Hannah Arendt and the Boundaries of the Public Sphere

Call for Papers

The Russian Sociological Review invites scholars in the fields of theoretical sociology, social philosophy, intellectual history and the related disciplines in the social sciences and humanities to contribute to a special issue devoted to Hannah Arendt and the problem of the boundaries of public sphere.

Hannah Arendt is one of the most vigorous advocates of public politics and agonistic debate among contemporary political philosophers. Because of our essential plurality, humans can access and preserve their common world “only to the extent that many people can talk about it and exchange their opinions and perspectives with one another, over against one another”.

However, Arendt’s position is challenged by the recent transformations of democracy which are making us reconsider the limits of political discussion. With both traditional and new media undergoing a radical transformation, it is becoming increasingly common to deny political opponents the moral right to justify their position in public debate. This pattern can be observed across the political spectrum and also across borders: in some places in the world many refuse to debate with the rising extreme right, while in other places it is the liberals who are considered traitors and therefore excluded from public discussion. The outcome is a remarkable fragmentation of the public sphere and the coexistence of communities holding incompatible views of reality.

Arendt’s thought is a promising point to access the problem of who can and who cannot be admitted to the public forum. While arguing for the cultivation of plurality as a political virtue, she nevertheless calls for responsible politics which implies protecting the public sphere.

Arendt is no less famous for noticing the intrinsic link between freedom and lying in politics than for her alarming analyses of totalitarianism. How can these positions be reconciled and/or synthesized in an age of ‘alternative facts’, ‘post-truths’ and the threatening encapsulation of people within their echo chambers?

Arendt’s own positions have been criticized many times for going beyond the admissible, from her nuanced reflection on the Holocaust to alleged contamination by Nazi philosophy.

The lessons from Arendt’s controversial biography for present-day politics are still to be drawn.

The Russian Sociological Review invites submissions focusing on how Arendt’s political concepts can be used to establish justified limits for public discussion and promoting public politics today. How can politics benefit from conflict and control it? Are there any positions and ideologies to be disqualified from public debate? In what ways are individuals responsible for upholding pluralism? How should the public sphere accommodate new types of political lies? How can Arendt’s vision of the political be mobilized to answer the political challenges of the present day?

Schedule ...

Veröffentlicht: 2018-04-17 Weiter…

New: Hannah Arendt Research Society of Japan


The Hannah Arendt Research Society of Japan was established for promoting research and active discussions on Arendt’s thought across disciplinary boundaries with diverse viewpoints.  As Arendt insists on the importance of keeping unoccupied chairs for newcomers around the table during discussions, the Society invites anyone who is interested in Arendt to join in our discussions.  We aim to deepen our understanding of Arendt’s thought, and to nurture the ability to think about modern society through multidimensional dialogues among researchers and laypeople.  We welcome anyone who supports our mission to join our society and discussions.  

An annual meeting is held early September every year.  We usually announce to call for paper in April with the deadline in the end of May, and decision is made by June. More

Veröffentlicht: 2018-04-03

Workshop March 30-31, 2018


Hannah Arendt on the Limits of the Permissible: Public Sphere, Pluralism and Responsibility”

This workshop will be part of the XXV symposium ‘Paths of Russia’, held on March 30-31, 2018 at Moscow School for Social and Economic Sciences.

Workshop is supported by Friedrich Naumann Stiftung, Russia

Hannah Arendt is one of the most vigorous advocates of public politics and agonistic debate among contemporary political philosophers. However, her position is challenged by the recent transformations of democracy that make us reconsider the limits of political discussion. With both traditional and new media undergoing a radical transformation, it becomes increasingly common to deny political opponents the moral right for justifying their position in a public debate. This pattern can be observed across political spectrum and also across borders: while in some places of the world many refuse to debate with the rising extreme right, in other countries it is the liberals who are considered traitors and therefore excluded from public discussion. The outcome is a remarkable segmentation of public sphere and coexistence of communities holding incompatible views of reality, as reflected in widespread concerns with ‘alternative facts’ and ‘post-truths’.

Arendt’s thought seems to be one of the promising points to access the problem of who can and who cannot be admitted to the public forum. While arguing for cultivation of plurality as political virtue, she nevertheless calls for responsible politics that implies protecting the public sphere. Moreover, Arendt’s own positions have been many times criticized for going beyond admissible, from her nuanced reflection on Holocaust to alleged contamination by Nazi philosophy. The lessons from Arendt’s controversial biography for present-day politics are still to be drawn.

This workshop explores how Arendt’s political concepts can be used in establishing the justified limits for public discussion and promoting public politics today. How politics can benefit from conflict and control it? Are there any positions and ideologies to be disqualified from public debate? In which ways individuals are responsible for upholding pluralism? What can Arendt’s vision of the political for twentieth century tell about the challenges politics faces nowadays?

