Research and Courses


During the summer, Professor Gordon Marino partners with students pursuing Independent Research and Study projects and leads the annual Young Scholars Program in daily discussions on a variety of Kierkegaard’s texts. This program is designed for college seniors or recently graduated college students who are serious about study and preparation for graduate school in a related field.

Participants will meet with Professor Marino on a daily basis and attend scholar seminars outside of class time. In-depth study of a chosen Kierkegaard text or another topic will be the focus as well as Professor Marino’s mentorship for the scholar’s own research. Housing is provided on campus, all other expenses are the responsibility of the young scholar.

COURSES OFFERED during 2019-20

In addition to his duties as Curator of the Hong Kierkegaard Library, Professor Gordon Marino regularlyteaches the following courses in the St. Olaf Philosophy Department. Students interested in these courses can find information on availability on the Student Information System. Please note that the following courses are not taught every year.

Semester 1

Law, politics, and morality (PHIL 254)

This course considers the relationships between moral principles, law, and the practice of governments. Topics may include the “Just War” debate, censorship, property rights and distributive justice, natural law, political liberalism and its critics, whether governments should act in accordance with specific moral principles or remain neutral, the tensions between individual rights and the good of the community, and the role of religion in public life. Counts toward management studies concentration. Prerequisite: completion of BTS-T or permission of instructor.

Semester 2

Kierkegaard and existentialism (PHIL 233)

An introduction to Kierkegaard’s work and to existentialism, this course emphasizes the aesthetic, ethical, and religious “stages on life’s way.” Existential questions concerning the meaning of human existence, passion and faith, freedom and choice, despair, and the absurd are examined. Counts toward Nordic studies concentration.

Senior Seminar (PHIL 399)

Intended as a capstone course for the major, the seminar studies a selected topic, figure, or movement in philosophy, with emphasis on independent research and student presentations. Consult department’s prospectus for details. May be repeated if topic is different. Prerequisite: upper-level philosophy major or consent of instructor.


Professor Gordon Marino collaborates with current St. Olaf students through CURI, a summer research program that gives undergraduates the opportunity to explore professional research in their field of interest. During the summer of 2017, two St. Olaf students, Linden Smith and Anabel Kapelke, studied alongside Professor Marino and explored “Kierkegaard in the Present Age.

The premise of their research centered around the following line of thought: How might Kierkegaard’s understanding of mental illness speak to current views about anxiety and depression? Additional information on the completed project above and application opportunities for upcoming projects can be found under Professor Marino’s tab on the St. Olaf CURI webpage.