PSCI 339
Politics in Dark Times: Hannah Arendt Fall 2017 Division II; Writing-Intensive;
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Hannah Arendt’s writings bear witness to some of the darkest moments in the history of politics. Arendt lived through–and reflected deeply upon–the rise of totalitarianism (she was interred for a time in a Vichy-France refugee camp) and the detonation of the first atomic bombs. She was an incisive critic of capitalist exploitation and a prescient observer of the destructive potential of early developments in genetic engineering. Yet, in the face of these horrors, Arendt never lost her faith in political action as a way to express and renew what she called “the love of the world.” In this tutorial, we will investigate what Arendt’s vision of politics stands to offer to contemporary struggles to understand and transform the gloomiest aspects of the political present. Through writing and discussion, we will unpack the meaning and debate the relevance of two of her major works–The Origins of Totalitarianism and The Human Condition–and other essays, articles, and excerpts. We will also consider secondary sources that use Arendt’s ideas to illuminate contemporary problems of environmentalism, human rights, and race.
The Class: Type: tutorial
Limit: 10
Expected: 8
Class#: 1646
Requirements/Evaluation: five 5-page papers; five 2-page responses; a final revision of a prior paper; participation
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis
Prerequisites: a prior course in political theory, philosophy, or critical theory, or permission of the instructor
Enrollment Preference: Political Theory concentrators, Political Science majors
Distributions: Division II; Writing-Intensive;
Attributes: PHIL Related Courses; PSCI Political Theory Courses;

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