Cover of Arendt
Arendt's Solidarity
Anti-Semitism and Racism in the Atlantic World
David D. Kim

October 2024
352 pages.
from $35.00

Hardcover ISBN: 9781503640375
Paperback ISBN: 9781503640771



Hannah Arendt's work inspires many to stand in solidarity against authoritarianism, racial or gender-based violence, climate change, and right-wing populism. But what if a careful analysis of her oeuvre reveals a darker side to this intellectual legacy? What if solidarity, as she conceives of it, is not oriented toward equality, freedom, or justice for all, but creates a barrier to intersectional coalition building?

In Arendt's Solidarity, David D. Kim illuminates Arendt's lifelong struggle with this deceptively straightforward yet divisive concept. Drawing upon her publications, unpublished documents, private letters, radio and television interviews, newspaper clippings, and archival marginalia, Kim examines how Arendt refutes solidarity as an effective political force against anti-Semitism, racial injustice, or social inequality. As Kim reveals, this conceptual conundrum follows the arc of Arendt's forced migration across the Atlantic and is directly related to every major concern of hers: Christian neighborly love, friendship, Jewish assimilation, Zionism, National Socialism, the American republic, Black Power, revolution, violence, and the human world. Kim places these thoughts in dialogue with dissenting voices, such as Thomas Mann, Gershom Scholem, Jean-Paul Sartre, James Baldwin, Frantz Fanon, James Forman, and Ralph Ellison. The result is a full-scale reinterpretation of Arendt's oeuvre.

About the author

David D. Kim is Professor in the Department of European Languages and Transcultural Studies and Associate Vice Provost of the International Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of Cosmopolitan Parables: Trauma and Responsibility in Contemporary Germany (2017).

"Kim's book is perfectly suited for our age, examining both the insights and limits of Arendt's reflections on solidarity. A pleasure to read, Arendt's Solidarity is an elegant intervention executed at levels which most scholars only dream of attaining."

—Samuel Moyn, Yale University

"This erudite and ambitious book offers an impassioned and rigorously documented account of 'how we read Arendt now.'"

—Michael P. Steinberg, Brown University

"Kim adeptly traces the evolution of Arendt's thinking from Augustinian love to her views on assimilation and beyond, highlighting her enduring focus on solidarity. As Kim illuminates, Arendt's oversights about black rage, decolonial love, and settler colonialism underscore her limitations."

—Priscilla Layne, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill