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The Roots of Crisis

Interrupting Arendt's Radical Critique

Nica Siegel

Although Hannah Arendt is often described as a radical thinker, this article argues that such a characterisation has occluded the question of what 'radicality' might mean within the particular horizon of Arendt's thought. While the battle over Arendt's legacy is fought on terms that oppose the radical to the conservative, Arendt herself is engaged in a different struggle, namely the opposition of the radical and the banal as it emerges in Eichmann in Jerusalem (1963). This article will investigate this tension and Arendt's response to its emergence. Beginning with an account of radicality in relation to Arendt's work on crisis in Between Past and Future (1961) before turning towards the interruption of Eichmann and 'the banality of evil', this article will end by articulating a trajectory towards The Life of the Mind, Arendt's unfinished attempt, demanded by the particular crisis of Eichmann, to think unradicality radically.

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Pascah Mungwini

The topic of pan-Africanism today brings to the fore questions of the unfinished humanistic project of decolonisation in Africa. When Kwasi Wiredu (1996) calls for the need for conceptual decolonisation in Africa, he recognises the intellectual price the continent continues to pay as a result of conceptual confusions and distortions caused by a colonial conceptual idiom implanted in the African mind. Reflecting on the potential which the ideology of pan-Africanism holds for the continent’s future, my position is that the same passion and energy which brought about political independence should now be redirected to the epistemic front. A new form of pan-Africanism on the intellectual front is required to galvanise Africans to develop and deploy in their thinking veritable categories of analysis born out of the experiences of being African in Africa. It is in the generation and application of these alternative epistemologies that the future of the continent lies.

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Amor Bellitās

Arendt on Kant and Aesthetic Judgment in Politics

Alex Donovan Cole

Hannah Arendt discovers a theory of politics in Immanuel Kant’s aesthetic treatise, the Critique of Judgment. However, the relationship between Kant and Arendt’s politics remains unfinished. This article seeks to present a syncretic view of Arendt’s work on politics with her work on Kantian judgment. Vital to Arendt’s politics is the concept of amor mundi, the love of the world. Yet, in order for amor mundi to resonate with groups and individuals in the world, one must view the world as beautiful and, in Arendt’s words, ‘a fit place for men to live’. In other words, one must love beauty to love the world and be prepared to execute judgment upon particulars in that world according to Arendt. Such use of this judgment, however, is likely to err in ‘dark times’. Thus, Arendt views the love of the world and beauty as an open-ended process.

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In Memoriam

Tribute to Joyce Canaan

Shirin Housee

For my dear friend, colleague and comrade Joyce. I write this with great sadness. Joyce fought a strong and brave battle against cancer for nearly two years, hoping that the treatments would finally end so she could get on with her life. This was my hope, too, because Joyce has so much ‘unfinished business’ – the book to complete, the articles to write and her contribution to the struggles of the land movement in Brazil to make. In a truly Freirean sense, she was building a movement with this community of farmers, teachers and academics. Joyce struggled against capitalism and its many violences and oppressions – imperialism, racism, sexism, ableism. ‘Fuck them all,’ she would say. ‘Fuck them all and let us build a better world’.

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Book Reviews

David Harrison Unfinished Revolutions: Legacies of Upheaval in Modern French Culture edited by Robert T. Denommé and Roland H. Simon

Bonnie Smith Ready-to-Wear and Ready-to-Work: A Century of Industry and Immigrants in Paris and New York by Nancy L. Green

Paula E. Hyman Les Juifs dans la banlieu parisienne des années 20 aux années by Jean Laloum

Richard J. Golsan Modernity and Nostalgia: Art and Politics in France Between the Wars by Romy Golan

Siân Reynolds Vichy et l’éternel féminin by Francine Muel-Dreyfus

Chiarella Esposito France Restored: Cold War Diplomacy and the Quest for Leadership in Europe 1944-1954 by William Hitchcock

David Cleeton France on the Brink: A Great Civilization Faces the New Century by Jonathan Fenby

