Ref: C3741527

The political philosopher, Hannah Arendt explored the nature of our political relationship with each other and especially the question of how totalitarian governments achieve and maintain power. Writing chiefly against a background of the Holocaust, she coined the phrase ‘the banality of evil’ to describe the way that language, thought and society can be manipulated to the point where ordinary people commit dreadful acts. With the recent rise of more extreme political movements across the globe and the growing manipulation and distortions of facts and the news media, her insights about language, politics and life are as relevant now as they ever were.

Course aim

To provide an introduction to the philosophy of Hannah Arendt and to show how her work is relevant to contemporary political and social issues

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Demonstrate a basic grasp of Arendt's central claims about the relation between totalitarianism and language
  • Explain the central premise of her most famous work 'The Human Condition'
  • Demonstrate how Arendt's philosophical work might be relevant to the contemporary political landscape

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning
  • You may be asked to undertake additional work in your own time to support your learning
  • There will be a short reading assignment each week, which the tutor will then explicate and clarify in class. This will be followed by tutor led discussion and analysis of the points raised by the reading

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • There will be no formal assessment or written assignments, but informal feedback from the tutor and from discussions in class will enable you to judge the extent and depth of your learning.

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading or pre course work is required

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course
  • Progress to a course with another provider
  • Become involved with the WEA in a range of voluntary work and other activities including campaigning as a WEA member
  • You could progress to Higher Education courses. Follow link to the PEARL website for information

Download full Course information sheet



You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
Visa Credit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Debit payments supported by RBS WorldPay Visa Electron payments supported by RBS WorldPay Mastercard payments supported by RBS WorldPay Maestro payments supported by RBS WorldPay JCB payments supported by RBS WorldPay Solo payments supported by RBS WorldPay
RBS WorldPay Payments Processing