In her newest book, Comrade: An Essay on Political Belonging, Professor of Political Science Jodi Dean offers a theory of the comrade as a mode of address, figure of belonging, and carrier of expectations for action. Published Oct. 1 by Verso Press, Comrade analyzes the tensions and challenges among the contemporary left that arise from the substitution of political identity for a relation of political belonging that must be built, sustained and defended.
“In this era of hashtag politics, branding, and call out culture, when ‘identity politics’ functions more like enclosure than grounds for solidarity, when planetary annihilation is deemed inevitable and racism permanent, Jodi Dean recovers the keyword absent from our radical vocabulary: Comrade,” writes Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Tradition. “Her guided tour through communist histories reveals the power of comrade as a form of revolutionary belonging, a mode of address, a great equalizer, and an expression of disciplined and committed love distinct from eros, philia, and agape. Read Comrade. Be Comrades!”
Dean, who held the Donald R. Harter ’39 Professorship of the Humanities and Social Sciences from 2013 to 2018, is the author or editor of 13 books, including Blog Theory, The Communist Horizon and Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies. An expert in contemporary political theory, Dean published her most recent book, Crowds and Party in 2016, arguing for a vision of leftist politics with a renewed focus on the political party as a vehicle for lasting change.
A recipient of the Colleges’ 1998 faculty award for scholarship, Dean has presented her work at conferences and universities around the world and published articles in renowned scholarly journals and periodicals. She was a 2013-14 fellow at the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University, where she continued research around crowds and the implications of a collective desire for collectivity.
Dean, who holds a Ph.D. and M.A. from Columbia University and B.A. from Princeton, joined the HWS faculty in 1993. Against the backdrop of political theory, her courses engage students in everything from climate change to feminism. In addition to her teaching duties, Dean has served as director of the Fisher Center for the Study of Gender and Justice since 2012.