Dezember 2019

Mo09Dez9:00Mo11:00Roger BerkowitzTotal Loneliness: Hannah Arendt and the Foundations of Totalitarianism

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Beginning in 1952 and continuing until 1955 when she published Elemente und Ursprünge totaler Herrschaft, Hannah Arendt wrote a series of essays in which she re-thought the conclusions of the first English-edition of her book The Origins of Totalitarianism.

At the center of these essays is her insight that totalitarianism as a radically new form of government required for its emergence a fundamentally new human experience. Arendt named this experience loneliness.

In his lecture Roger Berkowitz will offer an account of how it is that loneliness is the foundation of totalitarian government. More broadly, he will explore what might be called the „political implications of loneliness“ in the modern age.

Berkowitz is, together with Jerome Kohn (trustee of the Hannah Arendt Bluecher Literary Trust), the recipient of the 2019 Hannah Arendt Award for Political Thought from the Heinrich Böll Foundation. The award honors individuals who identify critical and unseen aspects of current political events and who are not afraid to enter the public realm by presenting their opinion in controversial political discussions. The jury praised Berkowitz’s merits as a constitutional theorist and for his work as director of the Arendt Center, a place where “students from all over the world are encouraged to learn to politically think and to study the writings of a political philosopher who never respected the restraints of philosophical thinking.”

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