Politics for Everybody: Reading Hannah Arendt in Uncertain Times

By Ned O’Gorman

In Politics for Everybody: Reading Hannah Arendt in Uncertain Times, Ned O’Gorman makes a passionate argument for the power of art and rhetoric to untwist politics, that is, to free it from the claws of authoritarianism and neoliberalism. Art, he argues, can nourish and expand our political imagination of freedom, the ability “to think creatively about what it means to be human on Earth with others.” Art can provide us with a vision of freedom, as it can expand our understanding of freedom, make us see that freedom is more than just “a ‘right’ to say whatever you want.” Most fascinatingly, O’Gorman’s book makes its point not just theoretically, but it proves it in the way the book itself was conceived. The book includes wonderful graphics by the Chicago-based artist, Sekani Reed. O’Gorman’s dialogue with the artist represents a vivid incarnation of the type of politics and of the power of art for which he argues in his book. As he puts it in the Preface to the book, “…we came from different places; we represent different generations. None of our ‘identity’ categories align; we look different, talk different, act different, and listen to (mostly) different music. Not surprisingly, we did not always see eye to eye. Still, we talked with each other…about matters (or as Arendt would say, ‘objects’) of common concern. Out of our conversations came more than the drawings you see in these pages. Some of the very words and ideas in this book emerged as I learned them in conversation with Sekani.” I would think of this dialogue and of its result as an illustration of what O’Gorman means by the political imagination of freedom, the imagination to form and recreate the quality of our actions, our ideas, and even our identity through our everyday interactions and encounters with other individuals.

Book discussion with the author:

Tuesday, October 18


Weitz 131

Mihaela Czobor-Lupp, Associate Professor of Political Science

Politics for Everybody Registration

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