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.
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.
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.