A REFLECTION ON THE EIGHTH INTERNATIONAL KIERKEGAARD CONFERENCE
Held June 13 – 17, 2018 at St. Olaf College, sponsored by the Hong Kierkegaard Library
The sun disappears beneath the horizon line, enshrouding the St. Olaf Hill in darkness, marking an end and a beginning. For some, in the quaint town of Northfield, it is merely the end of a seemingly-ordinary Friday; for others, however, it is the end of a summer full of research, friendship, and growth. Since the beginning of June of this year, scholars from across the globe have traveled numerous miles to join a vibrant, intellectual, and caring community of Kierkegaard Scholars. Whether they are here simply for the 8th International Kierkegaard Conference or for the entirety of the summer, our scholars have found a home away from home, a community otherwise obscured in the wake of all other academia.
The summer started off with the International Kierkegaard Conference where both renowned and aspiring scholars shared papers on the topic, “The Wisdom of Kierkegaard: What Existential Lessons have you Learned from Him?” After the five-day conference came to an end, the 150 scholars dropped to a smaller number, a little over 50, 13 of which were Young Scholars. While the remaining Kierkegaardians conducted their research over the remainder of the summer, the Young Kierkegaard Scholars program was a two-week series of seminars that allowed for undergraduate students from across the nation to research with Professor Marino and either prepare for graduate school or buff-up their CV.
“Whether they are here simply for the 8th International Kierkegaard Conference or for the entirety of the summer, our scholars have found a home away from home. . .”
In the midst of this commotion, every Tuesday and Thursday the Hong Kierkegaard Library hosted summer seminars in which the Summer Scholars were able to present and answer questions about their questions. Whether it was a part of their dissertation or an independent study, this provided a comfortable space for them to talk about their meaningful work. For example, one stupendous seminar lecture was given by the venerable Dr. Richard Purkarthofer who spoke about the Hong Kierkegaard Library Rare Book Room and the various book bindings of our pre-1856 collections.
Overall, this was rather an eventful summer for the Library. There were many blissful highlights that we were able to share with our Kierkegaardian family: the opening dinner for the conference where College President David Anderson made the commencement speech, and the publication of Professor Marino’s new book, The Existentialist’s Survival Guide. As this fruitful summer comes to an end, we have been glad to create many memories with old and new friends alike.
– Mattias Kostov, HKL student worker