VRG Spring Series
From the publisher: A work of striking originality, The Human Condition is in many respects more relevant now than when it first appeared in 1958. In her study of the state of modern humanity, Hannah Arendt considers humankind from the perspective of the actions of which it is capable. The problems Arendt identified then—diminishing human agency and political freedom, the paradox that as human powers increase through technological and humanistic inquiry, we are less equipped to control the consequences of our actions—continue to confront us today. This new edition, published to coincide with the sixtieth anniversary of its original publication, contains Margaret Canovan’s 1998 introduction and a new foreword by Danielle Allen.
April 9 - Work: The Durability of the World; Reification; Instrumentality and Animal Laborans; Instrumentality and Homo Faber 136-158
April 16 - Work: The Exchange Market; The Permanence of the World and the Work of Art 159-174
April 23 - Action: The Disclosure of the Agent in Speech and Action; The Web of Relationships and the Enacted Stories ; The Frailty of Human Affairs; 175-191
April 30 - Action: The Greek Solution; Power and the Space of Appearance; Homo Faber and the Space of Appearance 192-211
May 7 - Action: The Labor Movement; The Traditional Substitution of Making for Acting; 212-229
May 14 - Action: The Process Character of Action; Irreversibility and the Power to Forgive; Unpredictability and the Power of Promise 230-247
The Vita Activa and the Modern Agee
May 21 - World Alienation, The Discovery of the Archimedean Point, 248-267
May 28 - Universal versus Natural Science, The Rise of the Cartesian Doubt, Introspection and the Loss of Common Sense, 268-284
June 4 - Thought and the Modern World View, The Reversal of Contemplation and Action, The Reversal within the Vita Activa and the Victory of Homo Faber 285-304
June 11 - The Defeat of Homo Faber and the Principle Happiness, Life as the Highest Good 305-319
June 18 - The Victory of the Animal Laborans 320-326
In the VRG but want more?
The Hannah Arendt Center Dialogue Project gathers smaller groups of readers to further explore and discuss texts from the Virtual Reading Group. Participation in the VRG is free for HAC members.
Participation is Free for HAC Members and Bard Students
If you're not a member yet, join the Hannah Arendt Center and click "yes" when asked if you'd like to participate. Once you're signed up, you'll receive emails with all the information you need to attend the upcoming VRG session. All sessions are recorded and made available to members on our Youtube channel.
How the Virtual Reading Group Works
We read one book or collection of essays over a few months several times a year. Sessions are generally held every other Friday at 1pm Eastern Time. To prepare, we read selections that are between 20-50 pages. The group moves slowly to allow for close readings.
See the Virtual Reading Group in Action
The Virtual Reading Group is a lively discussion based on a close reading of selected works by Hannah Arendt. Using a teleconferencing platform, Roger Berkowitz and Samantha Hill take turns leading groups of 30 to 60 members through selected chapters.
What Participants Are Saying
"That Roger is willing and able to put forth the effort to expand this work beyond the boundary's of academia is fortunate for us and important in the world." —Harold Bush
"The ability to download the sessions afterwards is invaluable for me keeping up with the group. I cannot always participate in session because of the time difference." —Yana Canteloupe
"I applaud you to invite people from around the world to study Hannah Arendt's work with Roger. That we can all connect and participate, it's simply wonderful!" —Gertrud Lawrance
"I've been reading Hannah Arendt for the past few years and this is the first opportunity I've had to hear her work discussed - It was exhilarating!" —Rhea Pretsell
"I think just the fact that is exists is the best thing. It is an honor to sit with such engaged and informed people sharing an interest in Arendt. It was clear from our last meeting in December that HAC has given much thought about ways to continue and I'm happy to work along next year with those proposals." —Donna Weeks
The Virtual Reading Group began with Arendt’s The Human Condition over a 12 month period. We then read and discussed her essay “We Refugees”, along with the entirety of Between Past and Future; "Reflections on Little Rock" from Responsibility and Judgment, Crises of the Republic, and On Revolution. We also completed a 13-week, 10-session series discussing The Origins of Totalitarianism.