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Richard Wagner

FIVE LESSONS ON WAGNER

By ALAIN BADIOU

Published 8th November 2010

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Featuring an extensive afterword by SLAVOJ ZIZEK

Translated by SUSAN SPITZER

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PRAISE FOR ALAIN BADIOU:

“A figure like Plato or Hegel walks here among us!” Slavoj Zizek

“An heir to Jean-Paul Sartre and Louis Althusser” NEW STATESMAN http://www.newstatesman.com/books/2009/02/sarkozy-france-badiou-french

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For over a century, Richard Wagner’s music has been the subject of intense debate among philosophers, many of whom have attacked its ideological—some say racist and reactionary—underpinnings. In this major new work, Alain Badiou, radical philosopher and keen Wagner enthusiast, offers a detailed reading of the critical responses to the composer’s work, which include Adorno’s writings on the composer and Wagner’s recuperation by Nazism as well as more recent readings by Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and others. Slavoj Zizek provides an afterword, and both philosophers make a passionate case for re-examining the relevance of Wagner to the contemporary world.

As the first example of a “mass art”, Wagner’s operas are portrayed as a forerunner to David Bowie and gangster rap, promoting a “terrorist function” of music that breaks down the boundaries between high and low culture.

Wagner’s crucial role in the thinking of Nietzsche, Adorno and Heidegger leads Badiou to posit the composer as the “litmus test” for the role of music in philosophy. Whilst these philosophers tended to criticize Wagner’s attempt to marry nationalism and art as “proto-fascist”, Badiou vigorously defends the positive energy of Wagner’s “enthralling, alluring, deceptive, hysterical, shimmering, seductive, sexual musical edifice.”

Badiou argues that “musicolatry” has replaced idolatry in contemporary society as music plays an increasingly important role in how we define ourselves. Youth culture identifies with music more than any other art form, festivals have created a new type of sociability, and the music industry is a billion dollar enterprise.

In a surprising conclusion, Badiou responds to the criticisms of Wagner by suggesting that the composer represents the possibility for a coming resurrection of high art. This new artistic “greatness” will embrace multiplicity, revel in possibility, tolerate subjective differences, dispense with resolutions and allow endless formal transformations. Badiou forecasts a high art which embraces postmodernism, rather then being destroyed by it and which, instead of focusing on nationalist nostalgia, sees Wagner as preparing the way for future artistic celebrations.

In Slavoj Žižek’s comprehensive 60 page afterword, “the most dangerous philosopher in the West” applies his usual brand of acute anecdotal evidence and astounding critical insight to turn perceived notions of Wagner’s Christianity on their head, comparing Parsifal to the pagan triumph of Lord of the Rings as opposed to the “failure” of C.S. Lewis’ Narnia.

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ALAIN BADIOU teaches philosophy at the Ecole normale superieure and the College international de philosophie in Paris . In addition to several novels, plays and political essays, he has published a number of major philosophical works, including THEORY OF THE SUBJECT, BEING AND EVENT, MANIFESTO FOR PHILOSOPHY, and GILLES DELEUZE. His five recent books THE COMMUNIST HYPOTHESIS, THE MEANING OF SARKOZY, ETHICS, METAPOLITICS and POLEMICS are available from Verso.

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PRAISE FOR THE MEANING OF SARKOZY:

“An enjoyably bilious essay” THE GUARDIAN http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2009/feb/06/alain-badiou-meaning-of-sarkozy

“As the recession worsens and social unrest increases apace, there is every likelihood that the ‘communist hypothesis’ will re-emerge to capture the political imagination.” Michael Cronin, IRISH TIMES http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2009/0225/1224241762583.html

“Compared to Guy Debord’s prophetic 1967 masterpiece, THE SOCIETY OF THE SPECTACLE… a thundering, rallying tirade.” Lucy Wadham, NEW STATESMAN http://www.newstatesman.com/books/2009/02/sarkozy-france-badiou-french

 “Strangely compelling.” THE OBSERVER http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/01/nicolas-sarkozy-politics

