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Law Research Seminar Series - Of Rebels and Disobedients: Reflections on Arendt, "Race," and Lawbreaking

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Venue: Birkbeck Main Building, B04

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Of Rebels and Disobedients: Reflections on Arendt, “Race,” and Lawbreaking

Speaker: Ayça Çubukçu (LSE)

Abstract

Hannah Arendt was conservative in more ways than one. She valued the unprecedented, the unexpected and the new, yet in “Civil Disobedience” and other essays crafted at the end of the rebellious 1960s, struggled to square this valuation with a palpable desire for law and order. She lamented how criminality had overtaken American life, accused the police of not arresting enough criminals, and charged “the Negro community” with standing behind what she named black violence.  At once, she praised “the white rebels” of the student movement in the United States for their courageous acts of disobedience. In this talk, my aim is to explore how differential Arendt’s treatment of lawbreaking action was. This will require engagement with the conceptual distinctions she proposed—distinctions between power and violence, civil and criminal, opinion and interest—and their racialization in her work.

About the Speaker

Ayça Çubukçu is Associate Professor in Human Rights and Co-Director of LSE Human Rights at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Before LSE, Dr. Çubukçu was a Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute, and taught for the Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University and the Committee on Degrees in Social Studies at Harvard University. 

Law Research Seminars are held on Wednesdays at lunchtime. The seminars are free and open to the public, and a light lunch is provided.

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