Again this week, we stray from the discipline of history good to gather insights on perpetrators of genocide from the disciplines of critical theory (a mix of philosophy and political theory) and anthropology. The methods and concepts utilized by the two authors we will discuss this week offer starkly contrasting conclusions on this troublesome question.
Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) was a secular German Jewish political theorist. She studied philosophy under Martin Heidegger and received a Ph.D. from the University of Heidelberg, but was unable to teach in Germany because she was Jewish. She escaped to the US from German-occupied France in 1941. She was the first woman ever to teach a course at Princeton University. In the early 1960s, she covered the trial of Adolf Eichmann for the New Yorker and compiled those reports into the book Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil in 1963.
What we have in the course pack are excerpts from the book.
1. How does Arendt present Eichmann and his trial in the first three sections" (pp. 91-99)?
2. How does the author describe the controversy surrounding her book in the "Postscript" section (pp. 99-109)? What was at stake for her critics? How does she respond to them?
3. In what ways is Arendt critical of the ability of the crimi...