Privacy challenged in past, present and future: a multi-disciplinary approach

Centre for Privacy Studies host summer school from August 12-23 2019. Read the full programme here.

Everybody agrees that privacy is essential, but no authoritative definition exists. Notions of privacy and private concern the confrontation between the individual and his or her surroundings and the boundaries drawn in this context. Recent technological innovations have incited a general concern with privacy, but also narrowed our understanding. We associate privacy with data protection and consider it as a value that is relevant only for our age.

Privacy, however, has deep historical roots. When we study privacy across the gap between past and present, we gain a better sense of the rich and complex implications of the evasive term ‘private’ which contrasts not only ‘public’, but also of ‘professional’, ‘common’ and ‘evident’. A multiperspectival view shows how notions of privacy past and present shape and are shaped by a broad range of societal factors.

This course will take a multidisciplinary approach to privacy past and present. The course will introduce the students to a broad array of approaches and analytical skills. It will teach them to examine how delineations of privacy permeate widely different dimensions of Western culture, while opening a view towards a global perspective and discussing if, where and how privacy can be protected in the future. Bridging the gap between past and present, the course introduces a new approach both to historical studies and to studies of contemporary culture and society. Finally, the students’ different backgrounds will be used as the point of departure for a global perspective on privacy.

Course Instructor: Mette Birkedal Bruun, Professor of Church History and Director of the Centre for Privacy Studies, dr.theol. in Church History, University of Copenhagen (2017), PhD in Church History, University of Aarhus (2000) as well as Helle Vogt, Professor of History of Law and core scholar at the Centre for Privacy Studies and other scholars from the University of Copenhagen.