Hannah Arendt and the Negro Question

Hannah Arendt and the Negro Question

Kathryn T. Gines
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 03/28/2014
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-01171-8
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While acknowledging Hannah Arendt's keen philosophical and political insights, Kathryn T. Gines claims that there are some problematic assertions and oversights regarding Arendt’s treatment of the "Negro question." Gines focuses on Arendt's reaction to the desegregation of Little Rock schools, to laws making mixed marriages illegal, and to the growing civil rights movement in the south. Reading them alongside Arendt's writings on revolution, the human condition, violence, and responses to the Eichmann war crimes trial, Gines provides a systematic analysis of anti-black racism in Arendt’s work.

Author Bio

Kathryn T. Gines is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the Pennsylvania State University. She is editor (with Donna-Dale L. Marcano) of Convergences: Black Feminism and Continental Philosophy and a founder of the journal Critical Philosophy of Race.


“Gines carefully moves through Arendt scholarship and Arendt's texts to argue persuasively that explicit discussions of the 'Negro question' point up the limitations of her thinking.”
 — Kelly Oliver, Vanderbilt University

“Takes on a major thinker, Hannah Arendt, on an important issue—race and racism—and challenges her on specific points while raising philosophical and methodological shortcomings.”
 — Richard King, Nottingham University

“Hannah Arendt: political progressive and committed anti-racist theorist? Think again. As Kathryn Gines makes inescapably clear, for Arendt the “Negro” was the problem, whether in the form of savage “primitives” inseparable from Heart-of-Darkness Africa, social climbers trying to get their kids into white schools, or unqualified black university students dragging down academic standards. Gines’ boldly revisionist text reassesses the German thinker’s categories and frameworks. ”
 — Charles W. Mills, Northwestern University

“On the whole, Hannah Arendt and the Negro Question offers a wealth of research that will be valuable to scholars and graduate students interested in how racial bias operates in Arendt's major works. Gines's writing style is lucid and to the point, and her engagement with secondary sources is comprehensive.”
 — Hypatia

“Gines has delivered an intellectually challenging book, that presents one of the most important figures in Western philosophy of the 2nd half of the 20th century in a different and, perhaps, somewhat less favorable perspective.”
 — Philosophia

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Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations
Introduction: "Hannah Arendt and the Negro Question"
1. "The Girl, Obviously, Was Asked to Be a Hero"
2. "The Most Outrageous Law of Southern States – the Law Which Makes Mixed Marriage a Criminal Offense"
3. "The Three Realms of Human Life – the Political, the Social, and the Private"
4. "The End of Revolution is the Foundation of Freedom"
5. "A Preparatory Stage for the Coming Catastrophes"
6. "Only Violence And Rule Over Others Could Make Some Men Free"
7. "There Are Situations In Which The Very Swiftness Of A Violent Act May Be The Only Appropriate Remedy"
Conclusion: "The Role of Judgment in Arendt’s Approach to the Negro Question"

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