institutional religion, philosophy, and science.
The primary texts for this seminar are Kierkegaard's Concluding Unscientific Postscript, and The Concept of Anxiety. We will also read sections from several other of his works, especially his journals. Danish language skills are not required.
This seminar will be led by Professor Hans Halvorson, and will take place in Copenhagen, the scene of Kierkegaard’s life and work. Student presentations will cover diverse parts of Kierkegaard’s oeuvre, interspersed with guest lectures from distinguished Kierkegaard scholars. In addition, we will visit several key locations for Kierkegaard’s point of view, e.g. the “Kierkegaard stone” in northern Sjælland, the Deer Park, and the Royal Theater. The seminar will equip students with a thorough knowledge of Kierkegaard’s philosophy, and of the Danish culture that nurtured it. Students will also gain skill in philosophical discussion, close reading, and writing.
For Princeton approval, participants must have at least a 3.0/ B average for the fall and spring semesters prior to the semester of study abroad.
Grading & Credits:
For information regarding credits, grading, and other academic policies, read the Academic Policies on the Study Abroad website
- Arrive: Thursday, July 4
- Orientation: Friday, July 5
- Classes begin: Monday, July 8
- Classes end: Friday, August 9
More information coming shortly.
Regular financial aid is not available for this program. If you are interested in outside funding, please refer to the SAFE website
. The program fee for this program is TBD. More information will be released shortly.
Passport and Visa
Students are responsible for ensuring that their passports are valid for their entire stay in Denmark. For further information on renewing or obtaining a U.S. passport, please consult the U.S. State Department passport website
. If you hold an American passport, you will not need a visa for this program. If not, please see Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Denmark's
for information on visa requirements.
In order to apply, please do the following:
- Click "apply now" here on the GPS brochure to begin an application.
- Complete the study abroad application items listed in GPS by the GPS deadline: March 1, 2019