Hannah Arendt Reading Group

Organized by Lucy Benjamin <lucy.b.benjamin@gmail.com>

Following the 2016 election of Donald Trump, Hannah Arendt’s monograph The Origins of Totalitarianism asserted its currency anew and rose to Amazon’s ranks of bestsellers. Though Arendt was principally concerned with the political climate of the 20th century (notably her flight from Nazi Europe to New York and her subsequent account of the Eichmann trials in Jerusalem), what is distinct about her work is its ahistorical study of the being of being human.

Inserting a language of philosophical anthropology into Arendt’s work (the ontology of the human and humanness) does not detract from her political theses, rather it recalls once more why her mid-century work continues to be relevant today. The rise of the alt-right and the liberal use of polarising ‘post-truth’ rhetoric in political speech reaffirm one of Arendt’s most damning readings of humanity: the banality of evil.

This reading group will focus on Arendt’s 1958 monograph The Human Condition, in which she details those human potentials central to political action; natality, plurality and action. The group will meet once a month from September to read selected chapters of her work, drawing connections to both our own work and to current phenomena.

Meetings are on 11 October, 1 November, 22 November, 6 December and 20 December from 15.00 – 17.00 in room 0.12, BG2, Turfdraagsterpad 15-17.

Published by  ASCA

11 September 2017