Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Totalitarianism / Hannah Arendt

Hannah Arendt Considered Today: Totalitarianism, Genocide and the Need for Thought
By Cynthia Haven
Stanford Report, May 25, 2010
"The 20th century world of philosophy did not, as a rule, create superstars. Hannah Arendt was an exception -- almost from the time she coined the phrase that has become a cliché, 'banality of evil,' to describe the 1961 trial of Nazi Adolf Eichmann in a series of articles for The New Yorker. She acquired a cult status that her mentors, philosophers Karl Jaspers and Martin Heidegger, could hardly imagine. Thirty-five years after her death, the German-Jewish political theorist, author of Eichmann in Jerusalem, Origins of Totalitarianism, The Human Condition and Life of the Mind, among other works, is an international industry, with new letters, commentaries and biographies published every year. But perhaps her message has been obscured by celebrity. A scholarly conference at Stanford attempted to redress the imbalance in its own way with a recent two-day workshop, 'Hannah Arendt and the Humanities: On the Relevance of Her Work Beyond the Realm of Politics,' sponsored by the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. Scholars from around the world discussed the life and thought of one of the most seminal and influential political philosophers of the last century. [...]"

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