Spring 2016: Schedule of the Reading Group
Unless noted otherwise, the reading group meets Fridays, 2 - 3:30 pm, at the College Arts & Humanities Institute, 1211 E. Atwater Avenue.
Jan. 22: Prologue, pp. 1-6, Ch. I, “The Human Condition” pp. 7-21.
Jan. 29: Ch. II, “The Public and the Private Realm” (sections 4-6), pp. 22-49.
Feb. 5: Ch. II “The Public and the Private Realm” (sections 7-10), pp. 50-78.
Feb. 12: Ch. III “Labor” (sections 11-14), pp. 79-108.
Feb. 19: Ch. III “Labor” (sections 15-17), 109-35.
Feb. 26: Ch. IV “Work,” pp. 136-174.
Mar. 4: Ch. V “Action” (sections 24-29), pp. 175-211.
Mar. 11-18: No meeting (Spring Break).
Mar. 25: Ch. V “Action” (sections 30-34), pp. 212-247.
Apr. 1: No meeting.
Apr. 8: Ch. VI “The vita activa and the Modern Age” (sections 35-38), pp. 248-79.
Apr. 15: Ch. VI “The vita activa and the Modern Age” (sections 39-42), pp. 280-304.
Apr. 22: Ch. VI “The vita activa and the Modern Age” (sections 43-45), pp. 305-328.
Apr. 29: Open session.
May 5-6: Symposium
Amor Mundi: Thinking, Acting, Speaking in the World (Hannah Arendt and Her Legacy)
It may strike some as perverse to propose a common reading of Hannah Arendt’s The Human Condition (1958) under the aegis of a Center for Theoretical Inquiry. After all, the aim of that book and of Arendt’s work more generally is to throw a revolutionary challenge to the primacy of the vita contemplativa, or “theoretical inquiry.” And yet, as she states with characteristic ambitious humility, the intellectual aim of her project is “nothing more than to think what we are doing” (5). Thinking, Doing, Speaking are central concerns of the humanities and social sciences, and a consideration of Arendt’s understanding of these elements of the human condition seems perfectly suited for the cross-disciplinary forum of the Center.
A reading of her work on the heels of the previous reading groups on Hans Blumenberg’s Legitimacy of the Modern Age (where her response to Heidegger was often invoked at the accompanying symposium) and “Work” will contribute to a continued dialogue on the nature of politics, anthropology, creativity, and modernity—a dialogue that extends to the influence of Arendt’s thought in recent debates on biopolitics (Giorgio Agamben, Roberto Esposito), political theology (Julia Lupton, Bonnie Honnig), and a reimagining of the power of action of a non-sovereign self (Judith Butler, Adriana Cavarero).
The Reading Group constitutes the intellectual heart of the Center and predates the Center by many years. Here are some of the major texts the group has studied:
Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics.
Badiou, Being and Event.
Bergson, Matter and Memory.
Blumenberg,The Legitimacy of the Modern Age.
Cavell, The Claims of Reason.
Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe.
Deleuze, Cinema I; Difference and Repetition.
Foucault, The Hermeneutics of the Subject.
Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams.
Gadamer, Truth and Method.
Heidegger, Being and Time.
Husserl, The Crisis of European Sciences.
Merleau-Ponty, The Phenomenology of Perception; The Visible and the Invisible.
Plato, The Laws.
Rancière, The Names of History.
Zizek, The Puppet and the Dwarf.