CFP: Hannah Arendt Panel at the GSA in Atlanta, Sept. 26-29, 2024

deadline for submissions: 
March 4, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
German Studies Association
contact email: 


Hannah Arendt relentlessly insists in her work on the importance of thinking, reflection, and contemplation. This conviction does not just drive her critique of the thoughtlessness of Adolf Eichmann, but it forms the core of what she sees in the human condition. Thorough and engaging thought stand behind what David Herd calls Arendt’s way of “Making Space for the Human”(2023). The plurality of a diverse society depends, so she reminds us, to a large extent on the willingness and ability to engage in thought which informs and shapes action. The increasing scholarly interest in Arendt’s work is largely fueled by rising concerns about the resurgence of totalitarian tendencies worldwide as Lyndsey Stonebridge highlights in her recent biography focused on Arendt’s notions of love and disobedience (2024). In this panel, we seek to explore ways in which Arendt’s philosophy of thinking can contribute to another virulent debate: the rapidly growing landscape of intelligent technologies. We want to ask how Arendt’s theory relates to the developments in generative AI technology and other communication tools that imitate or approximate cognition: What are the potential consequences for failing to engage critically with these generators and the “knowledge” produced? Which role do human thought and human creativity play where AI apps effortlessly mimic this capacity with sometimes astounding results? What are potential implications of relinquishing thought, cognition, and judgment to intelligent technologies? How does Arendt’s theory relate to new tools for tracking and surveilling communications, when surveillance historically served to reinforce inequality? And how does Arendt’s theory speak to the growing importance of algorithms that compute probabilities and are programmed to maximize online interactions? Which means do we have for making these tools viable within technological environments that are effectively thoughtless, but nonetheless highly productive and engaging?


Please email a 250-word abstract, as well as a short biography, to both Gundela Hachmann and Bethany Morgan ( and by March 4, 2024.