Monday, April 18, 2011

CSRG Spring Reading Series

Given the history of "actually existing socialism" in the twentieth century, is communism an outmoded idea better relegated to "the dustbin of history," or does the communist vision still offer a productive and critical exterior to the dominant capitalist order? What is the relation between Utopian vision and political practice? Can Marxian and communist discourse still inform leftist politics, both within academia and in larger political projects of transformation?

The essays collected in "The Idea of Communism" (eds. Costas Douzinas & Slavoj Žižek; Verso, 2010) address the question of "whether 'communism' is still the name to be used to designate a radical emancipatory politics" (vii). Gathered from a 2009 conference orginized by the Birbeck Institute for the Humanities, this collection of short, conference-style essays by such scholars as Alian Badiou, Susan Buck-Morss, Micheal Hardt and Jacques Rancière addresses the question of communism's continued relevance to contemporary political thought and practice.

The Cultural Studies Reading Group will be discussing several of the essays from the this collection in our next few gatherings. Our first meeting will be on Wednesday, April, 20, at 4:30 (location TBD). Please e-mail us at if you would like further details about this or future meeting times, or check back with the blog for updates.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Lawrence Grossberg Interview

This week, the CSRG will be discussing an interview with Lawrence Grossberg featured on the Critical Lede podcast. In this interview, Dr. Grossberg discusses his new book Cultural Studies in the Future Tense which makes a critical evaluation of contemporary cultural studies practices and suggests ways in which the discipline might develop to address the challenge of framing a leftist politics and the project of imagining alternatives to what Grossberg calls the dominant Euro-modernity.

The reading group will meet this Thursday, April 7 at 4:30 in CNH 332. We will also be deciding which chapters of the collection The Idea of Communism we will be discussing in upcoming sessions.  Hope to see you there!