Workshop organizers:

Greg Yudin (Moscow School of Social and Economic Sciences) –

Viktor Kaploun (Smolny College/European University at Saint-Petersburg) –
Veröffentlicht: 2018-01-31



Hannah Arendt: Challenges of Plurality

Paderborn University, 13th – 15th December 2018

In her writings, Hannah Arendt strongly affirms the plurality of the common world. From the very first moment, when she introduces the notion in The Human Condition, it becomes clear that plurality is the cornerstone of condition humaine. For Arendt, plurality means that “men, not Man, live on the earth and inhabit the world”. This seemingly banal assumption affects her entire political theory considerably.

Plurality entails two aspects: equality and difference – we are all humans, but everyone is exceptional in her or his uniqueness. But as such, it not only enriches the world, but also becomes a source of significant challenges: acting together in spite of our differences, thinking as an inner dialogue with a particularly demanding dialogue partner, judging politically with respect to an ever-changing spectrum of possible standpoints are all challenging practices we confront in the common world.

This conference aims at exploring challenges posed by plurality, but also opportunities it offers. As an interdisciplinary endeavor, it opens up for different approaches to Arendt, inviting scholars from fields such as philosophy, politics, theology, media studies, sociology, gender studies, history, and others. It also prompts examination of interplay with other theorists (such as Agamben, Butler, Cavarero, Foucault, or Merleau-Ponty). We want to tackle currently relevant problems, such as migration politics and human rights, but also raise ever-present issues, such as the philosophical potential of the concept of plurality, possible foundations of normativity in our contingent world, or stimuli for political action.

The list of invited speakers includes:

Nils Baratella, Hannah Arendt Zentrum, Universität Oldenburg

Marieke Borren, University of Utrecht

Ayten Gündoğdu, Barnard College

Annabel Herzog, University of Haifa

Wolfgang Heuer, FU Berlin

Sophie Loidolt, Universität Kassel

Patricia Owens, University of Sussex

Stefanie Rosenmüller, FH Dortmund

Anya Topolski, Radbound University

Christian Volk, FU Berlin

Submission guidelines:

We invite paper proposals including a title, an abstract of maximum 500 words, name and affiliation of the author, as well as contact information. The presentation time is 30 minutes with additional 10 minutes for discussion. The conference language is English.

Please submit your proposal via email ( by 15th February 2018.


Tobias Matzner, Paderborn University

Maria Robaszkiewicz, Paderborn University

Jochen Schmidt, Paderborn University


Maria Robaszkiewicz:




Veröffentlicht: 2018-01-16

Nécrologie / homenaje


Le philosophe Étienne Tassin, spécialiste français de la pensée de Hannah Arendt, est mort accidentellement à l’âge de 62 ans.

Philosophie Magazine

Étienne Tassin, compás utópico de infinita hospitalidad.

Palabras al margen

Veröffentlicht: 2018-01-09

Essays in Understanding, part 2


Thinking Without a Banister: Essays in Understanding, 1953-1975

ed. by Jerome Kohn

Schocken March 2018


Veröffentlicht: 2018-01-05



Wie ich einmal ohne Dich leben soll, mag ich mir nicht vorstellen

Hannah Arendt

Briefwechsel mit den Freundinnen Charlotte Beradt, Rose Feitelson, Hilde Fränkel, Anne Weil und Helen Wolff

Hg. von Ursula Ludz und Ingeborg Nordmann

Piper 2017

Veröffentlicht: 2018-01-05

Erstmals auf Deutsch


Französischer Existenzialismus

von Hannah Arendt


Philosophie Magazin

Sonderausgabe "Die Existenzialisten"


Veröffentlicht: 2018-01-05

bislang unveröffentlicher Essay


Die Freiheit, frei zu sein
von Hannah Arendt

In diesem bislang unveröffentlichten Essay entfaltet Hannah Arendt das Wesen von Revolutionen. Wann und wie beginnt ein neues Zeitalter?

DIE ZEIT Nr. 2/2018

In Buchform ab 12. Januar 2018

bei dtv


What Freedom and Revolution Really Mean

Thoughts on Poverty, Misery, and the Great Revolutions of History


Veröffentlicht: 2018-01-05

Estudos Ibero-Americanos


v. 43, n. 3 (2017)

Dossiê: Amor Mundi: atualidade e recepção da obra de Hannah Arendt

ed. por Wolfgang Heuer, Vinícius Liebel

com Frauke Kurbacher, Alexey Salikov, Alexey Zhavoronkov, Vlasta Jalušič, Helgard Mahrdt, Claudia Hilb, Maria Jose Lopez Merino, Claudia Perrone-Moisés, Laura Mascaro, Julia Gabriela Smola, Adriano Correia e uma entrevista com Jerome Kohn

