Title: Neither Capitalist nor American: The Democracy as Social Movement
13 - February - Lecture
15 - February - Discussion
Lecturer: Michael Denning, Professor of American Studies and Chair of the Program in Ethnicity, Race and Migration

Michael Denning is Professor of American Studies and Chair of the Program in Ethnicity, Race and Migration. Before arriving at Yale in 1987, he had taught at Columbia University and Wesleyan University. His early work was on popular literature and culture, and was published as Cover Stories: Narrative and Ideology in the British Spy Thriller, and Mechanic Accents: Dime Novels and Working-Class Culture in America. His most recent book, The Cultural Front: The Laboring of American Culture in the Twentieth Century, is a history of the culture and social movements that reshaped American modernism and mass culture in the twentieth century. He is currently working on an introduction to Marx's Capital, The Mysteries of Capital, and a study of Culture in the Age of Three Worlds. He is a member of the national board of Scholars, Artists, and Writers for Social Justice.

Professor Denning was born in Vermont in 1954, the child of public school teachers, and grew up in upstate New York. He graduated from Dartmouth College in 1976, and did graduate work at the University of Birmingham's Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies, and at Yale, where he took his Ph.D. in American Studies in 1984. He is married to Hazel V. Carby, the chair of African-American Studies at Yale, and they have one son, Nicholas.

Lecture Description:

In the decades when the modern social movements - the labor movement, the women's movement, the abolitionist movement, and the anti-colonial movement, were invented, a new definition of "the democracy" was recorded. "The portion of the people whose injury is the most manifest, have got or taken the title of the democracy." At a moment when historic breakthroughs to political democracy are accompanied by the wholesale destruction of social democracy, when the concept of "democracy" has been redefined by the opponents of the democracy, Professor Denning's lecture will return to the notion of "the democracy" as a social movement, reconsidering the democracy's relation to capitalism and to the American state, and taking up the lack of democracy in civil society - particularly in the workplace - by reflecting on the recently published Human Rights Watch report, Unfair Advantage: Workers' Freedom of Association in the United States under International Human Rights Standards.

Copyright 2001, Michael Denning






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