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"Defending American Exceptionalism. Or What Are We Fighting For?"

The Seventh Annual Hannah Arendt Center Conference

Thursday, October 9, 2014 – Friday, October 10, 2014

In her essay "Tradition and the Modern Age," Hannah Arendt writes: "The rebels of the 19th and 20th centuries fought against tradition. They were occupied with critique and destruction of past and authoritative structures. Today, in the wake of the fact of the break of tradition and the loss of authority, we face the ominous silence that answers us whenever we ask: "What are we fighting for?""

In the United States of America, there has long been an assumption that we had an answer to Arendt's question. We fight for freedom and democracy. We fight for equality and difference. Above all we fight for "a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal."

Not only in America, but around the world, we confront a weakening of such political visions. In America, the ideals of freedom, equality, and a common destiny that have are in decline. On both the left and the right there is fear the country has lost its way. To explore the future of an American idea, we will sponsor "Defending American Exceptionalism. Or What Are We Fighting For?"


Time: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

Location: Olin Hall