Veröffentlicht: 2017-12-05

Hannah Arendt Preis für politisches Denken 2017

Verleihung an Étienne Balibar

Étienne Balibar hat, wie die Juryvorsitzende Prof. Antonia Grunenberg hervorhebt, „in seinen Büchern und im öffentlichen Auftreten ein intervenierendes Denken in der Tradition Hannah Arendts gepflegt. Seine Beiträge haben sich weit über den akademischen Diskurs hinaus an die republikanische Öffentlichkeit gerichtet.“

Étienne Balibar studierte an der Ecole normale supérieure (ENS). Er war Schüler und Mitarbeiter des Philosophen Louis Althusser. Bis 2002 lehrte er politische Philosophie und Moralphilosophie an der Universität von Paris-Nanterre. Inzwischen emeritierter Professor, lehrt er seit den 1990er Jahren auch an mehreren Universitäten der USA. Zurzeit ist Balibar Gastprofessor an der Columbia University in New York für französische und vergleichende Literatur. mehr
Veröffentlicht: 2017-11-06

Arendt Studies


 the inaugural volume of Arendt Studies is now available online:

Veröffentlicht: 2017-10-14

Portable Polis


The Hannah Arendt Reading Group in Berlin 2017

with Fred Dewey

Portable Polis schedule - Saturdays, 13h - 16h

13.05.17 / Launch: Private Apartment, Selchower 22, 12049 Berlin Neukölln // from The Human Condition, 1958, Chapter II, "The Public and Private Realm"

20.05.17 / ZK/U Siemensstr. 27, 10551 Berlin Moabit // "The Public and Private Realm" continued

27.05.17/ Archive Kabinett, Müllerstraße 133, HH, 13349 Berlin Wedding // "The Public and Private Realm" continued

03.06.17 / Südblock, Kotti circle, Admiralstr. 1-2, 10999 Berlin Kreuzberg // "The Public and Private Realm" continued

10.06.17 / Südblock, Kotti circle, Admiralstr. 1-2, 10999 Kotti circle, Berlin Kreuzberg // "The Public and Private Realm" continued

17.06.17 / Die Laube im Prinzessinnengarten, Prinzenstr. 35-38 (Moritzplatz), 10969 Berlin Kreuzberg // "The Public and Private Realm" continued

24.06.17 / ZUsammenKUNFT, Stresemannstr. 95 10963 Berlin Kreuzberg // "We Refugees," 1943, The Menorah Journal

01.07.17 / ZUsammenKUNFT, Stresemannstr. 95 10963 Berlin Kreuzberg // "We Refugees" continued

08.07.17 / Förderband, Torstraße 150 10119 Berlin Mitte // from The Portable Hannah Arendt, "Labor, Work, Action," 1964

15.07.17 / Kotti & Co, Gecekondu (wooden shack) Admiralstr 1-2, 10999 Berlin Kreutzberg // from Origins of Totalitarianism, 1951, "Decline of the Nation State; End of Rights of Man," on the Right to Rights

22.07.17 / Pro QM, Almstadtstr. 48-50 10119 Berlin Mitte // "Labor, Work, Action" continued

29.07.17 / Final Session: From the Holocaust Memorial to the Lessing Statue  Meet at Arendtstr & Ebertstr (Holocaust Memorial), walk together to the statue in SW Tiergarten 10117 Berlin Tiergarten // from Men in Dark Times, excerpt from "On Humanity in Dark Times (Lessing)," 1959

Veröffentlicht: 2017-05-13

Call for Papers vol. 9, no. 1, 2018  
Veröffentlicht: 2017-05-08 Weiter…

Call for Papers

Bd. 9, Nr. 1 (2018)

(German / English)


Pluralität / Plurality

Call for Papers

Hannah Arendt schrieb ihr erstes großes Buch unter dem Eindruck, dass mit dem Totalitarismus und dem Zweiten Weltkrieg eine geschichtliche Tradition an ihr Ende gekommen war. Die Kontinuität der abendländischen Geschichte, so befand sie, sei „wirklich durchbrochen“, der Traditionsbruch „eine vollendete Tatsache“. 1975 in ihrer Rede zur Zweihundert-Jahr-Feier der amerikanischen Revolution sprach sie mit Blick auf den Vietnamkrieg und die Watergate-Affäre von der Gefahr, dass „wir an einem jener entscheidenden Wendepunkte der Geschichte stehen, welcher ganze Epochen voneinander trennt“.

Angesichts der sich überschlagenden Ereignisse der letzten Jahre – den Kriegen im Nahen Osten, der Bedrohung der Menschenrechte, dem Anstieg populistischer und nationalistischer Bewegungen und der drohenden Auflösung der Europäische Union – zieht sich durch viele aktuelle Diskussionen und Kommentare die Befürchtung, dass wiederum etwas an ein Ende gekommen ist: die Nachkriegsordnung,  wie sie insbesondere in den Verträgen zur europäischen Union und der Verankerung der Menschenrechte in den internationalen Beziehungen zum Ausdruck kommt.

In ihrer politischen Theorie hat Arendt eine spezifische Antwort auf die selbst erfahrenen Brüche versucht. Sie gelangte zu der Einsicht, dass in der Tradition abendländischen politischen Denkens seit Plato die Tatsache der Pluralität des Menschseins „nebenher“ behandelt worden sei. Pluralität wurde für sie zum Schlüsselbegriff – in den Worten Margaret Canovans (Hannah Arendt: A Reinterpretation, 1992, S. 281): „In the course of her own response to the experiences of her time, Arendt augmented the world by one word: the word plurality.“ Oder, Arendt selbst aus dem nachgelassenen The Life of the Mind zitierend, „Plurality is the law of the earth“.

Mit unserer nächsten Nummer wollen wir an diese theoretische Leistung Arendts erinnern und sie in die aktuellen Diskussionen einbringen und in ihren vielfältigen Dimensionen neu befragen, indem wir Beiträge zu folgenden Themenbereichen anregen:

̶         Totalitarismus - Populismus.

Die gegenwärtigen populistischen Bewegungen führen vor, wie schwierig es ist, eine durch Ängste und Ressentiments eingeschworene Gemeinschaft für eine Diskussion alternativer Meinungen zu öffnen. Hannah Arendt hat in ihrem Totalitarismusbuch am Beispiel totalitärer Bewegungen eindrücklich gezeigt, wie der Mechanismus von Vereinheitlichung nach innen und Abschottung nach außen funktioniert. In den gegenwärtigen Diskussionen materialisiert sich diese Erkenntnis, wobei die Meinungen zu der Frage, ob die populistischen Bewegungen im Arendtschen Sinne als totalitär einzustufen sind, durchaus kontrovers sind. Ähnlich vielfältig sind die Auffassungen, ob die Demokratie als Institution der Gleichheit der Verschiedenen als kritischer Gegenpol zur fundamentalistischen Homogenisierung gelten kann. Hier ist mit Arendt zu betonen, dass die „westlichen“ Gesellschaften nicht in einer reinen Demokratie leben, sondern in einer Republik mit starken demokratischen Elementen, den demokratischen Wahlen und der Möglichkeit zu Volksentscheiden. Erst in dieser politischen Konstellation von Republik-Demokratie kann nach Arendt Pluralität garantiert werden.

Ohne Pluralität bildet sich kein politischer Raum und keine gemeinsame Welt zwischen den Menschen, aber Pluralität lässt sich nicht eins zu eins in politisches Recht umsetzen. Wie HA in ihren Schriften bereits analysiert hat, bleibt Pluralität auch in Demokratien bedroht durch gesellschaftliche Ungleichheit, Bürokratismus, durch die Lüge im öffentlichen Raum und  - wie der französische Soziologe Didier Eribon in seinem 2016 erschienenen Buch „Rückkehr nach Reims“ beschrieb -, durch die Vertreibung unterer Schichten aus dem politischen Diskurs.   Die soziale Frage ist auch bei Arendt ein strittiger Punkt. Eine genauere Aufarbeitung der genannten Themenbereiche sowie der von Arendt häufig kritisch reflektieren Situation der „Randständigen“ und Flüchtlinge wäre daher wünschenswert. 

-        Weltbürger, Menschenrechte, soziale Gerechtigkeit

Der Kosmopolitismus der Menschenrechte schien nach dem Ende des Kalten Krieges und nach der Einrichtung eines internationalen Gerichtshofs in Den Haag eine reale Chance zu sein,  die Basis für die internationale Anerkennung der Menschenrechte zu erweitern und zu sichern. Arendts Forderung nach einem international abgesicherten Recht, Rechte zu haben, wurde weltweit als inspirierende politische Anregung aufgenommen.  Doch wie kommt es, dass in der Frage der Menschenrechte die große Politik zunehmend als machtlos erscheint und nur die Zivilgesellschaft sich als handlungsfähig erweist? Ist das politische Prinzip der „checks and balances“ in seinen heutigen Formen nicht differenziert genug, um Handlungsfähigkeit der verschiedenen Ebenen der großen Politik zu garantieren? Kann der Begriff Pluralität helfen, dieses Prinzip kritisch zu hinterfragen und  zu „reformieren“?

