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Hannah Arendt and the Uses of History
Imperialism, Nation, Race, and Genocide
Edited by Richard H. King and Dan Stone
292 pages, bibliog., index
ISBN 978-1-84545-361-9 $135.00/£99.00 hb Published (December 2007)
ISBN 978-1-84545-589-7 $29.95/£23.95 Pb Published (September 2008)
eISBN 978-0-85745-544-4 eBook
“Singling out particular contributions to this excellent collection is bound to come across as invidious.” · Patterns of Prejudice
“Although the contributors touch on a wide variety of themes in Arendt’s work, the volume focuses primarily on her accounts of modern imperialism and racism, attempting to situate Arendt’s analyses in relation to contemporary discussions of these issues. That focus is welcome, for this part of Arendt’s work is indeed of interest, even apart from the somewhat ambiguous place these phenomena occupy in her account of the antecedents to totalitarianism.” · European History Quarterly
“…an exceptional collection of essays…a thought-provoking and courageous volume.” · Journal of Genocide Research
“…a very important contribution to Arendt studies. Especially in the post-totalitarian world that is marked with genocides in Srebrenica and Rwanda, this collection offers a brilliant illustration of the richness of Arendt's thinking and its relevance to our present political world. …All in all, this collection is a must read for everyone who is interested in Arendt's thought, especially in her views on such issues as totalitarianism, nationalism, genocide, and race.” · H-Ideas
“Each essay prompted me to reread and rethink Arendt, and the collection is a notable addition to Arendt Studies.” · German Studies Review
“This book’s authors examine the perplexities in Arendt’s thesis from all angles...Richard King’s refined, synoptic essay ties together the book’s themes in an elegant reflection on Arendt’s definition of ‘the right to have rights’… Achieving breadth and keeping focus at the same time, the editors prove that we will not have leave of Arendt’s work for some time to come.” · Journal of American Studies
“Hannah Arendt and the Uses of History is a long overdue study of Arendt’s much cited but little understood writings on imperialism and genocide, race and nation. Too frequently treated as political philosopher alone, her historical work is subject here to sympathetic but critical appraisal, revealing at once its brilliant insights and its troubling blind spots. Elegant and erudite, this collection is a major contribution to Arendt scholarship.” · A. Dirk Moses
Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) first argued that there were continuities between the age of European imperialism and the age of fascism in Europe in The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951). She claimed that theories of race, notions of racial and cultural superiority, and the right of ‘superior races’ to expand territorially were themes that connected the white settler colonies, the other imperial possessions, and the fascist ideologies of post-Great War Europe. These claims have rarely been taken up by historians. Only in recent years has the work of scholars such as Jürgen Zimmerer and A. Dirk Moses begun to show in some detail that Arendt was correct.
This collection does not seek merely to expound Arendt’s opinions on these subjects; rather, it seeks to use her insights as the jumping-off point for further investigations – including ones critical of Arendt – into the ways in which race, imperialism, slavery and genocide are linked, and the ways in which these terms have affected the United States, Europe, and the colonised world.
Richard H. King is Professor (emeritus) of American Intellectual History at the University of Nottingham. He is the author of The Party of Eros (1972), A Southern Renaissance (1980), Civil Rights and the Idea of Freedom (1992), Race, Culture and the Intellectuals, 1940-1970 (2004), and has co-edited Dixie Debates (1995) with Helen Taylor.
Dan Stone is Professor of Modern History at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is the author of Breeding Superman: Nietzsche, Race and Eugenics in Edwardian and Interwar Britain (2002), Constructing the Holocaust: A Study in Historiography (2003), and Responses to Nazism in Britain, 1933-39: Before the War and Holocaust (2003).