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Social Philosophy Today

Volume 16, 2000

Race, Social Identity, and Human Dignity

Margaret Betz Hull
Pages 35-46

“Wholly ... a Daughter of Our People”
Hannah Arendt and the Jewish Question

German political philosopher Hannah Arendt offers a distinctive, sometimes controversial, understanding of her Jewish heritage through her use of the notion "conscious pariah" and the role she allowed her Jewishness to play in her identity. Based on her interactive theory of unique human identity as constructed through political action, Arendt envisioned public acknowledgement of her Jewishness as a performative, political act of allegiance, not a statement of fixed identity. Arendt's insistence that the personal facticity of human identity only be given strategic public acknowledgement is also found in contemporary feminist theory that rejects essentialism in favor of strategic uses of "woman."

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