Thinking in Dark Times (Hardcover)

Hannah Arendt on Ethics and Politics

By Roger Berkowitz (Editor), Jeffrey Katz (Editor), Thomas Keenan (Editor)

Fordham University Press, 9780823230754, 299pp.

Publication Date: December 1, 2009

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (12/1/2009)

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Hannah Arendt is one of the most important political theorists of the twentieth century. In her works, she grappled with the dark events of that century, probing the nature of power, authority, and evil, and seeking to confront totalitarian horrors on their own terms. This book focuses on how, against the professionalized discourses of theory, Arendt insists on the greater political importance of the ordinary activity of thinking. Indeed, she argues that the activity of thinking is the only reliable protection against the horrors that buffeted the last century. Its essays explore and enact that activity, which Arendt calls the habit of erecting obstacles to oversimplifications, compromises, and conventions. Most of the essays were written for a conference at Bard College celebrating the 100th anniversary of Arendt's birth. Arendt left her personal library and literary effects to Bard, and she is buried in the Bard College cemetery. Material from the Bard archive--such as a postcard to Arendt from Walter Benjamin or her annotation in her copy of Machiavelli's The Prince--and images from her life are interspersed with the essays in this volume. The volume will offer provocations and insights to Arendt scholars, students discovering Arendt's work, and general readers attracted to Arendt's vision of the importance of thinking in our own dark times.

About the Author

Roger Berkowitz is the Director of the Hannah Arendt Center for Ethical and Political Thinking at Bard College, where he is also Assistant Professor of Human Rights and Political Studies. He recently edited (with Thomas Keenan and Jeffrey Katz) Thinking in Dark Times: Hannah Arendt on Ethics and Politics (Fordham). JEFFREY KATZ is Dean of Information Services and Director of Libraries at Bard College and Executive Director of the Hannah Arendt Center at Bard. THOMAS KEENAN is Director of the Human Rights Project and Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at Bard College. He is the author of Fables of Responsibility: Aberrations and Predicaments in Ethics and Politics.