What do we mean when we talk about totalitarianism today?

Assembly Room: The Exchange 3 Centenary Sq Birmingham B1 2DR
Tuesday 12 March 2024 (18:00-19:00)
Credit: Catherine Shakespeare Lane.

Professor Lyndsey Stonebridge Inaugural Lecture

Please note this event has reached capacity, but you can register on our waiting list. We will let you know if a place becomes available.

Totalitarianism once seemed like a fairly safely historical word, belonging to the grim regimes of the twentieth century, to another time, and another mindset. To talk of totalitarianism in the twenty-first century seemed, at best, an anachronism, or at worst, alarmist. Yet over the past ten years artists, writers, and activists are now regularly using the word totalitarian to describe not just regimes, but current modes of thinking and ideology. 

Drawing on her new book, We Are Free to Change the World: Hannah Arendt’s Lessons in Love and Disobedience*, in this lecture Professor Lyndsey Stonebridge , FBA, returns to the work of the most famous theorist of totalitarianism, the political-philosopher, Hannah Arendt.  Woman, Jew, refugee, and pariah – and interdisciplinary thinker par excellence - Arendt looked at the world from outside of conventional academic and political categories. What can we learn from her anti-totalitarian thinking today?

You can also listen to Lyndsey speak on and discuss Hannah Arendt as part of the Sophia Club podcast series Can we imagine power without violence from September 2023.

Book cover for 'We are free to change the world"The talk will be followed by a book signing and drinks reception.

*Available to pre-order, published 25 January 2024.

Inaugural lectures are a landmark in academic life, held on the appointment of new professorships. You can learn more about our other forthcoming talks and view our archive of previous lectures on our CAL Inaugural Lectures webpage.