Course Description

ONLINE: Hannah Arendt was a Jew born in Germany just over a century ago. She immigrated to New York when the Nazis came to power, taught there at the New School for Social Research and wrote books and essays on how totalitarianism gets its footing in a society. She gained a wide readership after The New Yorker hired her to cover the 1961-62 Adolf Eichmann trial in Jerusalem. Her wise reflections are often cited today, and we will focus on how they speak to our own historical situation. We will discuss assigned readings from Arendt’s book “The Portable Hannah Arendt,” covering many topics, including how colonialism fostered totalitarianism, how conformism in a society works against thoughtfulness, how working has disappeared in favor of laboring and (very controversially) how American school desegregation has downsides. In this discussion-based course, students will gain insight into the threat to human freedom posed by totalitarianism and how it may be countered. | Facilitated discussion.

Max enrollment: 20.

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