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What can we learn from… Hannah Arendt?

Tuesday 6 February @ 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm



Living Freedom ‘University Salons’ are for all students keen to explore and debate ideas on the past, present and future of freedom.

Our ‘What can we learn from…?’ events explore important thinkers and the emergence of key ideas. A short, accessible talk is followed by plenty of time for questions and discussion. Together we will interrogate thinkers and their ideas and assess their relevance for freedom today. Everyone is welcome to come along.

Hannah Arendt and Totalitarianism
Whether prompted by concerns over draconian lockdowns, new authoritarian political leaders, policing of speech or outlawing demonstrations, there’s been a revival of interest in Hannah Arendt’s The Origins of Totalitarianism. And today, in the wake of seemingly resurgent anti-Semitism in Europe, her analysis of the connection between anti-Semitism, totalitarianism, and Europe’s dark history bear re-reading. What’s more, whether attacking the contemporary concern for ‘safety’, her unflinching defence of the Western canon of literature and philosophy, her complex views on Israel, or the role of ‘facts’ in politics, Arendt was never shy of challenging orthodoxies and addressing profound moral questions. Scholars today routinely dismiss her as a closet racist or typical ‘white liberal’. But what did she really say, and what can Arendt tell us about the challenges to freedom today?


JACOB REYNOLDS, head of policy, MCC Brussels; associate fellow, Academy of Ideas; convenor, Hannah Arendt Study Group

Jacob is head of policy for the think tank MCC Brussels, an organisation founded to shake up the ‘Brussels bubble’ through in-depth exploration of the major challenges facing Europe. He is associate fellow at Academy of Ideas and a volunteer convenor of The Academy, a weekend residential summer school for free thinkers. Jacob has a BPhil from St Cross College, Oxford where he specialised in the work of Hannah Arendt, and is a writer and commentator on issues related to the Culture War, literature, and geopolitics. He has an academic background in philosophy.

Living Freedom University Salons are supported by the Ian Mactaggart Programme, established to foster a culture of open debate, independent thinking and free expression among young people in the UK, especially students. It is administered by the Free Speech Union.


Living Freedom


Harris Lecture Theatre, Oriel College
Oriel Square
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