Reading Groups

Reading groups are an important part of the research-friendly environment fostered by the Theory Centre. Often founded by graduate students, reading groups are one of the means by which Masters and Doctoral students are fully integrated into the research culture of the program. Reading groups focus on the dissemination of new research through meetings and discussion groups, and include:

Kierkegaard reading group

A semi-casual reading group focusing on the work of Søren Kierkegaard. Kierkegaard's central philosophy seeks to understand the challenges in achieving (achievement in the Aristotelian sense) selfhood and inner life through the negotiation of finite life and faith. In undertaking these questions, Kierkegaard profoundly reflects on questions around irony, aesthetics, freedom, anxiety, truth, ethics, and beyond. His incentives are at once philosophical and theological, both criticizing the Hegelian philosophy which dominated his time, and Enlightenment concepts of faith. While Kierkegaard was a highly autobiographical writer, the blurred boundaries between author-text through his use of irony and pseudonyms challenge subscriptions to ideas, allowing space for criticism based both on reason and inward relationships. Despite a writing career cut short by an early death, Kierkegaard left behind a massive body of work, leaving ample space for our reading group to discuss these ideas, approaching works based on communal interest. Beyond philosophy, Kierkegaard’s work is of interest to those interested in religious thought as well as literature: not only is fiction like Elif Batuman’s recent Either/Or (2022), among others, interested in tackling Kierkegaardian philosophy, but his writing itself is worth looking into as works of prose rather than just philosophy. 

This fall, we tackle one of his most popular works, Fear and Trembling. Here he takes on the story of Abraham and Isaac and re-evaluates Abraham’s sacrifice as a shining example of living religious faith and begins to hint at some of the darker themes of anxiety and despair, which we may be interested in reading up on more with The Concept of Anxiety or The Sickness Unto Death. 

For more information contact Ryan Shea at