Sites of Appearance, Matters of Thought: Hannah Arendt and Performance Philosophy




This editorial introduces this special issue on the thresholds, borders, and dialogues between Hannah Arendt’s work and performance philosophy, bringing together contributions that investigate political resistance, thought, and practice. Arendt’s relevance to our times is ubiquitous: from the near constant citation of The Origins of Totalitarianism in relation to the recent rise in strong-man politics and resurgent ethnic nationalism, to her diagnosis of the plight of refugees, denied even the rights belonging to those that have broken the law, but instead placed outside the law. Contemporary political philosophy also bears numerous influences, in the thinking of Mouffe, Rancière, Nancy, Agamben, Brown, Butler, and more. For performance philosophy, we might engage with Arendt’s performative notion of politics itself, as exemplified in her idea of ‘spaces of appearance’, but also the performativity of thought, as well as the implications of Arendt’s work for phenomenology, governmentality, rights, and ecology. Contributors to this special issue also think through the relevance of Arendt’s work for an anti-colonial and anti-racist political praxis, and for post and non-human political ethics, judgment, and thinking.

Author Biographies

Diana Damian Martin, The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

Diana Damian Martin is a writer and researcher working at the intersection between performance and politics. She is a Senior Lecturer in Performance Arts at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, member of practice research committee Generative Constraints, and co-hosts Critical Interruptions, Something Other, and The Department of Feminist Conversations.

Theron Schmidt, UNSW Sydney

Theron Schmidt is a writer, teacher, and artist, currently living and working on unceded Gadigal land. He has published widely on contemporary theatre and performance, participatory art practices, and politically engaged performance. He is a founding co-convener the Performance Philosophy network, co-editor of Performance Philosophy, and associate editor for Performance Research. He also makes performance as a solo and collaborative artist.


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Agamben, Giorgio. 2005. State of Exception. Translated by Kevin Attell. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

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Brown, Wendy. 2013. Undoing the Demos: Neoliberalism’s Stealth Revolution. London: Zone.

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How to Cite

Damian Martin, D., & Schmidt, T. (2019). Sites of Appearance, Matters of Thought: Hannah Arendt and Performance Philosophy. Performance Philosophy, 5(1), 1–7.