Hannah Arendt: Violence, Happiness, and Freedom
New York, NY 10027
Two fundamental undercurrents flow throughout Hannah Arendt’s writing: attention to the qualities and conditions of human freedom and caution about what she termed “tyrannical thinking.” Arendt worked through these foundational concepts in a series of essays from the 1950’s to her death in the mid-1970’s. These essays—previously unpublished and unavailable—include “The Broken Thread of Tradition,” “Law and Power,” “Authority in the Twentieth Century,” “Action and the Pursuit of Happiness,” and “The Freedom to Be.” Each offers both a well-grounded introduction to Hannah Arendt’s philosophy and a glimpse into Arendt’s final and incomplete projects. In this course, students will explore Arendt’s perennial concerns with violence, happiness, and freedom in order to ask: What does freedom mean in the United States? Is the United States by nature a violent society? Can we separate happiness from accumulation, labor, and work? The essays will be supplemented with key selections from Arendt’s manuscripts, essays, and correspondence.
Course ScheduleThursday, 6:30-9:30pm
July 12 — August 02, 2018