New Leading Thinkers course on Hannah Arendt

The PACT Division of the EGS is very pleased to announce that the “Leading Thinkers” series will continue with a course on Hannah Arendt led by Professor Zeynep Gambetti.

Dates: March 17 – May 5, 2024
5 pm – 7:30pm (CET) / 11 am – 1:30pm (EST)

The purpose of this seminar is to critically examine key texts by Hannah Arendt, a sui generis thinker whose political thought defies classification. Our discussion will proceed in three moves. We will first identify the political and philosophical problems that inform Arendt’s oeuvre. Arendt’s conviction that Western political thought fails to adequately measure up to 20th century challenges (namely, totalitarian domination, the banality of evil, the difficulties of understanding) rests on the assumption that our conceptual field is partially responsible for the calamities we are facing.

It is of vital importance for Arendt to “think without banisters,” that is, without leaning upon the tradition of political thought. This tremendous task, which Arendt espouses throughout her intellectual life, implies that a new problematic would have to be developed. Reinvigorating conceptual categories that have been cast into oblivion by the tradition or inventing concepts where none can be retrieved from the past are part and parcel of this enterprise that has made Arendt so valuable for critical scholars. Our second move, then, will consist of exploring Arendt’s radical re-signification of concepts such as action, freedom, power, revolution, thinking and judging. The last move will enable us to evaluate the merits as well as pitfalls of some of the distinctions Arendt makes (notably, the private/public and social/political distinctions), while situating her thought within more contemporary problems and dilemmas. We will reflect on what accounts for the “loss of the world” in the Arendtian sense and how this feeds into fascistic tendencies not only in the troubled times Arendt was living in, but also in our very own.

Zeynep Gambetti is Associate Professor of Political Theory at Boğazici University. She obtained her Ph.D. at the University of Paris VII in 1999. Her work focuses on collective agency, ethics, and public space. She has carried out extensive research on the transformation of the conflict between the Turkish state and the Kurdish movement, with particular emphasis on space as a vector of relationality. She collaborated with Joost Jongerden to edit the special issue of The Journal of Balkan and Near Eastern Studies on the spatial dimensions of the Kurdish question in Turkey. She has also published several theoretical articles and book chapters on Hannah Arendt’s political thought and subjectivity, in particular, “The Agent Is the Void! From the Subjected Subject to the Subject of Action,” in Rethinking Marxism (2005), and “Conflict, ‘Communication’ and the Role of Collective Action in the Formation of Public Spheres” in Publics, Politics and Participation: Locating the Public Sphere in the Middle East and North Africa (edited by Seteney Shami, SSRC Publications, 2009). She is the co-editor of Rhetorics of Insecurity: Belonging and Violence in the Neoliberal Era (with Marcial Godoy-Anativia, New York University Press, 2013), The Kurdish issue in Turkey: A Spatial Perspective (with Joost Jongerden, London/New York, Routledge, 2015), and Vulnerability in Resistance: Politics, Feminism, Theory (with Judith Butler and Leticia Sabsay, Duke University Press, 2016)



To receive more information and to apply, please contact Dr. Nemanja Mitrović ( ).