Film Review

Muriel Dreyfus Voyages by Emmanuel Finkiel

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Clay Clemens

Parties and Politics in Modern Germany by Gerard Braunthal

Jonathan R. Zatlin

Das Ende der SED: die letzten Tage des Zentralkomitees edited by Hans-Hermann Hertle and Gerd-Rüdiger Stephan

Mary Nolan

Languages of Labor and Gender: Female Factory Work in Germany, 1850-1914 by Kathleen Canning

Robert C. Holub

Habermas and the Unfinished Project of Modernity: Critical Essays on The Philosophical Discourse of Modernity edited by Maurizio Passerin d’Entrèves and Seyla Benhabib

Jeffrey Verhey

Willy Wählen ‘72. Siege kann man machen by Albrecht Müller and Hermann Müller

Kristie Macrakis

Reenchanted Science: Holism in German Culture from Wilhelm II to Hitler by Anne Harrington

Günter Minnerup

Willy Brandt. A Political Biography by Barbara Marshall

Michael G. Huelshoff

Europe’s Economy Looks East: Implications for Germany and the European Union edited by Stanley W. Black

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“Very few people know that Sartre also wrote a fairy tale,” commented Michel Rybalka when he suggested that we translate chapter IV, “Le conte de fées,” from Sartre’s unfinished novel “Une Défaite”, published as part of Ecrits de jeunesse. This story is at once an ironic self-portrait of the young man in his early twenties and, no less important, a first attempt to deal with such concepts as “being-for-others,” “existence” and “consciousness.” Even if the story is part of Sartre’s “juvenalia,” it shows a surprisingly sophisticated grasp of literary technique. Cosima’s role is much more than that of a typical interlocutor, she plays an active role in guiding the narrator along so that the story is transformed into a commentary about psychological interaction and the creative process.

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Reworking Appropriation

The Language of Paris Railways, 1870–1914

Peter Soppelsa

By tracking railway language through periodicals and poetry, this article examines the words and images used to make sense of Paris's new subway and streetcars between 1870 and 1914. It proposes a new threefold approach to understanding the appropriation of technology, which reworks its agents, sites, and chronologies. It maintains that appropriation takes both material and symbolic forms, and that appropriation processes transform both appropriated objects and their cultural contexts. Language anchors appropriation as it operates through circulating texts. For Paris, railways were both transportation technologies and versatile tools for making meaning. Railways set spaces, customs, identities, and images adrift, which traditionalists found threatening, progressives found promising, and avant-gardists found inspiring. Fitting Paris with railways required both reimagining and rebuilding the city, and reshaping what railways could be. The article concludes that appropriation is neither linear nor complete, but rather an ongoing and unfinished negotiation of the meaning of technologies.

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Véronique Pujas

The debate in 1999 on how to finance the Italian party system centred

on two aberrations from the European norm that are linked to

the wider issue of the unfinished transition of the Italian political

system. The first of these aberrations is that the Italian political

class has yet to find a definitive remedy for the illegal funding of

the country’s political parties. Although public funding has been

envisaged since the law of 1974, subsequent legislation has

always been determined by circumstances and has never

addressed the real needs of parties. The second problem concerns

the control of three television channels by the state, on the one

hand, and of three further channels by a media entrepreneur and

political leader, Silvio Berlusconi, on the other. In the opinion of

many observers, this situation comprises an interweaving of interests

harmful to democratic pluralism.

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Love and Violence

Sartre and the Ethics of Need

Katharine Wolfe

Beginning with a study of need and its relationship to violence in Sartre’s Critique of Dialectical Reason, this paper argues that need, in the midst of scarcity, can both be a catalyst for violence and a force in the service of love. It warns against an antagonistic view of need and of ethics that emerges in Sartre’s Critique, drawing on Sartre’s own ongoing commitments to existentialism and also on the work of Primo Levi. In particular, it warns against the danger of reducing an ethics of need to one of Manichean violence. It also introduces the concept of ‘second-person needs’, which include (but are not limited to) needs of one’s own for the needs of others to be met. This concept is resonant with the idea of authentic love introduced in Sartre’s earlier, unfinished Notebooks for an Ethics, with the suggestions concerning a concrete, material ethics offered in Sartre’s Rome Lecture of 1964, as well as with Sartre’s concept of the fused group in the Critique itself.