Good Life, The: Philosophy of HappinessSummer Course

Summer Study Tour
French Riviera/Provence
Major Discipline(s)
Philosophy, Sociology
Location: Copenhagen
Session 3

Scandinavian nations are famously ranked the happiest countries in the world, but what is the secret to their happiness? In this course, we reach into philosophical and sociological depths to examine the foundations of the good life. We explore Copenhagen and surrounding areas to get a taste of human thriving in public and private spheres, and in political and personal affairs.

How do social cohesiveness, the Scandinavian welfare model, and the valuing of life balance promote human flourishing? Meanwhile, Scandinavians, like all modern humans, also experience loneliness, alienation, and anxiety. Our course takes us into the minds of nineteenth- and twentieth-century European thinkers, writers, and artists who were deeply troubled by the existential conditions of suffering, loss, and meaningless, but who also saw them as fundamental occasions to examine how we live. With them, we inquire into our relationships, activities, and commitments. We wonder about the importance of personal responsibility and active engagement. And we ask whether freedom is key to happiness, and, if so, freedom to do what? We may not discover the secret to happiness in this course, but we do continue an age-old pilgrimage in search of the good life for us, our fellow beings, and future generations.

Related Discipline(s)

This summer course would also be of interest to the following discipline(s):
Literature, Religious Studies


Anna Louise Strelis Söderquist

DIS Summer Faculty

Ph.D. in Philosophy, New School for Social Research, 2014. M.A. in Philosophy, New School for Social Research, New York, 2009. B.S. in Philosophy and Sociology, Northeastern University, 2004. Fulbright Alumni, US-Denmark, 2013-2014. Areas of specialization: 19th and 20th Century Continental Philosophy; Philosophy of Education; Philosophy of Dialogue; Ethics; Aesthetics; Modern Philosophy; Philosophy and Literature. With DIS since 2015. Currently on maternity leave.

Nan Gerdes

DIS Summer Faculty

Ph.D. (Comparative Literature, University of Copenhagen, 2017). Postdoc (w. diploma in educational theory and practice) and lecturer, University of Copenhagen, 2010-2018. Research stay at UC Berkeley, 2011-2012. Emphasis in research on relations – past and present – between literature, philosophy, politics, gender, and the making of identity and community. With DIS since 2018.