Exile, Statelessness, and Migration: Playing Chess with History from Hannah Arendt to Isaiah Berlin

Friday, September 21, 2018  6:00pm The Heyman Center, Second Floor Common Room

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Launch and Panel Discussion of Exile, Statelessness, and Migration: Playing Chess with History from Hannah Arendt to Isaiah Berlin by Seyla Benhabib

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Exile, Statelessness, and Migration explores the intertwined lives, careers, and writings of a group of prominent Jewish intellectuals during the mid-twentieth century—in particular, Theodor Adorno, Hannah Arendt, Walter Benjamin, Isaiah Berlin, Albert Hirschman, and Judith Shklar, as well as Hans Kelsen, Emmanuel Levinas, Gershom Scholem, and Leo Strauss. Informed by their Jewish identity and experiences of being outsiders, these thinkers produced one of the most brilliant and effervescent intellectual movements of modernity.

Political philosopher Seyla Benhabib’s starting point is that these thinkers faced migration, statelessness, and exile because of their Jewish origins, even if they did not take positions on specifically Jewish issues personally. The sense of belonging and not belonging, of being “eternally half-other,” led them to confront essential questions: What does it mean for the individual to be an equal citizen and to wish to retain one’s ethnic, cultural, and religious differences, or perhaps even to rid oneself of these differences altogether in modernity? Benhabib isolates four themes in their works: dilemmas of belonging and difference; exile, political voice, and loyalty; legality and legitimacy; and pluralism and the problem of judgment.

Surveying the work of influential intellectuals, Exile, Statelessness, and Migration recovers the valuable plurality of their Jewish voices and develops their universal insights in the face of the crises of this new century.

Seyla Benhabib is the Eugene Meyer Professor of Political Science and Philosophy at Yale University. Her many books have been translated into more than fourteen languages, and include Dignity in Adversity, The Rights of Others, and The Claims of Culture (Princeton).

Participants

  • Author

    Seyla Benhabib

    Eugene Meyer Professor of Political Science & Philosophy

    Yale University

  • Speaker

    Nadia Urbinati

    Kyriakos Tsakopoulos Professor of Political Theory and Hellenic Studies

    Columbia University

  • Speaker

    Jeremy Waldron

    University Professor

    NYU School of Law

  • Moderator

    Bernard E.  Harcourt

    Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law and Director, Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought,

    Columbia University

  • Moderator

    Adam Tooze

    Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Professor of History

    Columbia University

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