Dr. Alex Levant
Contract Academic Staff
Contact InformationEmail: email@example.com
Office Location: W13: DAWB 3-129 (office hours only)
Office Hours: W13: Wednesday 3-4pm - 3-129 DAWB
Alex Levant received his B.A. in English Literature and Film Studies (Wilfrid Laurier University), his M.A. in Theory, Culture, Politics (Trent), and his Ph.D. in Social and Political Thought (York). He also held a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Sociology (Goldsmiths). His research interests are diverse and interdisciplinary. He is interested in forms of subjectivity produced by contemporary social movements in the context of globalisation. He is also interested in several schools of thought that produce this knowledge, including Critical Theory, Italian Operaismo and post-Operaismo, Cultural-Historical Activity Theory, Critical ‘Race’ Theory, Cultural Studies, and contemporary continental philosophy more broadly. He has made a contribution through his work on 'creative' Soviet Marxism - a subterranean tradition that emerged in the 1960s (although rooted in Cultural-Historical Activity Theory from the 1920s and 30s) as a challenge to official Soviet Diamat, and which offers an anti-reductionist and anti-dualist conception of subjectivity.
In the 2012/13 academic year, he will be teaching the following courses:
Fall 2012: CS310A Globalization & Communication, CS312A Image, Sound, Text
Winter 2013: CS310B Globalization & Communication, GS405S Crisis, Austerity, Resistance
Levant, Alex and Vesa Oittinen, eds. (2013) Dialectics of the Ideal: Evald Ilyenkov and Creative Soviet Marxism. Leiden: Brill (forth.)
In Dialectics of the Ideal: Evald Ilyenkov and Creative Soviet Marxism Levant and Oittinen provide a window into the subterranean tradition of ‘creative’ Soviet Marxism, which developed on the margins of the Soviet academe and remains largely outside the orbit of contemporary theory in the West. With his ‘activity approach’, E.V. Ilyenkov, its principal figure in the post-Stalin period, makes a substantial contribution toward an anti-reductionist Marxist theory of the subject, which should be of interest to contemporary theorists who seek to avoid economic and cultural reductionism as well as the malaise of postmodern relativism. This volume features Levant’s translation of Ilyenkov’s Dialectics of the Ideal (2009), which remained unpublished until thirty years after the author’s tragic suicide in 1979.
Contemporary scholarship tends to view the Soviet Union as a finished chapter in Russian and world history. However, the ruins of Soviet society continue to haunt the Russian body politic in profound ways. By examining parliamentary, street, and cultural politics, souvenirs, markets, and thinkers over a period of six months in Moscow, this book reflects on the significance of the ruins of the Soviet Union. These ruins include Soviet memorabilia, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Lenin look-alikes in Red Square, the Soviet Anthem, the former speech writer for Yuri Andropov, May Day and Victory Day celebrations, as well as the work of Soviet philosophers, like Evald Ilyenkov and Merab Mamardashvili, literary theorists like Valentin Voloshinov, developmental psychologists like Lev Vygotsky, and many others. It analyzes the significance of these ruins using the work of the above Soviet thinkers and Western theorists, as well as contemporary Russian commentators, like Alexander Buzgalin and Vadim Mezhuev. This interdisciplinary analysis should be of interest to scholars in various fields, including Political Science, Cultural Studies, and Social Theory.
Levant, Alex (2011) "Soviet Pins: Souvenirs as Spoils in the Triumphal Procession," Studia Sociologia, thematic issue: Politics of memory, memory of politics. Communism outside the "anti-communist industry". Vol. 56, Issue 2, pp. 59-74.
Levant, Alex (2013) “The Ideal and the Dream World - Evald Ilyenkov and Walter Benjamin on the Signifiance of Material Objects," in Vesa Oittinen ed. The Activity Approach in Soviet Philosophy. Leiden: Brill, (forth.)
Levant, Alex (2012) "Emancipating Open Marxism: E.V. Ilyenkov's Post-Cartesian Anti-Dualism" in Э.В. Ильенков: Идеальное. Мышление. Сознание., E.V. Mareeva (ed.) Moscow: Academy of Contemporary Humanities.
Levant, Alex (2011) “Идеальное и «призрачный мир» / Эвальд Ильенков и Вальтер Беньямин о значении материального объекта [The Ideal and the Dream World - Evald Ilyenkov and Walter Benjamin on the Signifiance of Material Objects]” in Мышление и Деятельность [Thought and Activity], T.E. Petrova (ed.) Moscow: Academy of Contemporary Humanities.Levant, Alex and Kuhling, Clarice (2006) "Political Deskilling/Reskilling: Flyingsquads and the Crisis of Working Class Consciousness/Self-Organization,” in Caelie Frampton et al. eds., Sociology for Changing the World: Social Movement/Social Research. Winnipeg: Fernwood, pp. 209-230.
Levant, Alex (2009) Consulting editor. “Special Section on Rethinking Leninism,” Journal of the Society for Socialist Studies, Vol. 5 (No. 2).
Other Scholarly Publications