Thursday, 20 April 2017

#11 – 27/04/17: Lying in Politics

When we talk about lying […] let us remember that the lie did not creep into politics by some accident of human sinfulness. Moral outrage, for this reason alone, is not likely to make it disappear.
–––Arendt, 'Lying in Politics'

The ultimate aim was neither power nor profit […] The goal now was the image itself.
–––Ibid.


In what promises to be an excruciatingly topical session, we'll be reading Arendt's 'Lying in Politics' next week, with Derrida's 'History of the Lie' as secondary material.

Arendt's essay responds to the 'Pentagon Papers', the U.S. Department of Defence's report on their involvement in the Vietnam and Korean Wars. These papers were leaked by The New York Times amidst the furore of the Watergate scandal; they exposed 'the extravagant lengths to which the commitment to nontruthfulness in politics went on at the highest levels of government' (Arendt, 4).

The response we find in 'Lying in Politics' is an interrogation of both the nature and the political uses of truth and lies. Prescient as ever, Arendt equips us with the tools for understanding post-truth, nationalism, and the way governments attempt to hold power.

What better to set you up for the coming months of Trump's narcissistic foreign policy, Erdogan's new mandate for authoritarianism, and May's manipulative, Brexit-fuelled electioneering?

Where? LHRI Seminar rooom 1
When? Thursday 27th March 2017, 57pm
Primary reading: 'Lying in Politics', from Crises of the Republic. PDF here.
Secondary reading: Jacques Derrida, 'History of the Lie: Prolegomena'. PDF here.



Wednesday, 8 March 2017

#10 – 16/03/17: Patrick Hayden presents "The Heart of Politics: Amor Mundi and Human Plurality"

Before drawing up the constitution of a new body politic, we shall have to create–not merely discover–a new foundation for human community as such.
–Hannah Arendt, concluding remarks to The Origins of Totalitarianism

For our next session we will be joined by Patrick Hayden, Professor of Political Theory and International Relations at St Andrews, who will present his paper "The Heart of Politics: Amor Mundi and Human Plurality". Prof. Hayden has published widely on Arendt, including: a monograph, Political Evil in a Global Age: Hannah Arendt and International Theory (2010), an edited collection, Hannah Arendt: Key Concepts (2014), and numerous articles and chapters, the most recent of which explores Arendt, refugees, and world-making. Hayden's other publications include Camus and the Challenge of Political Thought: Between Despair and Hope (2016) and the co-authored Recognition and Global Politics: Critical Encounters between State and World (2015).

**Please note that we are meeting at the earlier time of 3-5pm.**

Where?: Botany House, 1.03
When?: Thursday 16th March, 3-5pm
Primary reading: Chapters 12, 13, and Appendix from The Origins of Totalitarianism. PDF here.