In response to news that Howard University is disbanding its Classics Department, Cornell West reminds us that Frederick Douglas and the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. were inspired and nurtured by the classics. West argues that the attack on the classics is an attack on the soul and symptom the moral and spiritual rot of American culture.
In The Human Condition, Hannah Arendt laid out her concept of the polis — literally, an ancient Greek city state, but defined more broadly in Webster’s as “a state or society especially when characterized by a sense of community” — as a departure from the ancient understanding of the term...
That politicians lie is hardly news. Politics and truth, Hannah Arendt reminds us, have never been on good terms. "Lies have always been regarded as necessary and justifiable tools not only of the politician's or the demagogue's but also of the statesman's trade." And yet, Arendt raises the question of "what injury political power is capable of inflicting upon truth."
Conor Friedersdorf profiles Hannah Arendt Center NEH Fellow Thomas Chatterton Williams for The Atlantic. Looking at Self-Portrait in Black and White: Unlearning Race, Friedersdorf explores the ways in which the work of Chatterton Williams moves from personal experience. What ensues is a thoughtful engagement with a must read work that strikes out against the ideologically driven politics of our time.
Li-Young Lee describes poetry as an utterance on the ‘dying breath’ and considers the distinct physiologies of exhalation and inhalation. For Lee, the exhaling or dying breath is foundational to the poet’s work and therefore, in Baldwin’s expansive sense of poetry, the work of all artists. I see a connection between Lee’s proposal of the dying breath as the foundation for all poetic...
In the final chapters of Eichmann in Jerusalem, Hannah Arendt worries that the very strength of the Israeli Court in its trial of Adolf Eichmann—its fairness and its fidelity to law—prevented the court from understanding that Eichmann’s unprecedented acts required a political rather than a legal response. Eichmann himself argued that if he were guilty, it was of “aiding and abetting” in the commission of horrific crimes, that he himself had not...
I am the person who invited Batya Ungar-Sargon, the Opinion Editor of the Forward, to participate in a recent conference hosted by the Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College, a conference where she contends in a column published Oct. 12 that she was protested for being Jewish and, as a result, “couldn’t proceed” with her talk.
Josh Rogin in the Washington Post asked readers to choose the public figures they would most like to hear comment on our present era. Tanner Greer published his answer: Hannah Arendt. What Greer welcomes above all in Arendt is her independence. That she approaches every issue fresh. And that before you read what she writes, you don’t know what she will be arguing or how she will get there.