 “Badiou’s concluding, rousing call for an emboldened left to rediscover and reassert ‘the communist hypothesis’ through new kinds of thought and collective action can’t be dismissed as the pipe dreams of an old militant any more.” Mark Fisher, FRIEZE — http://www.frieze.com/issue/article/the_meaning_of_sarkozy/

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 ISBN: 978 1 84467 481 7 / US$26.95 / £16.99 / CAN$33.50/ 256 pages

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 For more information and to buy the book visit http://www.versobooks.com/books/530-530-five-lessons-on-wagner

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Anarchism

OPPORTUNITY FOR PhD FUNDING IN ANARCHISM

From: David Berry: D.G.Berry@lboro.ac.uk

Opportunity for PhD funding in anarchist history, politics or theory

Please circulate.

The Department of Politics, History & International Relations at Loughborough University (UK) is inviting applications for studentships (£13,290 per annum stipend for three years, plus tuition fees) to undertake doctoral research from October 2011 in any area related to the Department’s research interests.

Applications should be received by Monday, 7 March 2011. Priority will normally be given to UK/EU applicants. Where appropriate, you will also normally be expected to apply for Research Council studentships.

Dr Dave Berry, Dr. Alexandre Christoyannopoulos and Dr Ruth Kinna would like to hear from anyone interested in studying for a PhD in any area related to anarchist history, politics or theory.

Dave Berry is a Senior Lecturer in Contemporary European History. He has published primarily on the French anarchist movement, the contemporary alternative left in France and on Daniel Guérin. He is the author of A History of the French Anarchist Movement, 1917-1945 (Greenwood Press, 2002; AK edition 2009) and co-editor of New Perspectives on Anarchism, Labour and Syndicalism (CSP, 2010); he is an associate editor and reviews editor of ‘Anarchist Studies’ and a founder member of the Anarchist Studies Network (Specialist Group for the Study of Anarchism within the Political Studies Association – http://anarchist-studies-network.org.uk/).

Alexandre Christoyannopoulos is a Lecturer in Politics and International Relations. He has published on Tolstoy, non-violence and Christian anarchism, and is the author of ‘Christian Anarchism: A Political Interpretation of the Bible’ (Imprint, 2010), and editor of ‘Religious Anarchism: New Perspectives’ (Cambridge Scholars, 2009). He is the treasurer of the Anarchist Studies Network, an executive member of the Religion and Politics research committee of the International Political Science Association, and a member of a number of related academic associations.

Ruth Kinna is a Senior Lecturer in Politics. She has published on William Morris and Peter Kropotkin, and is the author of ‘Anarchism: A Beginner’s Guide’ (Oneworld, 2005; 2nd edn. 2009) and co-editor, with Laurence Davis of ‘Anarchism and Utopianism’ (Manchester UP, 2009). She is the editor of the journal ‘Anarchist Studies’ and is also a founder member and co-convenor of the Anarchist Studies Network.

The Department is home to an Anarchism Research Group (http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/eu/research/ResearchGroups/AnarchismRG/index.html), and there are currently five PhD students in the Department working on aspects of anarchism: Cris Illiopoulos, working on Nietzsche and anarchism; Saku Pinta, who is completing a dissertation on convergences and divergences between anarchism and Marxism; Sureyyya Turkeli working on the historiography of anarchism; Matt Wilson working on anarchist ethics; and Gwen Windpassinger, working on queer feminist anarchism in Buenos Aires. Dr. Alex Prichard’s research on the political thought of P-J Proudhon was also completed at the Department and his thesis successfully defended in 2008.

If you would like to discuss a possible research project informally, please e-mail Alex (a.christoyannopoulos@lboro.ac.uk), Ruth (r.e.kinna@lboro.ac.uk) or Dave (d.g.berry@lboro.ac.uk).

