The International Conference, Summer 2018

The Eighth International Kierkegaard Conference:

“The Wisdom of Kierkegaard: What Existential Lessons have you Learned from Him?”

June 13 – June 17, 2018, hosted by the Hong Kierkegaard Library at St. Olaf College

Please scroll through this entire page for important information.

General schedule:

Plenary Speaker: Dr. Richard Purkarthofer (Wednesday evening)

“Taking a Good Punch–The Impact of Kierkegaard”

There is little disagreement that Kierkegaard’s works have enjoyed and exceptional reception and exerted a powerful influence on tendencies within theology, philosophy, literature and even in movies and music. This remarkable reception is evident in a wealth of scholarly work. However penetrating, illuminating and stimulating many of these studies might be, it is fair to wonder whether or not they might also represent ways of keeping Kierkegaard at a distance. With all due respect to the sweetness of scholarship, there might be something to be learned from the sweet science when it comes to reading Kierkegaard. That is like deft boxers perhaps we can find a way to keep Kierkegaard’s text at arm’s length and still remain close enough to absorb the punch of his challenging insights. In sparring with our friend, I will survey various approaches to Kierkegaard’s works focusing on the role of distance and closeness in assessing Kierkegaard’s response to the question- what does it mean to be a human being?

Check in for the Conference will be between 2-5 on Wednesday, June 13th with a dinner and the plenary lecture that evening. Paper presentations will begin on Thursday morning with other activities until noon on Sunday, at which time it will conclude with a lunch. A finalized schedule will be posted as soon as possible.

PAPER AND Registration Information:

Registration is now available here. The deadline to register is April 15th for international scholars, May 1 for US citizens. Please note there will be a $100 late fee for anyone who registers between May 1 and June 1. Registration closes on June 1.

(If your abstract has been accepted) Papers are due April 15, 2018.  It should be 9 – 10 pages, double-spaced. The maximum time limit is 20 minutes with 5 minutes for questions. We are working on an extremely tight schedule and have to be strict on time limits. Please keep this in mind and adjust your paper accordingly. Please email to

Dissertation Panel: Presentation is limited to 10 minutes per participant. Please email to by April 15th.

For more information about the conference and campus, please refer to the Conference Handbook.

Papers in Spanish or Portuguese / Ponencias en Español o Portugués:
We will also have sessions in Spanish and Portuguese. If you want to present a paper about the existential lesson you have learned from Kierkegaard in one of these languages, please submit your abstract to Prof. Rafael García Pavón ( with copy to Eileen Shimota ( before April 15, 2018.
En esta conferencia, también tendremos sesiones en español y portugués. Si quieres presentar una ponencia sobre la lección existencial que aprendiste de Kierkegaard en una de estas lenguas, por favor envía tu título y resumen al Prof. Rafael García Pavón ( con copia a Eileen Shimota ( antes del 15 de abril de 2018.
 There will also be a Spanish translation workshop. Please contact Maria Binnetti ( if you are interested.
St. Olaf College

The Eighth International Kierkegaard Conference will be held at St. Olaf College, a liberal arts institution located in Northfield, Minnesota. For more information about the college, click here. To view a campus map, click here.

Transportation to Campus

Scholars flying to Minnesota for the conference will most likely arrive at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP). Options include Northfield Metro Express and EcoTrans, which are outlined in greater detail on the St. Olaf transportation page.

If you are driving to St. Olaf and will be leaving your car on campus, you need to go to the Parking Office, located in the Business Office (Tomson Hall Rm 134), to get a complimentary parking permit as soon as you arrive on campus. Please not that St. Olaf Public Safety strictly enforces parking policies and all scholars must have a permit to avoid being ticketed.

Downtown Northfield

While the conference schedule is certainly busy, we hope that you will take some time to explore Northfield during your stay! Information about the town and its resources can be found on the city website and tourism page.