We are excited to announce the return of Quilting Points, the University of Leeds's interdisciplinary critical and cultural theory reading group. This year we will examine the work of Hannah Arendt. Arendt’s influence stretches across political theory, modern history, philosophy, Jewish studies, and cultural studies; Arendt’s corpus continues to shape the way we think about the Holocaust.
Arendt’s work attempted to both theorise the rise of totalitarianism and re-think the concepts of power and citizenship. Her writing influenced Foucault, Agamben, and Kristeva, among many others, and her concept of the “banality of evil” has become common parlance, perhaps even a widely misused cliche. Despite Arendt's wide-ranging impact, though, her work is somewhat under-studied as theory in itself, primarily (but not entirely) because she preceded the “theory revolution”. This reading group will therefore be interested in asking: in what ways can Arendt be read as a thinker of modernity, and hence as a contributor to our understanding of critical and cultural theory across disciplinary boundaries?
We are equally interested in investigating how Arendt’s work can help us navigate some of today’s pressing political issues: the resurgence of populism in the West, for example; the global refugee crisis and its attendant questions of citizenship and hospitality; and the continuing conflict between Israel and Palestine. Arendt’s work will inspire debates about both modernity and our contemporary moment, a historical conjunction that Arendt calls “dark times”.
Our first session is on Thursday 6th October. Watch this space for more details.