For further information about the Department see: http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/eu/about/index.html

For more specific information about postgraduate research in the Department, how to apply, etc, see:
http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/eu/studying/research/programmes.html

Dr David Berry,
Senior Lecturer,
Department of Politics, History & International Relations,
Loughborough University,
LE113TU GB
+44(0)1509-222988

University & College Union, Loughborough University Branch: http://www.lboro.ac.uk/orgs/laut/index.html

Anarchism Research Group: http://www.lboro.ac.uk/departments/eu/research/ResearchGroups/AnarchismRG/index.html

Association des Amis de Daniel Guérin: http://danielguerin.info/tiki-index.php

Anarchist Studies Network: http://anarchist-studies-network.org.uk/

Reviews Editor, Anarchist Studies: http://www.lwbooks.co.uk/journals/anarchiststudies/contents.html

Dissidences (Bulletin de Liaison des Etudes sur les Mouvements Révolutionnaires): http://www.dissidences.net/

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Philosophy

MIDDLESEX PHILOSOPHY SEMINAR SERIES 2010-11

This seminar series is open to the public. Seminars will mostly be held on Thursdays, at 6.30pm, but three (30 November, 25 January and 15 February) will be held on Tuesdays at 5.30pm.

Thursday 14 October
Alex Callinicos (Kings College London): ‘Slavoj Žižek and the Critique of Political Economy’

Thursday 28 October
Nina Power (Roehampton): ‘Intellectual Equality: Rancière and Education’

Wednesday 3 November
Workshop: ‘The Humanities and the Idea of the University’

Thursday 11 November
Susan James (Birkbeck): ‘Spinoza, Rembrandt and Suspicion’

Thursday 18 November
Sean Sayers (Kent): ‘Marx’s Concept of Communism’

Tuesday 30 November
Christopher Norris (Cardiff): ‘Aesthetic Ideology Revisited’

Thursday 9 December
Gary Lachman (London): ‘What is Cosmic Consciousness?’

Tuesday 25 January
Robin Le Poidevin (Leeds): ‘The Beginning of Time’

Thursday 3 February
Keith Ansell Pearson (Warwick): ‘Beyond Compassion: On Nietzsche’s Moral Therapy in Dawn’

Tuesday 15 February
Dylan Evans (University College Cork): ‘Is Lacanian Psychoanalysis Wrong, Or Not Even Wrong?’

Thursday 3 March
Marcus Boon (York University, Toronto): ‘The Politics of Just Intonation: Music, Mathematics and Philosophy after La Monte Young’

Thursday 17 March
Martin Liebscher (Institute of Germanic and Romance Studies, London): ‘Sigmund Freud and his Philosophical Mediators’

Thursday 31 March
David Lapoujade (Paris-I Panthéon-Sorbonne): Title to be announced.

Thursday 5 May
Workshop: ‘Hegel Now?’ Including Slavoj Žižek on ‘Is it still possible to be a Hegelian today?’ Further speakers to be confirmed.

All seminars will take place in the Saloon (M004), Mansion Building, Middlesex University, Trent Park campus, Bramley Road, London N14 4YZ. 
Tube: Piccadilly line to Oakwood station, free bus to campus.

Please note that the workshop on Wednesday 3 November, ‘The Humanities and the Idea of the University’, will take place between 11am and 6pm, in the Saloon, Mansion Building. The ‘Hegel Now?’ workshop on 5 May 2011 will take place from 2pm – 8.30pm (room to be announced).

In addition, this semester we will be running two short courses open to the general public. These will take place on Friday afternoons in the Green Room (M009), Mansion Building, between 4-6pm. From 15 October to 12 November,

Meade McCloughan will present a course on Marx’s Capital, and from 26 November to 10 December, Rosa Nogues will present an introduction to French feminist philosophy.

Please direct enquiries to c.kerslake@mdx.ac.uk

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Nietzsche

NIETZSCHE’S POETRY

Friedrich Nietzsche: The Peacock and the Buffalo

Continuum have published ‘The Peacock and the Buffalo’ – the first complete English translation of all 275 poems and aphorisms by Friedrich Nietzsche, presented in a hardback bi-lingual edition.

