19 March 2016

CAPPE is pleased to announce a workshop and round table symposium with Jodi Dean, Professor of Humanities and Social Science at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York. Professor Dean is a controversial theorist of radical democracy. She has written extensively on political activism in the US and Europe and writes regular blog posts on US politics and global activism. Her latest two books learn from and critically engage with the Occupy movement to consider what is needed to build a strong left capable of taking power today. She focuses on the political organization of the radical left and argues for the return of a renewed communism revised to meet the needs of contemporary politics: “the left needs to return to the party as a form for radical political action. So enough of identity, issues, and momentary events; we need a politics that can actually endure.”

The symposium is part of the Political Studies Association (PSA) conference that is taking place March 21st-23rd in Brighton at the Hilton Metropole Hotel. This will be an exchange between Professor Dean and Professor Sam Chambers (Johns Hopkins University), Professor Todd May (Clemson University) and Dr Clare Woodford (University of Brighton) focusing on issues of protest and resistance in the democratic state, leftist renewal, social formation and the party form. It will be followed by questions from the audience. Date and time TBC.

Professor Jodi Dean
Drawing from Marxism, psychoanalysis, post-structuralism, and postmodernism, Professor Dean has made contributions to contemporary political theory, media theory, and feminist theory. She has authored numerous books and articles including: Solidarity of Strangers (1996), Aliens in America (1998), Publicity’s Secret (2002), Zizek’s Politics (2006), Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies (2009), Blog Theory (2010) and The Communist Horizon (2012), Crowds and Parties (2016). In Democracy and Other Neoliberal fantasies, she develops a theory of communicative capitalism which identifies the online merging of democracy and capitalism into a single neoliberal formation that subverts the democratic impulses of the masses by valuing emotional expression over logical discourse. She has more recently turned to issues of how to rebuild the left. She argues that since the ‘70s and ‘80s, the fragmented, individualist American left has been largely cynical about manifesting change through the party form, yet parties are too important to be left to the two-party system. How do we make a party of communists seem more compelling to more of us again? In her new book Crowds and Party, Jodi Dean diagnoses an American Left splintered by individualism, but ripe for a return to one of the oldest organized political forms: the party.

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