Citizenship and Civil Disobedience
Thursday, October 11, 2018 – Friday, October 12, 2018
Olin Humanities Building
10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Watch the full conference webcast here.
Answer one of these questions in a format listed below and you could win $500!
Must Disobedience in Democracy be Civil and Non-Violent?
Is Civil Disobedience an Exemplary Act of Citizenship?
What is an Exemplary Act of Civil Disobedience and Citizenship in Our Time?
The Student Art & Opinion Contest will be held during our fall conference, "Citizenship and Civil Disobedience." The author of the winning response will receive $500 and have the response featured on the Hannah Arendt Center blog. If appropriate, the response will also be printed in HA: The Journal of the Hannah Arendt Center. Students may attend the conference live at Bard College or view the talks via live webcast.
The Questions: (answer one of the following)
- Essay (maximum 1,500 words)
- Multimedia blog (maximum 1,500 words)
- Video essay
- GoAnimate (maximum 5 minutes)
- Xtranormal animations (maximum 5 minutes)
- Digital map
- Or other related formats.
5. Email completed entries to firstname.lastname@example.org by no later than noon on Tuesday, October 30th, 2018.
Responses will be judged blindly by a panel of judges from the Arendt Center, including Roger Berkowitz and Samantha Hill. Winning responses should be bold, creative, and persuasive.
Getting HereBard College's main campus is located in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, on the east bank of the Hudson River, about 90 miles north of New York City and 220 miles southwest of Boston. The Conference takes place in Olin Auditorium in the Olin Humanities Building (C3 on the Bard Map).
Olin Concert Hall
35 Henderson Cir Dr
Annandale-On-Hudson, NY 12504
AccommodationsA comprehensive list of nearby hotels, inns, and B & B’s may be found on the Bard webpage, HERE. We recommend booking your accommodations and restaurant dining as soon as possible. The Best Western Plus in Kingston, NY offers a special discounted rate during the Hannah Arendt Center 2-day Conference. To make reservations using the Bard discount, you must call the hotel direct at 845-338-0400, Monday–Friday from 9AM–5PM and ask for the “Hannah Arendt Bard College Discount.” We recommend booking your accommodations as early as possible.
Parking Is FreeThere are two main parking lots; One across from Olin and one south of Olin Hall -- Please park in either lot. Additionally, you may also park in the gravel lot across from the Stevenson Gymnasium off of Annandale Road. Please click HERE to see venue map. The black objects represent Parking Lots.
ReadingHannah Arendt, "Civil Disobedience" in Crises of the Republic
Hannah Arendt, "Thinking and Moral Considerations" in Responsibility and Judgment
Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience
Theda Skocpol and Vanessa Williamson, The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism
Elizabeth Price Foley, The Tea Party: Three Principles
Chantal Mouffe, The "end of politics" and the challenge of right-wing populism
Micah White, The End of Protest
Mark Bray, Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook
Theda Skocpol and Leah Gose, Resist, Persist, and Transform
Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail
Ghandi, Hind Swaraj
Uday Mehta, "On Satyagraha"
Must Dissent in Democracy be Civil and Non-Violent?
LOCATION: Bard College, Campus Center MPR
A public debate in conjunction with the annual Hannah Arendt Center Conference. This debate will feature both the Bard and West Point debate teams. Co-sponsored by the Bard Debate Union, The Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and Humanities, the Center for Civic Engagement, and the Bard-West Point Exchange.
Free & Open to the Public
ONLINE REGISTRATION IS CLOSED
On-site Registration will be available, October 11th and 12th.
Conference FeesThe admission fee for this two-day conference is a flat rate (both days) of $150.00 per person. Admission is FREE for:
- Members of the Hannah Arendt Center (see additional member benefits below)
- Bard College staff and faculty
- Bard College Students (Matriculated Students - does not include LLI)
MembersMembers receive complimentary admission for yourself and a guest. If you would like to become a member, or renew a membership, please click HERE. If you are unsure if your membership is current, please contact the Hannah Arendt Center at email@example.com. Memberships are valid for one year.
LunchLunch Orders CLOSED
If you missed online registration to reserve lunch, here's a list of local food options available and open to all guests:
Thursday, October 11
12:00 pm Roundtable: Civil Resistance
1:00 pm Lunch
Lessons from the Resistance
Moderators: Theda Skocpol and Rebecca Saletan
Location: OLIN 201
Civics and Civil Disobedience: Responsibility to the World
Moderators: Susan Oberman and Yasemin Sari
Location: OLIN 204
3:15 Lecture: Activism through Art
4:00 pm Break
4:30 pm Where do we go from here?
And Bard students enrolled in the fall 2018 workshop, "How to Change the World: Theories and Practices"
5:30 pm Whistle-blowing as Civil Disobedience: Leaks In the Era of Trump and the Deep State
6:30 pm Wine and Cheese Reception, Olin Atrium
Friday, October 12
Workshop: Political Protest
Moderators: Micah White and Chiara Ricciardone
Location: OLIN 204
9:30 am Welcome: Leon Botstein
9:45 am Violent and Non-violent Protest
11:30 am Organizing from the Ground
1:15 pm (OPTIONAL) Breakout Sessions
The Radical Left in the Age of Trump
Moderators: Jonathan Kay and Judy Pepenella
Location: OLIN 204
2:00 pm A Politics of Radical Democratic Citizenship
3:00 pm MLK and the Legacy of Civil Disobedience in America
6:00 pm *SPECIAL PERFORMANCE: PRAYERS OF THE PEOPLE
Standing Room Only Tickets will be available day of, first come first served.
