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Hannah Arendt

Hannah Arendt, German author, political scientist. Recipient award National Institute Arts and Letters, 1954; Lessing Preis, Hamburg, 1959; Freud preis Deutsche Akademic fûr Sprache und Dichtung, 1967. Guggenheim fellow, 1952-1953. Rockefeller fellow, 1959-1960, 69-70.

Background

  • Arendt, Hannah was born on October 14, 1906 in Hannover, Germany. Daughter of Paul and Martha (Cohn) Arendt.

  • Education

    • Bachelor of Arts, Königsberg Pr., 1924. Student universities Marburg, Freiburg. Doctor of Philosophy., Heidelberg U. (Germany), 1928.

      H.L.D., Bard College, 1959, Goucher College, 1960. Honorary degree Smith College, 1966, York University, Toronto, 1968, Loyola University, Chicago, 1970, Yale, 1971, Princeton, Notre Dame, 1972.

    Career

    • Came to the United States, 1941, naturalized, 1951. Social worker, Paris, France, 1934-1940. Research director Conference on Jewish Relations, 1944-1946.

      Chief editor Schocken Books, Inc., 1946-1948. Executive director Jewish Cultural Reconstrn., New York City, 1949-1952. Visiting professor University of California at Berkeley, 1955, Princeton, 1959, Columbia, 1960, others.

      Professor University of Chicago, 1963-1967. University professor New School for Social Research, New York City, 1967-1975.

    Works

    • The Origins of Totalitarianism
    • The Human Condition
    • Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil

    Views

    Hannah Arendt was a complex and wide-ranging thinker whose work cannot easily be summarized. She was a critic of modern mass society which, with its tendency to atomization, alienation, anomie and diffusion of responsibility, was fertile ground for what she called ‘totalitarianism’, in which individual human life becomes meaningless and freedoms are eroded. To counteract this tendency she advocated the separation of public life from social and economic life.

    She looked back to the Greek polis and, to a lesser extent, the early United States of America as models for what public life should be. In these societies individual citizens sought to excel in service to the community, and authority was vested in institutions to which they were committed. Arendt’s ideas have been extensively discussed and they have been widely influential.

    Her critics have, however, doubted their philosophical underpinning. One commentator questions her identification of the broad notion of ‘the public’ with the comparatively narrow notion of ‘the political'. Without that identification it is not so clear that political action is as central a part of a proper human life as Arendt maintained.

    Membership

    Fellow American Academy Arts and Sciences (Emerson-Thoreau medal 1969). Member American Academy Political Science, American Society Political and Legal Philosophy, National Institute Arts and Letters.

    Connections

    • Married Heinrich Bluecher, 1940 (deceased).
    • father: Paul Arendt
    • mother: Martha (Cohn) Arendt
    • spouse: Heinrich Bluecher
    Hannah Arendt
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    Born October 14, 1906
    Died December 4, 1975
    (aged 69)
    Nationality
    Ethnicity:
    • 1941 - 1945
      teacher, writer
      United States
    • 1963 - 1967
      teacher, University of Chicago
      Chicago, United States