“This is the first complete English translation of Nietzsche’s poetry. ‘The Peacock and the Buffalo’ presents the first complete English translation of the poetry of the celebrated and hugely influential German thinker, Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900). From his first poems, written at the age of fourteen, to his last extant writings, this definitive bi-lingual edition includes all his 275 poems and aphorisms. Nietzsche’s interest in poetry is no secret, as evidenced in his literary and philosophical masterpiece, ‘Thus Spoke Zarathustra’, not to mention the poetry included in his published philosophical works. This important collection shows that Nietzsche’s commitment to poetry was in fact longstanding and integral to his articulation of the truth and lies of human existence. ‘The Peacock and the Buffalo’ is a must-read for anyone with an interest in German literature or European philosophy.” (The Publishers)

The collection was translated and compiled by James Luchte, who is a Lecturer in European Philosophy at the University of Wales, Lampeter, UK.

Continuum will be celebrating the launch of this book towards the end of the month with a competition through their blog http://continuumphilosophy.typepad.com, Twitter http://twitter.com/continuumphilos and Facebook page http://is.gd/aVp5R.

At Continuum: http://www.continuumbooks.com/search/default.aspx?Text=Friedrich%20Nietzsche (Projected publication date: 6th May 2010)

At Amazon.co.uk: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Peacock-Buffalo-Poetry-Nietzsche/dp/1441118608/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1271590056&sr=1-3

Glenn Rikowski

I have written a few articles on Nietzsche myself, see:

Rikowski, G. (1998) Nietzsche’s School? The Roots of Educational Postmodernism, a paper prepared for the Social Justice Seminar, Semester 2, University of Birmingham, School of Education, 24th March, at The Flow of Ideas web site: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=articles&sub=Nietzsche[a]s%20School

Rikowski, G. (1998) Three Types of Apprenticeship, Three Forms of Mastery: Nietzsche, Marx, Self and Capital, a departmental paper, School of Education, University of Birmingham, 5th June:
http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=articles&sub=Three%20Types%20of%20Apprenticeship%20-%20Three%20Forms%20of%20Mastery

Rikowski, G. (2006) What Can Nietzsche Teach Ya? 16th October, Northampton, online at: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=articles&sub=What%20Can%20Nietzsche%20Teach%20Ya

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Radical Politics

SERIES ON COMMU(O)NISM: OPEN PROCESS, THE ORGANIZATIONAL SPIRIT OF THE INTERNET MODEL

Abstract: The desires and the sources of emancipatory potential of the commons for the cooperative and egalitarian global togetherness, for a new communism born through the new generation of tools and organizational practices, have temporarily been appropriated and hi-jacked by capitalism under the Open Source and to an extent Creative Commons movements. Through and with the Open Process methods of the founding Internet communities, we can make a significant step towards claiming it back. Commu(o)nism, we could call it, is a new emerging form of communism hacked with open process and new commons. The small (o) in the middle stands for open.

Tuesday 16th March, 14-16.00hrs
Room WB117 (Whitehead building, opposite Ian Gulland)
Goldsmiths College, University of London

Gabriella Coleman

”Old and New Net Wars over Free Speech, Freedom and Secrecy, or How to Understand the Hacker and Lulz battle against the Church of Scientology”

Abstract: Why have geeks been compelled to protest the Church of Scientology vehemently for nearly two decades? This talk starts with this question to present a cultural history and political analysis of one of the oldest Internet wars, often referred to as “Internet vs Scientology.” During the 1990s, this war was waged largely on USENET (a large scale messaging board system), while in recent times it has taken the form of “Project Chanology.” This project is orchestrated by a loosely defined group called “Anonymous” who has led a series of online attacks and real world protests, often using a variety of media, against Scientology. I argue that to understand the significance of these battles and protests, we must examine how the two groups stand in a culturally antipodal relation to each other. Through this analysis of cultural inversion, I will consider how long-standing liberal ideals take cultural root in the context of these battles, use these two cases to reveal important political transformations in Internet/hacker culture between the mid 1990s and today and finally will map the tension between pleasure/freedom (the “lulz”) and moral good (“free speech”) found among Anonymous in terms of the tension between liberal freedom and romantic-Nietzschean freedom/pleasure.

