Lifelong Learning - Arendt’s Eichmann: Revisiting a 1960s Controversy
Three Mondays, March 6, 13, & 20
7-8:30 p.m. ET
Virtual class offered via Zoom*
$60 per person
This course will look back at one of the most controversial books of the 1960s. In 1961, an Israeli court put on trial—and ultimately sentenced to death—a major perpetrator of the Holocaust, Adolf Eichmann. In 1963, political theorist and author Hannah Arendt produced a provocative account of the trial, Eichmann in Jerusalem. Participants will mark the 60th anniversary of her book by examining its most talked-about passages, exploring why the book drew criticism from other historians and drove many of Arendt’s associates to “cancel” her.
Participants will also consider facts about Eichmann that scholars have since discovered. We will look at the continuing debates over the book’s most famous term: “The banality of evil.” How well does this concept explain current antisemitism and war crimes? While participants are welcome to read Arendt’s book, it is not necessary, the instructor will provide excerpts.
John Schilb is Culbertson Chair and Professor of English Emeritus at Indiana University. He has taught many classes for Lifelong Learning and IU’s Mini University. Among his fields of interest are rhetoric, film, and literature, including writing about the Holocaust.