Hannah Arendt: Thinking in Difficult Times

Hannah Arendt famously coined the phrase ‘the banality of evil’ to describe how the worst crimes against humanity could occur through people thoughtlessly obeying orders. In this course we will study the thought of this remarkable political theorist and refugee from Nazi Germany who saw her own society slide into totalitarianism. In an age of Trump and ‘alternative facts’, Arendt’s writings have since become bestsellers. In exploring why that might be, we’ll cover a range of her key works, from Eichmann in Jerusalem to The Origins of Totalitarianism, On Revolution and The Human Condition, and will discuss the nature of power, freedom, democracy, and the challenge of active thinking today.

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