9 March 2021

We proudly present our 2021 IARU Course: Privacy Summer School Online

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

9 - 20 August 2020

Classes: Monday-Friday, 5-6 hours each day: synchronous modules will be planned when we know the students' time zones
Room: The UCPH intranet / Zoom

ECTS credits: 7,5 

Program: to be announced later

For more information please contact Academic coordinator: Dr. Dustin Neighbors, Centre for Privacy Studies, dmn@teol.ku.dk

Everybody agrees that privacy is essential, but no authoritative definition exists. Notions of privacy and the private concern the confrontation between individuals and their surroundings and the explicit and implicit boundaries that are 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 ‘professional’, ‘common’ and ‘evident’. A multi-perspectival view shows how notions of privacy past and present shape and are shaped by a broad range of societal factors. An integrated examination of historical and contemporary notions of privacy and the private help us to see our own time in a novel light. Finally, the corona crisis adds yet another dimension to both past and present perspectives.

Module themes

Privacy and Architecture

Privacy and Health data

Privacy and Surveillance

Privacy and Human Rights

Privacy and the Self

Privacy, Art and Literature


Delivery method and learning outcome
The summer school is taught online in combination of synchronous and achronous modules. Classes include uploaded lectures, discussions and group work. The students will learn analytical skills suited to a broad range of materials; be trained to work across different periods and societal contexts; and, finally, experience an open and inquisitive scholarly atmosphere.


The course aims at BA and MA students. You must have completed 120 ECTS points before the summer course begins.

Undergraduate requirements: Active class attendance (75% attendance). Active course participation is a prerequisite for writing the exam paper. Familiarity with a reading list (primary and secondary literature) of 600-750 pages. A written paper of 16,800–21,600 characters approx. 7–9 pages (formally, 2400 characters per page, including spaces), based on 250–300 pages.


Mette Birkedal Bruun

Professor of Church History, University of Copenhagen

Director, Centre for Privacy Studies (PRIVACY)

Jesper Jakobsen

Postdoc (Social History), PRIVACY

Rikke Frank Jørgensen

Senior Researcher, The Danish Institute for Human Rights

Natacha Klein Käfer

Postdoc (Social History), PRIVACY

Peter Thule Kristensen

Professor, Institute of Architecture and Design , Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts School of Architecture

Dustin Michael Neighbors

Postdoc (History of Political and Court Culture), PRIVACY

Frank Ejby Poulsen

Postdoc (History of Ideas/Legal History), PRIVACY

Mette Nordahl Svendsen

Professor, Section of Health Services Research, University of Copenhagen

Mette Vesterager

PhD-student, Centre for Subjectivity Research, University of Copenhagen

Britt Ross Winthereik

Professor of Welfare and Ethnological Technology Studies, IT-University of Copenhagen

Last year's PRIVACY summerschool students said

My overall experience with the course was very positive. It lived up to my expectations and I would (and have) recommend it to others.


Multidisciplinarity! Communication with/support from teachers, Interesting and engaged peers from different cultural and academic backgrounds


An excellent thing was the way you navigated the digital platform - the digital universes have been run so so so smoothly (that was one of my biggest worries before the course, thank you)

The way Mette (Birkedal Bruun) has been able to create a safe and inclusive discussion space where everyone is seen and heard and taken seriously

A Westin Scholar Book Award winner in 2020.
Our PRIVACY Summer School student from 2020 Kathrine Hyldgaard Petersen, received the prestigious Westin Scholar Book Award.
Find the full story and interview with the winner here.

The Summer course was first offered in summer 2019. Read our feature about the first run of the course published in September 2019:

Privacy Summer School Revisited ‘Either you get dizzy, or you enjoy the roller coaster ride’