Observing Justice: Trials and Judgments in Arendt, Kleist, and Kafka|
Fall 2018 not offered
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)
Hannah Arendt, EICHMANN IN JERUSALEM: A REPORT ON THE BANALITY OF EVIL (ISBN-13: 978-0140187656)
Hannah Arendt, LECTURES ON KANT'S POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY (ISBN-13: 978-0226025957)
Hannah Arendt, RESPONSIBILITY AND JUDGMENT (ISBN-13: 978-0805211627)
Peter Weiss, THE INVESTIGATION, trans. Alexander Gross (ISBN-13: 978-0714503011)
Franz Kafka, THE TRIAL, trans. Breon Mitchell (ISBN-13: 978-0805209990)
Heinrich von Kleist, SELECTED WRITINGS, trans. David Constantine (ISBN-13: 978-0872207431)
|Examination and Assignments: |
Two ten-page papers or four five-page papers (student's choice)
|Additional Requirements and/or Comments: |
Interested students: In addition to submitting the POI request, please e-mail Professor Plass at firstname.lastname@example.org, detailing your background and interest in literary studies and/or political philosophy; if applicable, discuss your specific interest in Arendt, Kleist, or Kafka.
Attendance at the scholarly conference on Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem, September 26-28, 2013, is required. Attendance at weekly CFH lectures is expected.