While the two candidates fight to put their mark on modern democracy in the days leading up to the election, the nation struggles to even understand what democracy is. In a recent lecture at Wesleyan University (Middletown, Conn.), Professor of Political Science Jodi Dean argued that democracy is a trap for left politics.
In a plenary address delivered at the annual meeting of the Association for Political Theory (APT), Dean analyzed the way democracy appears as the solution to the problems of democracy. When democracy was an alternative to absolutism, fascism or colonialism, it had radical potential, she explained. But when both right and left express their goals in terms of democracy, it loses its radical edge. Dean delivered her address, titled “Politics without Politics” to several hundred faculty and graduate students in political theory, political philosophy and the history of political thought.
The APT Conference, which was held Oct. 9-12, provided a collegial setting for scholars of various professional ranks, institutional affiliations and theoretical approaches to engage one another in fruitful discussions of their work. The APT seeks to engage all the various traditions and approaches to political thought and philosophy. More specifically, the Association seeks to advance scholarly interaction, collaboration and debate among political theorists and to support teaching, research, and publishing in political theory, political philosophy, and related forms of interdisciplinary studies.
Dean has been with the Colleges since 1993. She received a B.A. from Princeton University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Columbia University. She is a past recipient of the faculty award for scholarship. Dean is also the author of a wide-ranging body of work including “Aliens in America: Conspiracy Cultures from Outerspace to Cyberspace,” and “Publicity’s Secret: How Technoculture Capitalizes on Democracy.” In 2009, Duke University Press will publish her 9th book, “Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies.”