Hannah Arendt Center Conferences
[Reopened! Call for Applications: Fall 2018 Student Workshop, “How to Change the World: Theories and Practices”]

Reopened! Call for Applications: Fall 2018 Student Workshop, “How to Change the World: Theories and Practices”

Monday, May 14, 2018 – Sunday, July 1, 2018 Arendt Center

With National Endowment for the Humanities / Hannah Arendt Center Distinguished Visiting Fellows Chiara Ricciardone, PhD, and Micah White, PhD

This event occurred on:  Mon. May 14 – Sun. July 1 – 11 pm

Workshop Description: 1 credit course
Whether we are campaigning on civil rights, environmental justice, refugee rights, or LGBTQIA and women’s rights, the first prerequisite to success is a theory of social change that guides the methods we employ as activists. The range of potential protest tactics is so plentiful—from direct action in the streets to silent prayerful vigils and self-organized worker cooperatives to electoral ballot initiatives—that every activist, whether consciously or not, relies on a theory of change to decide their actions. If the theory of change underlying our activism is false, then our protests are bound to fail. At the same time, social change is a constant and complex phenomenon, involving factors both within and beyond human control. Often, an unexamined set of assumptions govern—and limit—our attempts to make change. This minicourse intends to refresh and expand our thinking about activism by studying four different theories of change: voluntarism, structuralism, subjectivism, and theurgism. We will track these theories through case studies from the ancient Greek as well as the modern world, considering how each practice of protest, civil disobedience, or resistance understands the interplay between individual and world, natural and supernatural.  

In our final session, students will present campaign proposals that grow out of the course material. These proposals will be integrated into a final presentation for “Civil Disobedience and Citizenship,” the 11th Annual Conference of the Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College, October 11–12, 2018. Readings may include: Hannah Arendt, Aristotle, Michel Foucault, Leo Tolstoy, Micah White

(subject to change)
Time: TBA
Monday 9/24/2018
Wednesday 9/26/2018
Friday 9/28/2018
Monday 10/1/2018
Wednesday 10/3/2018
Wednesday 10/10/2018

INSTRUCTORS: National Endowment for the Humanities / Hannah Arendt Center Distinguished Visiting Fellows: Chiara Ricciardone, PhD, and Micah White, PhD

Raised in Egypt and Turkey, educated at Swarthmore (BA 2005) and Berkeley (PhD 2017), Chiara Ricciardone’s research interests range widely. Most of her work to date has focused on the ancient Greeks and critical theory; she is particularly fascinated by the political and formal problem that difference poses for human beings, and how it might be possible to think of difference without hierarchy. Sometimes she despairs of knowing anything whatsoever, and then she turns to activism and art. Ricciardone is at work on a book of autofiction that suggests the self itself is a fiction, and perhaps no longer a useful one. She currently serves as provost for the Activist Graduate School. Learn more about Chiara at chiararicciardone.net.

Micah White is a lifelong social activist known for cocreating Occupy Wall Street, a social movement that spread to 82 countries, while he was an editor of Adbusters magazine. Widely recognized as a pioneer of social activism, White was named one of the most influential young thinkers alive today by Esquire. His first book, The End of Protest: A New Playbook for Revolution, was published in 2016 by Knopf Canada, and the German edition, Die Zukunft der Rebellion, will be released in May 2018 by Blumenbar. White is the program director of Activist Graduate School. Learn more about Micah at micahmwhite.com.

1. Send a short written response to the following: name a protest (of any kind) and explain why it is a good example ofhow protest should ideally be.
2.  Send a 1–2 minute informal video introducing yourself and your reasons for wanting to take the course. Video should be shared as a link to either a Dropbox or Google Drive file, YouTube or Vimeo video, or similar (due to video sizes typically exceeding email limits).
3. Applications should be sent to Chiara Ricciardone at chiararicciardone@gmail.com 

Please note: seminar meetings will be filmed as part of a project to bring activist education to the wider world. Seminar participants must be willing to sign a media release form.