HDCB01051U  DCC Søren Kierkegaard and the Challenge of Existence

Volume 2017/2018

Danish Culture Courses


Kierkegaard and the Challenge of Existence is a course in English for all International Students offered each semester. Søren Kierkegaard is a fascinating and famous Danish philosopher/writer – in fact, the only Danish thinker of undisputed international rank and legend. Apart from being considered as the “father of existentialism”, his unorthodox ideas are discussed in and can be connected to virtually every subject area within the humanities.

Kierkegaard’s works revolve around basic human experiences such as lust, despair, anxiety, love, morality, passion, absurdity and god. In particular, Kierkegaard claimed to present a complete summary of the possible ways in which we can live our lives or exist. At the same time, he analyzed and criticized these ways thoroughly in order to judge to what extent they may give us a true point of orientation.

Every lecture presupposes a short reading of not more than five pages and will provide sufficient room for discussion where we raise fundamental questions such as what we can at all know, how we should at all be and act and what we can at all hope for as finite human beings. It is the past experience and our very stimulus that students from different disciplines profit from one another.

The course also integrates a City Walk, which can be characterized as a walk through Kierkegaard’s odd personal life as well as the screening of the momentous and deeply “Kierkegaardian” Danish movie Breaking the Waves / Lars von Trier.

The lectures do not presuppose specialized knowledge and will introduce the respective themes without jargon. Kierkegaard’s ideas are original and never belong to one genre only, so that the course is indeed eligible to students of all majors. Essays can be composed freely, but need to be submitted in English. To change the exam language to German an exemption is required. Individual student-counseling of the lecturer will be available.


Name of Exam: HDCB01051E Danish Literature and Philosophy in Context of Danish Culture and Society.


The course is only offered to exchange and guest students at the University of Copenhagen.
Lectures and excursions
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Max 20 pages, with a prerequisite approved synopsis of 2-3 pages. Subject is agreed between student and teacher.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship

Written take-home assignment, 20-25 pages.

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 20
  • Excursions
  • 5
  • Total
  • 25