SKC Annual Conference 2021

Kierkegaard and the Question of Identity, Gender, and Sexuality

Identity is a key issue in Kierkegaard's authorship, and, for Kierkegaard, identity is connected with important questions concerning—among other things—autonomy, authenticity, and existential continuity. In addition, gender and sexuality play a prominent role in the authorship, and Kierkegaard's understanding of these various aspects of our identity are central to his account of what it means to be a human self.

However, the sociocultural understanding of gender and sexuality has changed dramatically since Kierkegaard's death, as has the very concept of human identity. It is obvious that present scholarly work on questions concerning identity, gender, and sexuality in Kierkegaard's authorship cannot avoid taking these sociocultural changes into consideration. Therefore, the SKC Annual Conference 2021 will examine how our understanding of Kierkegaard's account(s) of identity is (are) affected by these changes in our understanding of gender and sexuality.

A number of more particular questions arise from this basic research question: What do female and male signify in Kierkegaard's texts? What is the role of sexuality in The Concept of Anxiety? Does Kierkegaard's relational theory of the self operate with essential, and basically non-relational notions of sexuality and gender? What are the roles assigned to the female figures in authorship? How are we, today, to understand Kierkegaard's marked distinction between female and male despair? Which conceptions of gender are in play in the "Seducer's Diary"? How would Kierkegaard's account(s) of identity hold up when subjected to an intersectional analysis of identity markers such as sexuality, class, race, and gender? Are there male and female forms of discourse present in Kierkegaard's texts? What is the status of and role played by sensuality in Kierkegaard's approach to human identity? Is Kierkegaard's implicit reader (as expressed in "my dear reader") gendered? What have been the reactions—in philosophy, literature, and gender studies—to Kierkegaard's understanding of gender and sexuality?

For this year's conference, the Søren Kierkegaard Research Centre invites papers that deal with these and other questions concerning the complex intersection(s) of identity, gender, and sexuality in Kierkegaard's authorship.

The conference will be held online on August 11-13. You can sign up for the conference here. 


Wednesday, August 11

13:00-13:15  Joakim Garff: Words of Welcome

Afternoon Session (Chairperson: George Pattison)

13:15-13:45  Alison Assiter: “Kierkegaard on Process, Paradox and Gender”

13:45-14:15  Discussion

14:15-14:30  Break

14:30-15:00  Deidre Green: ”Reconciling with Finitude”

15:00-15:30  Discussion

15:30-16:00   Henning Nörenberg: ”Identity Politics. A Kierkegaardian Response”     

16:00-16:30  Discussion

Thursday, August 12

Morning Session (Chairperson: Lilian Munk Rösing)

10:00-10:30   Mélissa Fox-Muraton:  ”On the Limits of Normative Discourse and Intimate Self-Determination: Kierkegaardian Existential Ethics and the Language of Sexuality”

10:30-11:00  Discussion

11:00-11:15  Break

11:15-11:45  Henrik Jøker Bjerre: ”The Priority of the Other: Sexual Relations in Kierkegaard and Lacan”

11:45-12:15  Discussion

12:15-13:15  Break

Afternoon Session (Chairperson: Vincent Delecroix)

13:15-13:45   Henrike Fürstenberg: ”(Self-)Impregnation and Dependence: The Pseudonyms and their (Accounts on) Wives”

13:45-14:15  Discussion

14:15-14:45   George Pattison: ”'But I, I who am nothing': A Meditation by Kierkegaard's Female Pseudonym”

14:45-15:15  Discussion

15:15-15:30  Break

15:30-16:00   Frances Maughan-Brown: ”Figures of Women”

16:00-16:30  Discussion 

Friday, August 13

Morning Session (Chairperson: Ingolf Dalferth)

10:00-10:30  René Rosfort: ”Challenging Identity: Kierkegaard, Bias, and Inter­sec­tio­na­lity”

10:30-11:00  Discussion

11:00-11:15  Break

11:15-11:45   Carlota Salvador Megias: ”‘In Whose Image I Form Myself:’ A Queer/Transgender Counter-Reading of “The Seducer’s Diary”

11:45-12:15  Discussion

12:15-13:15  Break

Afternoon Session (Chairperson: Ettore Rocca)

13:15-13:45   Roe Fremstedal: Personal identity without sex or gender: Minimal self and Kierkegaard reconsidered

13:45-14:15  Discussion

14:15-14:30  Joakim Garff: Concluding Words