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2015 – Hannah Arendt Workshop

Remembrance—Imagination— | Referring Back while “Going Further” with Hannah Arendt

Call for Papers |Graduate Student Workshop |Vanderbilt University | March 13-14, 2015
Keynote Dialogue | Barbara Hahn and Thomas Wild

“Re-presentation, making present what is actually absent, is the mind’s unique gift.” (The Life of the Mind / Thinking 76)

The focus of this workshop is to investigate concepts inherent to the mental activities of Thinking— Willing—Judging in the works of Hannah Arendt. According to Arendt, imagination is that which allows us to “make present what is absent” in every act of remembrance—in every act of thinking. The imagination not only enables conceptualization of the ‘invisibles’ on the fringe of our perception, but also transforms the invisibles to be stored in the mind, remembered, and recalled from the memory. Both remembrance, which makes the absent past present, and imagination, which pushes us to “‘go further’ toward the understanding of things that are always absent”, reveal meaning.

In this workshop we hope to address what happens in the presence and the absence of thought. What implications, both grave and beautiful, do these thinking processes hold: for language, philosophy, art, politics, religion—for life, for death. Specifically, how do Arendt’s notions of imagination and remembrance interact with the two other mental activities: willing and judging? What is the relationship between language and the act of speaking? Furthermore, who is speaking to and with whom, and how do we situate Arendt’s notions of imagination and remembrance in the larger philosophical, literary, and political discourses. What necessitates this focus in our world? Where do imagination and remembrance facilitate and hinder action within the context of

freedom, identity, natality, violence, revolution … love?

The hope of the workshop is that collective memory and intellect can foster productive communication on our individual “thought-experiments”. We welcome proposals for talks lasting 20-25 minutes, which would either be read aloud or presented extemporaneously.

Please submit a 250 word abstract to by January 6th, 2015. Include your name, departmental affiliation, and contact information, as well as any equipment needs (technical or otherwise). The conference will be conducted in English, although some German papers may be included; abstracts in either language will be accepted.