2018 marks the 50th Anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Prayers of the People is a secular liturgical performance of Martin Luther King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail. This participatory ritual/performance appropriates the structure of an Episcopal liturgy and brings to life the words of Dr King written in 1963 while in captivity as a response to a joint letter from eight religious leaders urging him to stop disrupting the peace. Conceived by Kenyon Victor Adams (little ray) and directed by Bill T. Jones. Audience participation(chanting of text and following directions to stand, sit, kneel to the best of your ability) is strongly encouraged. Co-presented by New York Live Arts. Location: Chapel of Holy Innocents, Bard College [map]
Speakers(as of June 2018)
Kenyon Victor Adams
Professor Berkowitz is an interdisciplinary scholar, teacher, and writer. His interests stretch from Greek and German philosophy to legal history and from the history of science to images of justice in film and literature. He is the author of The Gift of Science: Leibniz and the Modern Legal Tradition; coeditor of Thinking in Dark Times: Hannah Arendt on Ethics and Politics; editor of Revenge and Justice, a special issue of Law, Culture, and the Humanities; and a contributing editor to Rechtsgeschichte. His essays have appeared in numerous academic journals. Roger Berkowitz received his B.A. from Amherst College; J.D. from Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley; and Ph.D. from UC Berkeley.
Dr. Nelly Ben Hayoun
Her various roles include Chief of Experiences at WeTransfer, Designer of Experiences at the SETI (search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Institute, advisor to the United Nations Virtual Reality Labs, Research Director at Brooklyn based design Institute A/D/O and advisory board member at AIGA (American Institute for Graphic Arts) . Dr. Ben Hayoun currently splits her time between London, Amsterdam and New York City.
Christopher W. Schmidt
Professor Schmidt is the author of The Sit-Ins: Protest and Legal Change in the Civil Rights Era (University of Chicago Press, 2018). He is currently working on a new book project, Civil Rights: An American History, which examines how Americans have struggled over the meaning of civil rights from the Civil War through today. VIEW MORE >>
Humanities at Bard College. Her main interests are in Ancient Greek and Latin pastoral and Ovid, English Renaissance, French 18th and 19th century, and critical race theory. Annie is working on a book-length project, “Race and the
Pastoral.” She has presented portions of this work in progress at the CUNY Grad Center’s conference on the Pastoral, Si Canimus Silvas, the Kelly Writer’s House (Penn), at the Center for African-American Poetics at the University of
Pittsburgh, and, this fall, to Classics graduate students and faculty at Princeton. Annie also works as a conceptual artist, and her work has appeared at the Whitney Museum and the Witte de With in Rotterdam, NL as part of the YAM
Collective. Annie founded and directs the Difference and Media Project at Bard College, an intersectional thinktank on difference, aesthetics, and politics.
Renata Stih & Frieder Schnock
Thomas Chatterton Williams
Citizenship and Civil Disobedience
A Conference Sponsored by
The Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College
Thursday and Friday, Oct. 11-12, 2018
From antifa, Occupy, #metoo, Black Lives Matters, and sanctuary cities, to the Tea Party, Patriots, #fakenews, and fundamentalist bakers in Colorado, the tradition of American civil disobedience is being reinvigorated as form of mass political citizenship. The rise in civil disobedience is a sign of a revolutionary situation. But revolutionary situations rarely lead to revolution. More often they lead to counter revolution or to nothing at all.
"'As soon as several inhabitants of the United States have taken up an opinion or a feeling which they wish to promote in the world,' or have found some fault they wish to correct, 'they look out for mutual assistance, and as soon as they have found one another out, they combine. From that moment, they are no longer isolated men but a power seen from afar, whose actions serve for an example and whose language is listened to.' It is my contention that civil disobedients are nothing but the latest form of voluntary association, and that they are thus quite in tune with the oldest traditions of the country." - Hannah Arendt, On Civil Disobedience (citing Alexis de Tocqueville)
Civil disobedience succeeds when it expresses new ideas that inspire the majority. Arendt criticized the student revolutionaries of the 1960s because they lacked new ideas that could transform the revolutionary situation into a political revolution. Without ideas, the violence of so-called revolutionaries is nothing more than protest. The creation of a new meaningful politics is the challenge of movements like Black Lives Matter, the Resistance, and the Tea Party. To become revolutionary political movements, these associations must imagine a more legitimate and just world.
The Arendtian tradition of citizenship and civil disobedience involves not individual acts of conscience, but political movements that mobilize organized minorities. Civil disobedience is an act of citizenship by which minorities can change the minds of majorities. Thus, disobedient minorities—those groups who collectively dissent from majority opinion—are not traitors or rebels, but are part of the fabric of democratic government.
Civil disobedience can be uncivil. But Arendt knew that being an active citizen is dangerous. She famously wrote, “Whoever entered the political realm had first to be ready to risk his life, and too great a love for life obstructed freedom, was a sure sign of slavishness. Courage therefore became the political virtue par excellence.” As dangerous as political action is, it is also the lifeblood of democratic political change.
The outbreak of civil disobedience today manifests the fraying of a consensus around questions of economic and racial equality as well as social discrimination, immigration, and the uses of American power abroad. So many various minorities are dissenting from the established way of doing things that we ask whether there is still something that holds our diverse and divergent nation together. In raising the questions of citizenship and civil disobedience, we ask if and how a new democratic American ideal can emerge.
This inquiry into the power of political dissent to unify a plurality animates the Hannah Arendt Center’s 11th Annual Conference, “Citizenship and Civil Disobedience.” Our conference will consider the following questions:
- Is civil disobedience an exemplary act of citizenship?
- Why is citizen activism emerging across all parts of the political spectrum?
- Can civil disobedience help reunite majority opinion around common truths?
- Is civil disobedience usable by dissidents on both the left and the right?
- Are we today in a revolutionary situation?
- Should violence be used in civil disobedience?
- Does democracy require civility?
REGISTRATION IS CLOSED.
On-site Registration will be available.