-       Mythos Geschichte

In den Essays, die Arendt 1953-54 schrieb und die als grundlegende Selbstverständigung über zentrale Begriffe des politischen Denkens zu verstehen sind, hat sie sich auch mit dem neuzeitlichen Geschichtsbegriff auseinandergesetzt: „Der gemeinsame Nenner des modernen Natur- und Geschichtsbegriffs ist der Prozess“, dessen Allgemeingültigkeit jedes Ereignis und Handeln unterworfen ist und diese zu bloßen Funktionen degradiert. Dieses Prozessdenken, das  „alles und alle zu Exponenten erniedrigt“ und das sich „ein Monopol“ auf  Sinn, Bedeutung und Wahrheit aneignet, spielt in allen nationalistischen, populistischen und totalitären Massenbewegungen, wenn auch in unterschiedlichen Ausprägungen, eine maßgebende Rolle. Es tritt an die Stelle des gemeinsamen politischen Handelns der Vielen. Individuelles Verantwortungs- und Urteilsvermögen wird ersetzt durch Administration, durch die Unterwerfung  unter die Stimmigkeit des Geschichtsprozesses, der vollstreckt werden soll. So abstrus und willkürlich die Geschichtskonstruktionen auch sind, ihre Wirkung bleibt davon unberührt. Ein aktuelles Beispiel sind die von Stephen Bannon aufgestellten Geschichtskonstruktionen, auf die Norbert Frei in einem Artikel in der SZ vom 4./5. März 2017 hingewiesen hat.

Arendts Darstellung und Kritik bezieht sich insbesondere auf die zerstörerischen Auswirkungen derartiger Geschichtsmythen auf alles, was die Konstituierung politischen Handelns ermöglichen kann: die subjektive Bereitschaft, Verantwortung zu übernehmen und zu handeln, und die Nähe und Distanz im Anderen zu erkennen und anzuerkennen. Die Zerstörung von Wirklichkeit durch Lügen und „fake news“ könnte in diesem Zusammenhang ebenso thematisiert werden wie die Bedrohung des öffentlichen Diskurses und des für Arendt so entscheidenden Zusammenspiels von Meinungen und Tatsachenwahrheit.

Hierher gehört auch die grundlegende Bedrohung durch die Erosion von Wirklichkeits- und Wahrheitsauffassungen im Zeitalter der Digitalisierung und Globalisierung. Angesichts dieser in den letzten Jahrzehnten immer manifester werdenden Gefahren, halten wir es für sinnvoll, die politischen Schriften von HA. über Lüge, Macht und Gewalt erneut zu diskutieren und  nach ihrer Bedeutung für die Gegenwart zu befragen.

Darüber hinaus sind Beiträge willkommen, die Arendts Vorstellungen zur Pluralität im einzelnen herausarbeiten und kritisch untersuchen:

̶           Zum Beispiel das, was sie unter „repräsentativem Denken“ versteht. Das repräsentative Denken oder die erweiterte Denkungsart ist ein Konzept, zu dem sich Arendt in ihren veröffentlichten Werken nur vereinzelt geäußert hat. Erst im Denktagebuch und in den Kant-Texten des Nachlasses wird die Frage des re-präsentativen Denkens ausführlicher erörtert. Obwohl Arendt schon sehr früh, d.h. in dem Text „Understanding and Politics“ (1953), am Beispiel von Kants Einbildungskraft das erweiterte Denken anspricht, hat sie ein ganzes Leben gebraucht, bis sie sich wieder diesem Thema zuwandte. Es sollte Gegenstand des dritten Bandes von The Life of the Mind sein.

̶         Oder ihre Gedanken zu Sokrates als dem Vertreter einer verlorengegangenen (verborgenen?) Tradition. Seit der frühen Vorlesung über „Philosophy and Politics“ (Notre Dame, 1954) bis zum späten Werk The Life of the Mind hat sich Arendt mit Sokrates befasst und sein Denken und Leben als Ursprung einer Traditionslinie politischen Denkens bestimmt, bei der die Pluralität im Vordergrund steht.

Die Nummer soll im Frühjahr 2018 erscheinen, die Manuskripte sind bis spätestens 1.10.2017 einzureichen. Einzelheiten zur Beitragseinreichung bitten wir, unserer Webssite (-> „Über uns“) zu entnehmen.


Pluralität / Plurality

Call for Papers

When Hannah Arendt wrote her first great book, she was under the impression that totalitarian rule and World War II had brought a historical tradition to an end. She claimed that the continuity of occidental history was “broken” and that this “break in our tradition is now an accomplished fact.” With reference to the Vietnam War and the Watergate affair in her Bicentennial Address in 1975, she declared: “We may very well stand at one of those decisive turning points of history which separate whole eras from each other.”

   In view of the escalating events of recent years—the wars in the Middle East, the threat to human rights, the advance of populist and nationalist movements, and the menacing collapse of the European Union—fears and misgivings are pronounced in current discussions and commentaries suspecting that yet again something may have come to an end: post-war order, as evidenced in the treaties of the European Union and the embodiment of human rights in international relations.

