Newsletter to the Kierkegaard Community, 2022


Greetings, fellow Kierkegaardians. I hope that this newsletter finds you all doing well, and for those of you starting school like me, having as good a start to your new school year as possible. I write with several updates.  My opening letter addresses the leadership of the Society and past programs.  The rest of the newsletter addresses upcoming programs, dues, and other matters.

There has been a change in the board of officers since the beginning of the year. After learning about and considering the duties of the office, Helene Russell, the newly elected Secretary-Treasurer, wrote to indicate that she would not be able carry out this important role because of other heavy responsibilities and commitments.  Happily, though, she had already begun to research locations for our banquet in Denver this November. She had also included in this email conversation a past president of the Society, who confirmed for us that there was precedent for us to ask the other candidate to assume the role, namely, Joseph Westfall, which we did. Happily, Joe accepted, and we were able to meet and to begin the work of the Society.

Second, as we have had quite a number of changes and adjustments to make this year, and as we have a few structural issues to confront in the near future, I have asked Sergia Hay, the current APA representative, if she would continue in that role for the next year.  Happily, she has agreed.

Therefore, the board of officers of the Society for this year and next are:

Marcia Robinson, President

Michael Strawser, Vice President/President-Elect

Joseph Westfall, Secretary-Treasurer

Sergia Hay, APA Representative

Nigel Hatton, AAR Representative

Sergia has done an excellent job, guiding our programs at the APA.  The SKS meeting at the Eastern Division of the APA had two sessions, the first in two parts, featuring papers by Avron Kulak, Carl Hughes, Keith Dow, Timothy Stock, and the second, featuring a paper by Elizabeth Li and commentary by Troy Wellington Smith and Maria Deiviane Agostinho dos Santos. 

For those of us new to our roles, it has taken us some time to get up to speed, but we have settled into our new roles, and are now able to report on upcoming events.  Before I mention those, I want to thank Jeffrey Hanson in particular for all of his assistance in helping us to learn the basics of what it means to run the Society’s website, plan a banquet, and handle the finances.  I also want to thank Michael Strawser for his willingness to help with various things.  We intend to take him up on that offer!

We look forward to seeing you all in November!

With all best wishes,
Marcia Robinson


On Friday, November 18, 2022, before the official start of the annual meeting of the AAR on Saturday, November 19, we will return to our long-delayed banquet.  C. Stephen Evans will be our honored guest in the first of what we hope will be a regular series of after-dinner conversations with distinguished Kierkegaard scholars. Steve has patiently waited for this event, and we are appreciative of that and of our previous President’s and Secretary-Treasurer’s efforts to put on this program during the pandemic. J. Aaron Simmons and Jeff Hanson did extraordinary work to try to make this happen in previous years, and we are hopeful that some of their efforts, which are built into the current work, will be able to come to fruition this year. Rick Furtak, one of our past presidents, will serve as our inaugural interviewer.

On Rick’s recommendation, the 2022 Kierkegaard Banquet will be held at Tamayo, a popular restaurant near the Convention Center and hotels. The fee for this year’s banquet will be $64 per person, including drinks. Registration for the banquet is already open on the Society website, and we encourage you to register—and pay the banquet fee—as soon as possible. The deadline for accepting payments is Monday, October 31, 2022, but we encourage you to finalize your payment for the banquet (and reserve your seat) at your earliest convenience.

Also, while you’re there, if you haven’t already paid membership dues for the Society for this year, please do that as well. Separate PayPal buttons are located on the website for the payment of dues. Just click the link corresponding to your membership category, and it will take you directly to the payment page. You need not have a PayPal account; any credit or debit card will do. If you must pay by some other means, please contact Joe directly to discuss payment instructions, and to make sure that your spot at the banquet is reserved.


As for our Saturday morning program at the AAR on November 19, 2022, we will be hosting a panel entitled, “When Whiteness is God: A Conversation between Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling and Toni Morrison’s Beloved.”  As the title suggests, this panel discussion will put Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling into conversation with Toni Morrison’s Beloved.  Both Kierkegaard’s and Morrison’s works involve religion and focus on the parental sacrifice of children. The former addresses the meaning of religion through a focus on the Abraham and Isaac story in the Hebrew Bible. The latter addresses the struggles of a slave mother against white domination, and in the process, raises its own questions about the meaning of religion.  Both, however, deal with the issue of religion and power. As such, we believe that they are able to illuminate each other in interesting ways. Two working papers will orient this conversation.  One, focusing on the issue of religion and power in these texts, will be authored by Marcia Robinson (Syracuse University).  The other, focusing on the complexities of translating African-American experiences of religion and power into Danish, will be authored by Nigel Hatton (University of California-Merced). The respondents constituting our distinguished panel include several of our fellow Kierkegaardians, namely, Vanessa Rumble (Boston College), Sheridan Hough (University of Charleston), and Avron Kulak (York University), and two scholars of black religion, namely, Rosetta Ross, a pre-eminent womanist theologian and ethicist at Spelman College, and Biko Mandela Gray, a rising phenomenologist and philosopher of black religion at Syracuse University.

After having planned and helped to put on a very exciting program on Kierkegaard and black theology during my first term as co-chair of the Kierkegaard, Religion and Culture program unit of the AAR, and after having worked for years to put on another program between Kierkegaard scholars and scholars of black religion, I am very excited about this program.  So too are our participants.  I thank them all ahead of time: Nigel, for helping to plan this and agreeing to write one of the papers, and our respondents for agreeing to share their respective insights and expertise to what is meant to be an organic conversation.  We hope you all will join us!


Fortunately, the excitement does not stop with our AAR program. 

Sergia has now organized two exciting programs for the APA for next winter and spring.  They are as follows:

Eastern APA: Montréal, Quebec, Jan 4-7, 2023

“Translating Kierkegaard’s Journals and Notebooks Series”

Chair: Sergia Hay (Pacific Lutheran University)

Bruce Kirmmse (Søren Kierkegaard Research Centre)

Vanessa Rumble (Boston College)
David Possen  (University of Copenhagen)

Pacific APA: San Francisco, April 5-8, 2023

“Kierkegaard, Selfhood, and Romantic Love”

Chair: Eleanor Helms (California Polytechnic State University) 

Sharon Krishek (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
Rick Furtak (Colorado College)
Jeff Hanson (Harvard University)

Elizabeth Li (Princeton University) 

I also want to mention that as part of the regular programming of the APA, Sergia will be the guest of honor at an author-meets-critics session for her own book.  Congratulations, Sergia!


Finally, a heads up on some future business of the Society.  Last year, the leadership began to discuss a revision to the Society’s by-laws, pursuant upon the financial gift of our generous, esteemed, and distinguished colleague, Céline León.  The officers agreed that a regular gift meant that the Society should consider becoming an official 501-(C) (3) organization (non-profit).  This prompted us to review the by-laws in light of recent practice.  It became clear that we needed to have a conversation with the membership about revising these articles of operation.  As this will require considerable time, and we will be running new program formats this year, we will not pursue this conversation at AAR this year.  However, we do intend to pursue it in the near future and wanted to make you aware of it.  We plan to distribute proposals for changes ahead of a future AAR meeting, when these proposals are ready, and the leadership has had time for more discussion.  So, more on that later.  At this meeting, we will have our usual business meeting with a financial report.