Festivals & Series

Keynote by Cecilia Sjöholm with Response by Anna Parkinson

Part of "Everything was designed to make us sound": Hannah Arendt and Aesthetic Judgement

Thursday, May 19, 2022 at 5:00pm CDT

Regenstein Master Class Room

Professor of Aesthetics at Södertörn University in Stockholm, Cecilia Sjöjholm holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from Stockholm University and a PhD in Philosophy from Radboud University, Holland. Her books include Doing Aesthetics with Arendt: How to See Things (Columbia University Press, 2015), Kristeva and the Political (Routledge, 2005), and The Antigone Complex: Ethics and the Invention of Feminine Desire (Stanford University Press, 2004). Anna Parkinson is associate professor of German at Northwestern University. Her first book, An Emotional State: The Politics of Emotion in Postwar West German Culture (University of Michigan Press, 2015), explores theories of affect and emotion in the postwar German context. Her teaching and research interests include 20th and 21st- century German literature and film, psychoanalytic and critical theory, gender and queer theory, affect theory and the history of emotions, literary theory, translation theory, genocide studies, urban studies, and transnational trauma studies.

Free Event

"Everything was designed to make us sound": Hannah Arendt and Aesthetic Judgement

May 18-20 at the Bienen School of Music

About the Symposium

Accompanying the rise of authoritarian political movements across the globe in the last decade has been renewed public interest in the political philosophy of Hannah Arendt (1906-1975). Her critique of totalitarianism, provocative thesis on the “banality of evil,” and full-throated defense of the democratic public sphere have retained their value in the decades since she first proposed them. What has received far less attention is her consideration of the relationship between politics and the arts and listening, particularly as they are connected by the human faculty of judgement and the development of common sense. An international group of scholars and artists will gather for a workshop on the role of music, art, and political judgement in resilient democracies. In addition to the scholarly presentations, the event will launch with a concert by a•pe•ri•od•ic, that will feature music inspired by and in dialog with Hannah Arendt’s aesthetics and the writings of Cecilia Sjöholm and Brigid Cohen.  

Funding for this event has been provided by the program in Critical Theory, the Alumnae Association of Northwestern, The Kreeger Wolf Fund, the Institute for New Music, the Department of Music Studies, and the Programs in Musicology and Music Theory & Cognition, the Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, and the Goethe Institut.


May 18
a•pe•ri•od•ic ensemble
McClintock Choral and Recital Room

May 19
Keynote by Cecilia Sjöholm
Regenstein Master Class Room

May 20
Presentations and Responses
Jean Gimbel Lane Reception Room

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a•pe•ri•od•ic ensemble, May 18
Presentations and Responses, May 20


Regenstein Master Class Room


Bienen School of Music
60 Arts Circle Drive
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

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The Regenstein Master Class Room is located in the Regenstein Hall of Music, directly adjacent to the Ryan Center for the Musical Arts. Seating 200, the room hosts hundreds of performances and other events each year.