Wednesday, 11 January 2017

#5 – Guest speaker Simon Swift presents "Hannah Arendt, Tact and Critical Theory"

In the Jewish tradition there is a concept, hard to define and yet concrete enough, which we know as Ahabath Israel: "Love of the Jewish people..." In you, dear Hannah, as in so many intellectuals who came from the German Left, I find little trace of this. [...] Would there not have been a place [in Eichmann in Jerusalem] for what I can only describe with that modest German word – "Herzenstakt"?
Gershom Scholem, Letter to Hannah Arendt, June 23 1963

At stake in Arendt’s tactlessness [...] is a crucial, although often unacknowledged strand in her thought as a whole, namely the issue of the relation between politics and feeling. 
Simon Swift, 'Hannah Arendt's Tactlessness'

Our first session of 2017 will be run by guest speaker Simon Swift, director of the Northern Theory School and Associate Professor of English Literature at the University of Geneva. Simon has published extensively on Hannah Arendt - from articles such as 'Hannah Arendt's Tactlessness: Reading Eichmann in Jerusalem' to his monograph Hannah Arendt, which is part of the Routledge Critical Thinkers series. 

Simon will be presenting on Arendt, tact and critical theory, covering issues such as the relationship between tact, tactlessness and theory, and the 'tactlessness' of Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem. His presentation will be followed by a Q&A, and then a group discussion of chapters 1, 3, 7, and 14.

Where?: LHRI, Seminar Room 1 
When?: Thursday 19th January, 5-7pm
Primary reading: Chapters 1, 3, 7 and 14 from Eichmann in Jerusalem. PDF here.


Wednesday, 23 November 2016

#4 – 01/12/2016: The Origins of Totalitarianism (2): The Jews and Society

'Comprehension, in short, means the unpremeditated, attentive facing up to, and resisting of, reality––whatever it may be.
Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism

Our second session on The Origins of Totalitarianism will grapple with Arendt's investigation into Nazism and the Jewish question. Focusing specifically on Arendt's chapter 'The Jews and Society', we will explore Arendt's conviction that Jews were by no means innocent victims, but rather agents who acted and re-acted within the public realm. This line of thought leads Arendt to a highly controversial question: if Jews were not innocent victims of Nazi violence, then do they in some way share the responsibility for that violence?

Join us for our final meeting before the winter break – expect vegan wine and snacks!

Where?: LHRI, Seminar Room 1 
When?: Thursday 1st December, 5-7pm
Primary reading: Hannah Arendt, 'The Jews and Society', in The Origins of Totalitarianism. Click here for PDF.