What Will the Project Do?
Small groups of 4-6 people will meet (on Zoom) to further explore Arendt’s work, and to address additional questions that reading Arendt raises: What are others taking away from the readings? How do they apply what they are reading? Have their perspectives changed? Does reading Arendt impact their actions?
The weekly 90-minute VRG sessions do not allow time for everyone to speak, nor to hear what each attendee brings to the discussion, especially since the growth of the VRG during the Covid-19 pandemic. Dialogue groups will supplement the VRG by providing a space where everyone is given an opportunity to speak and be heard. The dialogue groups would be considered public space—confidentiality is not applicable. Speaking and being heard aligns with Arendt’s notion of appearance in public as an exercise of the most basic human right, and can be seen, despite the small numbers, as an experience in plurality.
What is "Leaderless Dialogue?"
The model used here is rooted in the concept of good will: “to reveal and to listen as the primary condition for all human intercourse…” cited by Arendt as the core of Jaspers’ work. Participants engage in the dialogue based on a determination that good will is present, and with the agreement to raise the issue and ask the group to address it, if anyone feels it is not.
- The purpose of the group is to further explore Arendt’s work and provide space for group members to share Arendt’s impact on their thinking and actions.
- Participants would adhere to the concept of good will as the underpinning of dialogue:
- Speak your truth and respect others
- Stand your ground and stay open to the influence of others
- Speak to be understood and listen to understand
- Each group chooses its meeting times and topics
How to Join a HAC Dialogue Group
- Participants will be connected to others by e-mail to determine initial meeting time.
- Questions about or requests for support regarding logistical and/or process issues that arise in the groups can be directed to Susan Oberman. Contact her at: email@example.com or 434-806-4116.
Susan Oberman has been a member of the Hannah Arendt Center and the Virtual Reading Group for the past 5 years. Having studied and engaged in dialogue for 50 years both professionally and personally, she is a proponent of dialogue as a means to hear from those less likely to speak up in discussions, and as a method for addressing conflict.
Susan Oberman was certified as a mediator in New York in 1987 and in Virginia in 1995. She established Common Ground Negotiation Services in 1999. Her approach to mediation, group facilitation, and negotiation coaching is based on the Sustainable Knowledge Model of Norm- Educating Mediation. Taken from the research on sustainable development, this model is grounded in the effort to build community by identifying the passing down of knowledge as the key to sustaining communities. Susan brings over 30 years’ experience and scholarship to her work with individuals, families, and community groups. She offers professional workshops for mediators, and a variety of interactive workshops for those dealing with conflict in everyday life. She sees conflict as an opportunity—to find clarity about the issues and to determine what values are at stake--rather than something to be avoided. For more information see www.commongroundnegotiation.com