Born to a German-Jewish family in Hanover in 1906, Hannah Arendt became one of the 20th century’s most discerning political thinkers. Forced to leave Germany in 1933, Arendt lived in Paris for the next eight years working for various Jewish refugee charities. In 1941 she was forced to flee once again, and arrived later that year in the United States. She became a US citizen in 1951 and remained there until her death in 1975.
Her work is widely acknowledged as having a notable impact beyond the borders of the university. Her two most-cited texts, The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951) and The Human Condition (1958), explore the meaning of action, politics, and beginning in the global shadow of 20th century violence. Arendt assumed a prominent position in public debate following the publication of her report on the Eichmann trials in Jerusalem in 1961 where she famously coined the frequently misinterpreted notion of ‘the banality of evil.’ Arendt remained a public figure throughout her career, maintaining a rich circle of literary, philosophical and political interlocutors. Her work reflected the historical events of her time and remains prescient in its application to current debate.
Arendt’s political and philosophical thought continues to inform and inspire scholars, decades after her death. The Arendt Circle encourages critical engagement with Arendt’s contributions, as well as her controversies.