Bios:

Gabriella Coleman

Trained as a Cultural Anthropologist, Gabriella Coleman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Media, Culture and Communication at NYU. She researches and teaches on the politics of digital media with a focus on various genealogies of hacking, including Free and Open Source Software, the hacker ungrounded , phone phreaking, trolling, and cryptography/encryption. Between 2001-2003 she conducted ethnographic research on computer hackers primarily in San Francisco and the Netherlands, as well as on the largest free software project, Debian. She is completing a book manuscript “Coding Freedom: Hacker Pleasure and the Ethics of Free and Open Source Software” and is starting a new project on peer to peer patient activism on the Internet.

Toni Prug

Toni Prug is currently a PhD student at the School of Business and Management at Queen Mary College, University of London. With ten years of software and network engineering and hacking behind him, he is working on organizational forms, hacking existing practices, ideologies and state-forms. Along with working with academic journals on implementing aspects of open process cooperation, he is working on a book, “The Objects of Communism”. His work can be followed at http://hackthestate.org/.

Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London: http://www.gold.ac.uk/cultural-studies/

Location: http://www.gold.ac.uk/find-us/

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Karl Marx

MARX AND PHILOSOPHY REVIEW OF BOOKS

Announcing the launch of a new online review of books covering Marxism and philosophy

* First batch of reviews now online

* New reviews added regularly

* Part of the redesigned Marx & Philosophy Society web site

* Edited by Sean Sayers and members of the Society

For reviews and to subscribe go to: http://www.marxandphilosophy.org.uk/reviewofbooks   

Recent reviews:

J.K. Gibson-Graham: The End of Capitalism (As We Knew It): A Feminist Critique of Political Economy (Reviewed by Richard Schmidt)

J.K. Gibson-Graham: A Post-Capitalist Politics (Reviewed by Richard Schmidt)

Amy E. Wendling: Karl Marx on Technology and Alienation (Reviewed by Chris Arthur)

Bill Martin: Ethical Marxism: The Categorical Imperative of Liberation (Reviewed by David Marjoribanks)

Bernard Reginster: The Affirmation of Life: Nietzsche on Overcoming Nihilism (Reviewed by Meade McCloughan)

Andrew Chitty and Martin McIvor (Eds.): Karl Marx and Contemporary Philosophy (Reviewed by David McLellan)

The Marx and Philosophy Review of Books is brought to you by the Marx & Philosophy Society: http://www.marxandphilosophy.org.uk

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Gilles Deleuze

Gilles Deleuze

DELEUZE & RACE

 

Jason Adams

While the relevance of Gilles Deleuze for a materialist feminism has been amply demonstrated in the last two decades or so, what this key philosopher of difference and desire can do for the theorization of race and racism has received surprisingly little attention. This is despite the explicit formulation of a materialist theory of race as instantiated in colonization, sensation, capitalism and culture, particularly in Deleuze’s collaborative work with Félix Guattari.

Part of the explanation of why there has been a relative silence on Deleuze within critical race and colonial studies is that the philosophical impetus for overcoming eugenics and nationalism have for decades been anchored in the conventional readings of Kant and Hegel, which Deleuze laboured to displace. Through the vocabularies of psychoanalysis, deconstruction, and moral philosophy, even the more sophisticated theorizations of race today continue the neo-Kantian/neo-Hegelian programme of retrieving a cosmopolitan universality beneath the ostensibly inconsequential differences called race.

Opposing this idealism, Deleuze instead asks whether the conceptual basis for this program, however commendable, does not foreclose its political aims, particularly in its avoidance of the material relations it seeks to change. The representationalism and oversimplified dialectical frameworks guiding the dominant antiracist programme actively suppress an immanentist legacy which according to Deleuze is far better suited to grasping how power and desire differentiate bodies and populations: the legacies of Spinoza, Marx and Nietzsche; biology and archeology; Virginia Woolf and Jack Kerouac; cinema, architecture, and the fleshy paintings of Francis Bacon. It is symptomatic too, that Foucault’s influential notion of biopolitics, so close to Deleuze and Guattari’s writings on the state, is usually taken up without its explicit grounding in race, territory and capitalist exchange. Similarly, those (like Negri) that twist biopolitics into a mainly Marxian category, meanwhile, lose the Deleuzoguattarian emphasis on racial and sexual entanglement. It would seem then, that it is high time for a rigorous engagement with the many conceptual ties between Foucault’s lectures on biopolitics, Deleuze and Guattari, and Deleuze-influenced feminism, to obtain a new materialist framework for studying racialization as well as the ontopolitics of becoming from which it emerges. While it will inevitably overlap in a few ways, this collection will differ from work done under the “postcolonial” rubric for a number of important reasons.

