Şeyda Kurt works as a journalist, moderator and author who published her first book, Radikale Zärtlichkeit – Warum liebe politisch ist (Radical Tenderness – Why Love is Political), in 2021. During an online reading of this book, she was asked if her plea for radical tenderness also extended to Nazis. Kurt said no. It was questions like these, and the impulse to continue writing politically about feelings, that lead Kurt to think intensively about hate. In March 2023, her new book Hass – Von der Macht eines widerständigen Gefühls (Hate – On the Power of a Resistant Emotion) was published by Harper Collins Germany. Neither of her books have been translated into English yet.
Kurt divides her book into two parts. In the first part, “Hate” she looks for different definitions of hate, starting with Aristotle, and traces the history of the term. Using the example of the German philosopher Hegel, she explains how hate has historically been attributed to Black people, and then highlights the far-reaching consequences of this racist and colonial practice through the work of the Cameroonian philosopher Achille Mbembe.
Finally, Kurt names what she calls five “modes of hatred” and in the second part, “Hating”, she refers primarily to the fifth, hatred as a self-empowering response to oppression. This part reads like thought fragments, sometimes she writes about her childhood, sometimes about her late-night dreams. But most of her thoughts are about how hate becomes a driving force to fight against the oppression of the haters.
I always felt hatred was something wrong, a feeling that should not be given space. When I thought of hate, I thought mainly of haters. I always associated the hated with anger and rage. Şeyda Kurt’s book made me rethink this attitude and question my perspective. And that is what I hope for from books of this kind – that they stay with me after I read them and that they give cause for intensive critical reflection.