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Exiles in the City

Hannah Arendt and Edward W. Said in Counterpoint

William V. Spanos

Publication Year: 2012

Exiles in the City: Hannah Arendt and Edward W. Said in Counterpoint, by William V. Spanos, explores the affiliative relationship between Arendt’s and Said’s thought, not simply their mutual emphasis on the importance of the exilic consciousness in an age characterized by the decline of the nation-state and the rise of globalization, but also on the oppositional politics that a displaced consciousness enables. The pairing of these two extraordinary intellectuals is unusual and controversial because of their ethnic identities. In radically secularizing their comportment towards being, their exilic condition enabled them to undertake inaugural critiques of the culture of the nation-state system of Western modernity. As variations on the theme of exile, the five chapters of this book constitute reflections on what is foundational and abiding in both Arendt’s and Said’s work. They not only document the heretofore unnoticed affiliation between the two thinkers. They also shed light on Arendt’s and Said’s proleptic activist explorations of the urgent “question of Palestine,” especially on the fraught present situation, which bears increasing witness to the irony that the Israeli nation-state’s “solution” has, from the beginning, systematically repeated the degradations the Jewish people suffered at the hands of German nationalism.

Published by: The Ohio State University Press


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. iv-vi


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p. viii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

Exiles in the City had its origins in a distant and now rather murky past, but one moment of that inaugural time stands out clearly in my mind. It was in May of 1982, when David Farrell Krell, one of Martin Heidegger’s ablest critics and translators, invited me to give a series of lectures on the American reception of the controversial philosopher at the universities of Mannheim, ...

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pp. 1-4

This book is, as far as I know, the first that explores the relationship between Hannah Arendt’s and Edward W. Said’s thought, not simply their mutual emphasis on the importance of the exilic consciousness but also on the politics that such a consciousness enables, especially as it pertains to the particular— and urgent—question of Palestine. It consists of five chapters organized, ...

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Chapter 1. The Devastation of Language under the Dictatorship of the Public Realm

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pp. 5-48

As oppositional intellectuals claimed from the days of the beginning of the George W. Bush presidency, this Republican administration, more than any other in the history of the United States, was one that played havoc with the constitutional checks and balances in its arrogant and self-righteous effort to wrest the power to govern from the United States Congress in behalf of ...

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Chapter 2. The Exilic Consciousness and the Imperatives of Betweenness

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pp. 49-63

In the wake of his untimely death in 2003, the great scholar and public intellectual Edward W. Said has come increasingly to be identified primarily as a partisan in the Palestinians’ struggle against the Israeli occupation at the expense of the manifestly inaugural global and cosmopolitan perspective that has from the beginning of his career been at the heart of his extraordinarily ...

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Chapter 3. The Calling and the Question Concerning the Secular

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pp. 64-103

In his “Introduction” to The World, the Text and the Critic (1983), pointedly subtitled “Secular Criticism,” Edward W. Said introduced a theoretical concept that has been smoldering at the bottom of Western critical theory and practice ever since. But only in the wake of the rise of a Christian evangelical politics at the end of the twentieth century or, rather, the de facto demise ...

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Chapter 4. The Exodus Story and the Zionist March

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pp. 104-140

In articulating the ideological origins of the early European Zionists’ justification of its claims on and colonization of Palestine in The Question of Palestine, Edward W. Said overdetermines the European, particularly British, imperial model, which had its point of departure in the mission civilisatrice, “built on notions about the inequality of men, races, and civilizations, an inequality ...

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Chapter 5. Hannah Arendt and Edward W. Said: An Affiliation in Counterpoint

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pp. 141-205

In two of his last published works, Edward W. Said, the Palestinian exile, in a telling gesture that has yet to be thought, compares his peculiar intellectual identity to “the non-Jewish Jew.”1 His avowed exemplary instances of this paradoxical figure are Sigmund Freud and Isaac Deutscher. But, I suggest, what becomes striking in the process of his all too brief analysis of the character of this ...


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pp. 207-251


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pp. 252-258


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pp. 259-266

E-ISBN-13: 9780814270288
E-ISBN-10: 081427028X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814211939
Print-ISBN-10: 0814211933

Page Count: 312
Publication Year: 2012