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Social Philosophy Today

Volume 31, 2015

Power, Protest, and the Future of Democracy

Larry Busk
Pages 53-69

Sleepwalker
Arendt, Thoughtlessness, and the Question of Little Eichmanns

Academia is still feeling the echoes of a controversy that emerged in 2005 over an essay by Ward Churchill, former professor at the University of Colorado, in which he refers to (certain) victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks as “little Eichmanns.” While there have been many (violent) condemnations and (limited) defenses of the piece, there has been little discussion of what the term “little Eichmann” actually means. This paper analyzes the incendiary remark in the context of its reference, the work of Hannah Arendt. Read in this light, it ceases to be a simple defamation and becomes a momentous intellectual challenge.

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