   Arendt attempted in her political theory to find a specific answer to the discontinuities she experienced in her lifetime. She realized that the tradition of Western political thought since Plato had merely treated the notion of human plurality in passing. For her, on the other hand, plurality became the key concept. As Margaret Canovan wrote: “In the course of her own response to the experiences of her time, Arendt augmented the world by one word: the word plurality.” (Hannah Arendt: A Reinterpretation, 1992, p. 281) Or, quoting Arendt from her posthumously published The Life of the Mind: “Plurality is the law of the earth.”

   With our coming issue, we intend to call to mind Arendt’s theoretical achievement, to introduce it to current debates and to turn anew to its many dimensions by suggesting contributions on the following realms:


            Current populist movements indicate the difficulty of opening a committed community of people, harassed by fear and resentment, to discussions on alternative opinions. Taking totalitarian movements as an example in her book on totalitarianism, Arendt demonstrates convincingly how mechanisms of adapting to the inside and dissociating from the outside world work. Current comments confirm this insight, notwithstanding the diverse if not contentious responses to the question of whether populist movements are totalitarian or not. Argumentative diversity is also a characteristic feature of debates on whether democracy as an institution for the equality of different people can be seen as a critical pole against tendencies of fundamental homogenization. In this context it should be emphasized with Arendt that “Western” societies do not live in pure democracies but rather in republics with strong democratic features, i.e., democratic elections and the possibility of popular referenda. Only in the constellation of republic-democracies can, according to Arendt, plurality be guaranteed. Without plurality, a political space cannot develop, nor can a common world between men emerge. Plurality, however, can never be fully transformed into political law. As Arendt analysed in her writings, plurality remains threatened in democracies by social inequality, by bureaucratization, by public lying and—as French sociologist Didier Eribon in his Returning to Reims from 2013 points out—by the expulsion of lower social strata from political discourse. In Arendt, too, the social question is a point at issue. It seems desirable therefore to take a closer look at the subject areas just mentioned and the situation both of the marginalized and of refugees—situations on which Arendt often reflected.

Cosmopolitans, human rights, social justice

            After the end of the Cold War and the erection of the International Criminal Court in Den Haag, the cosmopolitan nature of human rights seemed promising in terms of extending and ensuring the basis of their international recognition. Arendt’s demand for the internationally guaranteed right to have rights was acknowledged globally as an inspiring political suggestion. But how is it possible that big politics appears to be increasingly powerless when human rights are at stake and civil society alone shows itself capable of acting? Can it be that the political principle of checks and balances is not sufficiently refined in its present state to guarantee the capacity for action of big politics and its various levels? Does the concept of plurality provide an appropriate tool to scrutinize and “reform” this political principle?

The myth of history

            In the essays she wrote in 1953 and 1954, which reveal her self-understanding of the basic tenets of political thought, Arendt also tackled the modern concept of history: “The main denominator of the modern concept of nature and history is process” as a universal principle to which all events and actions are subjected, lowering them to mere functions. Such process-based thinking, which degrades everything and everyone to “exponents” and acquires the “monopoly” of meaning and truth, plays a decisive role in nationalist, populist and totalitarian mass movements, albeit of different shades. It replaces the common political acting of the many. The individual faculty of responsibility and judgment is replaced by administration, by submission to the consistency with which the process of history is to be executed. Abstruse and arbitrary as these constructs of history are, their effect remains untouched. The constructs set up by Steve Bannon, to which Norbert Frei refers in a commentary in the Süddeutsche Zeitung (March 4-5, 2017), are a current example.

               Arendt’s criticism is primarily directed at the destructive consequences of the myths of history about everything that could constitute acting in politics: the personal willingness to take responsibility and to act as well as to perceive and recognize closeness and distance in the other. In this context, possible topicc could be the destruction of reality through lies and “fake news” or indeed the threat to public discourse and the interplay of opinions and factual truths. The general erosion of reality and truth as it appears in the age of digitalization (sorry, it’s digitization, which I learned at the Library of Congress) and globalization is likewise a topic of interest. Considering these dangers, which have gradually become more manifest in recent decades, we think it makes sense to revive the discussion of Hannah Arendt’s work on lies, power and violence, and to consult them for their implications for current discourse.

In addition, we welcome contributions that concentrate on Arendt’s views of plurality by discussing and critically acknowledging them in detail.

For example, what was Arendt’s understanding of “representative thinking”? Representative thinking–or enlarged thinking–is a concept Arendt dealt with only occasionally in her published work. In her Denktagebuch and the posthumously published Kant Lectures the question of representative thinking is addressed more extensively. Although in an early text (“Understanding and Politics,” 1954) that takes Kant’s “Einbildungskraft” as an example, Arendt mentions representative thinking, she needed her lifetime to tackle this concept. It was meant to inform the third volume of The Life of the Mind.

Or Arendt’s thoughts on Socrates as the representative of the lost (hidden?) tradition. Beginning with her lecture on “Philosophy and Politics” (Notre Dame, 1954) and up to her late work The Life of the Mind, Arendt concerned herself with Socrates. She defined his thinking and his way of life as the origin of the line of political thought that focuses on the concept of plurality.

The coming issue is scheduled to appear in spring 2018. Papers should be submitted by October 1, 2017. Please check our website (à “Über uns”) for details of “Beitragseinreichung (paper submission).”

Veröffentlicht: 2017-04-22

Conference 29 April 2017


An ICI Berlin event, organized by Benjamin Lewis Robinson, in collaboration with Bard College Berlin and the Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College in New York more

Veröffentlicht: 2017-04-03

El País


La banalidad del mal y la terrorífica
normalidad de los nazis

Hannah Arendt nos recuerda los peligros de la irreflexión

Por Jaime Rubio Hancock

El Lobo es el apodo de Michael Karkoc, un criminal nazi responsable de la muerte de al menos 44 hombres, mujeres y niños en 1944. También es un anciano de 98 años que sigue trabajando en su jardín de Minneápolis, donde vive desde que huyó de Ucrania al final de la Segunda Guerra Mundial más



Veröffentlicht: 2017-03-24


Artefacts of Thinking: Reading Hannah Arendt’s Denktagebuch, hrsg. von Roger Berkowitz und Ian Storey, New York: Fordham University Press, 2017. 186 S., Paper $ 32.00, Cloth 110.00, simultaneous electronic ed. available.  
Veröffentlicht: 2017-03-21



Post-Truth and Politics

Departing from the thought of Hannah Arendt

Saturday, 29 April 2017

ICI Berlin

In 1967 Arendt published an article on “Truth and Politics” in the New Yorker in response to historical exigencies

that resonate with those presented today by the so-called “post-truth society.”


While acknowledging the inevitable implication and interminable contest between truth and politics,

Arendt attempts to make the case for a rigorous separation of truth-telling from political praxis, which is nonetheless

supposed to operate within the framework afforded by factual and scientific truth. Today, given the intensifying political,

 and especially bio-political, consequence of the sciences, it is no longer clear that such a distinction is tenable.

Since Arendt wrote, the involvement of politics and epistemology, of power and knowledge, has undergone an intensive

interdisciplinary investigation, which has transformed the university, especially in the humanities. Interrogating this entanglement

of truth and politics, we will ask whether it is true, as some have claimed, that the university is responsible for “post-truth”

on account of the relativism it is now perceived to propagate. Or are such claims themselves symptomatic of

the problem – fueling the widespread disaffection with established institutions especially those supposed to speak the truth?


As alarm is raised about the attrition of factual truth and the preponderance of “lying in politics,” to cite another essay of Arendt’s,

we propose to consider the theoretical and historical precedents for such tendencies as well as the significance

of the cultural and technical changes in the dissemination of news brought about by social media. Beyond the university

and the media, rational-scientific and factual truth, we may finally reflect on the peculiar kind of truth-telling

Arendt attributed to poetry.

An ICI Berlin event in collaboration with Bard College Berlin and the Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College in New York


Veröffentlicht: 2017-03-16

Coming to DVD March 21



See the trailer and further information at Zeigeist Films

and reviews of the film in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, The Hollywood Reporter


The distribution of the DVD is restricted to the US and Canada region.





By Melanie Goodfellow


Documentary film-maker Ada Ushpiz tells Screen about charting the life and

fertile mind of a great thinker in her new film

Vita Activa, The Spirit Of Hannah Arendt.

When Ada Ushpiz’s timely documentary Vita Activa, The Spirit Of Hannah Arendt,

exploring the roots and legacy of the legendary philosopher’s thinking, premiered at

Munich International Film Festival earlier this year it played to a packed-out theatre.

“There was not a ticket to be had,” says respected film-maker Ushpiz, whose credits

include Good Garbage, Desert Brides and Detained. Today’s screening at Jerusalem

Film Festival, where the film is playing in the documentary competition, is also sold



“They’re not just coming for the documentary,” declares Ushpiz. “They’re also drawn

by the figure of Hannah Arendt. She remains as popular, if not more popular, than

when she was alive because she was ahead of her time.”


“She is beyond post-modernism. She was a thinking person. She didn’t subscribe to

any set doctrine or school of thought but based her writings on experience and what

was really happening. She had the ability to universalise her personal experience.”


Arendt’s writings, notes the film-maker, have influenced movements as diverse as

Poland’s Solidarity and the pro-democracy Arab Spring. To this day, they also remain

a source of inspiration for the Jewish secular movement. The philosopher’s life-long

defence of the need for a plurality of thought and voices makes Arendt’s work

particularly timely, Ushpiz adds.


