Observing Justice: Trials and Judgments in Arendt, Kleist, and Kafka
Spring 2016 not offered
GRST 340, COL 340
Hannah Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem (written at Wesleyan's Center for Advanced Studies in 1962) is often reduced to the easily misunderstood phrase "the banality of evil." This seminar will seek to account for the explicit and implicit theoretical claims of Arendt's work. The course will be divided into two parts: In the first, we will explore in-depth Eichmann in Jerusalem and its controversial reception in conjunction with Arendt's evaluation of the faculty of judgment as elusive yet decisive in establishing a viable moral philosophy after Auschwitz. We will conclude our study of Arendt with her lectures on Kant's Critique of the Power of Judgment, a work that she treats not as Kant's aesthetics but rather as his (unwritten) political philosophy. The second part of the seminar will be dedicated to literary depictions of trials and/or texts that have themselves a trial-like structure. Our literary case studies include texts by Kleist, Kafka, and Peter Weiss. The ultimate purpose of the seminar is to study and critique procedural (and this includes literary and juridical) evaluative mechanisms that allow the truth of inhuman acts to come to light. Thus, we will examine the rules, procedures, and language games that are instrumental in making ineffable events appear.
|Gen Ed Area Dept:
|Course Format: Seminar
|Grading Mode: Graded
|Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (GRST-MN)