Jodi Dean, associate professor of political science, is the author of a new book on the political philosophy of one of modern Europe’s great philosophers.
“Žižek’s Politics,” Dean’s eighth book, takes an in-depth look at the Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek. World famous for his challenging topics and his often enigmatic writing, Žižek’s work, according to Dean, is a “rigorous combination of Hegel and Lucan combined with Hitchcock movies and sprinkled with lots of jokes.”
An important, modern, but often cryptic writer, Žižek’s work is frequently challenging for newcomers to philosophy. Dean’s text is the first thorough examination of Žižek’s political thought, condensed in a way that is suitable for “advanced undergraduates,” she said.
Dean, who was responsible for bringing Žižek to the Hobart and William Smith campus in 2004 for the talk “Confessions of a Leninist,” says Žižek is also important as an expression of Eastern European identity and the struggle, political and psychological, with Communism. “He learned from the Stalinist experience,” she said. “Since 1989, [the West has] championed the victory of Capitalism without really examining the situation any further, without learning from the past.”
“The best thing about Jodi Dean's book is that it is not just about Žižek's politics,” said Mladen Dolar, senior research fellow at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, in a review. “To be sure, it provides the much needed first lucid and comprehensive account of it. But through Žižek it is more simply and fundamentally about reinventing the politics for today.”
Dean has been with the Colleges since 1993. She received the B.A. from Princeton University and the M.A. and Ph.D. from Columbia University. She has previously been the 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.” Dean’s article on the latter topic was named “The Most-Frequently Cited Article” in “Political Theory,” an academic journal of political theory, earlier this year.
“Žižek’s Politics” was published this month by Routledge. Copies are now available at the College Store.