In Vita Activa, The Spirit Of Hannah Arendt, she hones in on Arendt’s early writings,

focusing in particular on her most famous work, Eichmann In Jerusalem, based on the

trial of Adolf Eichmann in 1961, for his role as an administrator supporting the

deportation and extermination of Jews during the Holocaust.


It was in this work that Arendt crystallised her theory about the “banality of evil”,

stemming from Eichmann’s assertion that he wasn’t guilty because he had simply been

carrying out orders. “I came to the whole thing because I was intrigued by the idea of

the banality of evil,” says Ushpiz. “The more I live in this world, the more I believe it is relevant.”


The documentary traces how Arendt’s thinking and writing grew out of her

experiences growing up in Germany, leaving the country during the rise of the Nazi

party and subsequently living a peripatetic life across Europe.


She touched down in Prague, Geneva and Paris, and was briefly interned by the

Nazis in France before fleeing to the US in 1941. This period in Arendt’s life resulted

in her writings on what it meant to be a refugee.


Her theory that stateless people find themselves “superfluous” to society remains as

relevant now as it did at the time of its formulation in the late 1940s.


Ushpiz’s film also touches on Arendt’s complex relationship with her philosophy

professor Martin Heidegger, who was later discovered to be a Nazi sympathiser.


“Her relationship with Heidegger was complicated,” says the director. “Researchers

have recently come across lectures he gave in 1933 and 1934 while he was the

rector of the University of Freiburg. He speaks in real Nazi language, it’s really



Vita Activa intercuts archival audio and video footage of Adolf Hitler and his military

chief Hermann Göring, 1930s Europe, refugee conveys, the horrors uncovered in

post-war Europe and the Eichmann trial with contemporary interviews with academics

who either knew Arendt or have studied her writings in depth.


Arendt’s words on the subject of being a refugee, for example, run over footage of

people being loaded into lorries, a soup kitchen for Jewish refugees in Paris in the

1930s and images of Hitler addressing his followers.


Where possible, Arendt’s story is told through her own words, either by an actress

reading her writings and letters, or through television interviews. “I did a lot of

interviews but decided in the end it was important for her to tell her own story,

through her own words, either in interview or her writing,” explains Ushpiz. “She

writes very emotionally, which is nice.”


Having spent five years researching, financing and producing the documentary,

Ushpiz says she would like to make a second feature that would examine Arendt’s

work in the final decade of her life, and its impact in the subsequent decades. “For

me,” concludes Ushpiz, “the work of her final years was in many ways even more


Veröffentlicht: 2017-03-13




Editions Kimé, Collection / Série : Philosophie en cours

Prix de vente au public (TTC) : 29 €

Veröffentlicht: 2017-02-15



Im November 2016 veröffentlichte der Piper Verlag eine ungekürzte und durchgesehene Taschenbuchausgabe von

Hannah Arendt, Denktagebuch, hrsg. von Ursula Ludz und Ingeborg Nordmann in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Hannah-Arendt-Institut, Dresden. 2 Bde., 1230 S. € 48,00.

Veröffentlicht: 2016-12-12

Hannah Arendt-Preis


Christian Teichmann ist Hannah-Arendt-Preisträger


Bremen, 15. September 2016


Der Hannah-Arendt-Preis für politisches Denken, der von der Stadt Bremen und der Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung vergeben wird, ist mit 10.000 Euro dotiert. Er wird an Personen verliehen, die mit einer mutigen Intervention das "Wagnis Öffentlichkeit" annehmen.
Der Preis wird am 2. Dezember 2016 um 18.00 Uhr im Bremer Rathaus überreicht.

Christian Teichmann hat den Preis für seine herausragenden Forschungen über die Geschichte und Strukturen der sowjetischen Herrschaft in Mittelasien unter Stalin erhalten. Er verfolgt die Institutionalisierung von Machtprozessen und ihr Scheitern. mehr
Veröffentlicht: 2016-11-08

Hannah Arendt in Kaliningrad

Veröffentlicht: 2016-10-10

Vient de paraître


Cités n°67, 2016

 Hannah Arendt politique

Avec un texte inédit « Apatridie »

Marie-Anne Lescourret, Présentation
Marie-Anne Lescourret et Christian Godin, La condition de l’inhumain
Michelle-Irène Brudny, Eichmann à Jérusalem ou la controverse interminable
Fabio Ciaramelli, Hannah Arendt et la portée politique de la loi
Jean-Marc Durand-Gasselin, Hannah Arendt « jeune conservatrice » : la lecture d’Habermas
Horst Mewes, L’action politique selon Hannah Arendt
Christina Schües et Pascal Delhom, Penser et agir
Isabelle Delpla, Pythie ou témoin ? Arendt, une vision datée de la justice internationale
Avishag Zafrani, Situations de l’animal laborans

Veröffentlicht: 2016-10-05
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