Existentialism Seminar

An NEH Summer Seminar for School Teachers: Thomas E. Wartenberg, Director

Seminar Description

Existentialism, though an important philosophical movement in the twentieth century, remains influential to this day. This seminar will acquaint school teachers with the basic philosophical ideas of Existentialist philosophy by introducing them to the writings of such thinkers as Søren Kierkegaard, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Martin Heidegger, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Albert Camus, and Franz Fanon. In addition to philosophical treatises, readings will also be drawn from novels, and films will be shown. The Existentialists are known for their emphasis on the actual lived experience of human beings and their attempt to show that there are more authentic possibilities for living than those chosen by most people. The seminar will explore how the Existentialists argue for this view of life and assess its validity both historically and for our contemporary society.

The seminar is open to both full- and part-time school teachers and will take place from July 6, 2014, until July 31, 2014. Two spaces are reserved for graduate students intending to pursue a career in K-12 education. The seminar will take place on the campus of Mount Holyoke College.