Hannah Arendt and the Uses of History: Imperialism, Nation, by Richard H. King, Dan Stone

By Richard H. King, Dan Stone

Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) first argued that there have been continuities among the age of ecu imperialism and the age of fascism in Europe in "The Origins of Totalitarianism" (1951). She claimed that theories of race, notions of racial and cultural superiority, and the correct of 'superior races' to extend territorially have been subject matters that hooked up the white settler colonies, the opposite imperial possessions, and the fascist ideologies of post-Great battle Europe. those claims have hardly ever been taken up through historians. simply lately has the paintings of students comparable to Jurgen Zimmerer and A. Dirk Moses all started to teach in a few element that Arendt used to be right. This assortment doesn't search only to expound Arendt's evaluations on those matters; quite, it seeks to exploit her insights because the jumping-off aspect for extra investigations - together with ones serious of Arendt - into the ways that race, imperialism, slavery and genocide are associated, and the ways that those phrases have affected the us, Europe, and the colonised global.

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Additional info for Hannah Arendt and the Uses of History: Imperialism, Nation, Race, and Genocide

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Arendt juxtaposes the race-thinking in France which was used as "a weapon for civil war and splitting a nation" with that in Germany which she asserts was useful in uniting Germans against domination from foreign elementsP Race-thinking in Germany became a rallying point for the joining together of various German states. 25 As a transition from French and German race-thinking to English race-thinking, Arendt uses Arthur de Gobineau whom she claims "invented racism almost by ac­ cident:'26 Gobineau is well known for his influential and racist work The Inequality of Human Races (1853-1855).

Another difference Arendt highlights between race-thinking and racism is how each relates to nationalism and to principles of equality. For her, not only is racism 44 I Kathryn T Gin" not equivalent to nationalism, racism actually undermines nationalism. While I would not argue that racism is the same as nationalism, because it is certainly not the case that all nationalisms are racist, it is also true that racism and nationalism are not as mutually exclusive as Arendt suggests. She states: From the very beginning, racism deliberately cut across all national boundaries, whether defined by geographical, linguistic, traditional, or any other standards, and denied national-political standards as such.

For Arendt, ideologies are "systems based upon a single opinion that proved strong enough to attract and persuade a majority of people and broad enough to lead them through the various situations of an average modern Iife:' J9 Ideologies differ from opinions in that an ideology claims to have the key insight or knowledge to history, to all the world's problems, or to universal laws. According to Arendt, the ideology of race "interprets history as a natural fight of races:'20 While Arendt sees race-thinking as a political tool, she tends to emphasize its political aspects in France and Germany more than in Britain or the United States.

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