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Thinking in Dark Times

Lecture Center for Global Humanities Lecture/Seminar Series

Roger Berkowitz

Roger Berkowitz

What does it mean to say that we live in dark times? For Hannah Arendt, dark times are not limited to the plagues, wars, and genocides that mark the course of human history. Instead, darkness names the way these horrors appear in public discourses and yet remain hidden. Darkness refers not merely to oppression and suffering but to the double-talk by officials and public figures who explain away unpleasant facts and pressing concerns. It refers to the fading distinction between truth and lie that allows environmental, economic, and ethical outrages to thrive hidden in plain sight. Darkness names the all-too-public invisibility of inconvenient facts. We hear much about “fake news” today; but what does it mean to speak the truth in politics? This lecture asks: Can the practice of thinking — that is central to the humanities — shine light amidst the darkness?


Roger Berkowitz writes about how justice is made present in the world. He is Academic Director of the Hannah Arendt Center at Bard College where he is Associate Professor of Politics, Philosophy, and Human Rights. He is the author of The Gift of Science: Leibniz and the Modern Legal Tradition, co-editor of Thinking in Dark Times: Hannah Arendt on Ethics and Politics and The Intellectual Origins of the Global Financial Crisis, co-editor of Artifacts of Thinking, and editor of HA: The Journal of the Hannah Arendt Center. He also edits the Hannah Arendt Center Amor Mundi Newsletter. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, Bookforum, The Paris Review Online, Democracy: A Journal of Ideas, The American Interest, and many other publications.


WCHP Lecture Hall in Parker Pavilion
716 Stevens Avenue
Portland, ME 04103

Assigned Reading

Hannah Arendt, Between Past and Future (Penguin Classics, Revised Edition, 2006)


5 p.m. in the UNE Art Gallery (Portland Campus)


(207) 221-4435

Thinking in Dark Times Lecture Poster
6:00 PM
WCHP Lecture Hall in Parker Pavilion

Portland Campus

Free and open to the public