First, instead of the mental, cultural, therapeutic, or scientific representations of racial difference usually analyzed in postcolonial studies, it will seek to investigate racial difference “in itself”, as it persists as a biocultural, biopolitical force amid other forces. For Deleuze and Guattari, as for Nietzsche before them, race is far from inconsequential, though this does not mean it is set in stone.

Second, as Fanon knew, race is a global phenomenon, with Europe’s racism entirely entwined with settler societies and the continuing poverty in the peripheries. The effects of exploitation, slavery, displacement, war, migration, exoticism and miscegenation are too geographically diffuse and too contemporary to fit comfortably under the name “postcolonial”. Rather, we seek to illuminate the material divergences that phenotypical variation often involves, within any social, cultural or political locus.

Third, again like Nietzsche, but also Freud, Deleuze and Guattari reach into the deep recesses of civilization to expose an ancient and convoluted logic of racial discrimination preceding European colonialism by several millennia. Far from naturalizing racism, this nomadological and biophilosophical “geology of morals” shows that racial difference is predicated on fully contingent territorializations of power and desire, that can be disassembled and reassembled differently. That race is immanent to the materiality of the body then, does not mean that it is static any more than that it is simple: rather what it suggests is that its transformation is an always already incipient reality.

Possible themes:

CIVILIZATION AND ITS DISCONTENTS – Oedipus and racialization – fascist desire – civilization, savagery and barbarism – earth and its peoples – delirium and hallucination as racial – miscegenation

CAPITALISM – faciality – colonization and labor migration as racializing apparatuses of capture – urban segregation – environmental racism

POLITICS – hate speech and law as order-words – D&G, May ’68 and the third world – Deleuze and Palestine – Guattari and Brazil – terrorist war machines and societies of control – Deleuzian feminism and race

SCIENCE – neuroscience and race – continuing legacies of racist science and the “Bell Curve” debate – kinship, rhizomatics and arboreality – animals, plants, minerals and racial difference – miscegenation – evolutionary biology and human phenotypical variation – vitalism and Nazism

ART – affects of race (sport, hiphop, heavy metal, disco…) – primitivism (Rimbaud, Michaux, Artaud, Tournier, Castaneda, etc.) – vision, cinema and race – music, resonance and bodies

PHILOSOPHY – geophilosophy: provincializing canonical philosophy – race and becoming – decolonizing Spinoza, Leibniz, Hume, Schelling… – the effect of criticisms of Deleuze (Badiou, Zizek, Hallward) on antiracism Chapters will be between 4000 and 7000 words long.

Arun Saldanha will write the introduction and a chapter called “Bastard and mixed-blood are the true names of race”.

Jason Michael Adams will write the conclusion.

For more details on this project, contact Jason Adams at: adamsj@HAWAII.EDU

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Unusual Pussus

Unusual Pussus

ENGAGING PETER McLAREN AND THE NEW MARXISM IN EDUCATION

 

David Geoffrey Smith

Interchange, Vol.40/1, pp.93-117 (2009) 

David Geoffrey Smith has written a very interesting and useful article in the latest issue of Interchange. Not only does he review Peter McLaren’s Rage + Hope: Interviews with Peter McLaren on War, Imperialism, & Critical Pedagogy (Peter Lang Publishing, 2006), but he also explores the New Marxism in Education, or the New Marxist Educational Theory (as it is sometimes called). Thus, he examines the impact of McLaren’s work along with other writers on the New Marxism in Education: Paula Allman, Glenn Rikowski, Mike Cole and Dave Hill.

He does spell my name wrong, though: having ‘Glen’ rather than ‘Glenn’ Rikowski. But that’s easily forgivable as Smith has produced an enlightening article. 

You can view the article at: http://www.springerlink.com/content/858j592687nt2554/fulltext.pdf

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