Ayn Rand From the Left

deadline for submissions: 
January 12, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Neil Cocks/The University of Reading, UK
contact email: 

We welcome early expressions of interest for this one-day conference will take place at The University Reading, UK in Fall 2018. More details to be posted soon.

Email Dr. Neil Cocks at n.h.cocks@reading.ac.uk

Presentations will be of either 20 or 40 minutes duration. Although the conference is primarily concerned with literature, any approach to Ayn Rand from the Left is welcome.


Literary criticism on the Left has ignored Ayn Rand. Why engage work that is clearly so politically irredeemable? Especially when it is also so vulgar, so confused, so…silly?

 It is a tactic of avoidance that comes at a cost. Topping Amazon sales charts, endorsed by the most powerful politicians in America, deified by the Alt-Right, legitimised by weighty academic tomes, Rand has emerged as a major force within contemporary culture, one that meets with little organised resistance. Perhaps we need to start reading Atlas Shrugged.

This conference will mark the first attempt to offer a sustained academic critique of Rand’s literature and philosophy.

It will, however, also ask what a study of Rand might contribute to wider contemporary debates within literature theory. For example, to what extent might a study of Rand help us frame and think through constructions of: genre; queer; nationhood; originality; the popular; paranoia; childhood; affect; listening; violence; austerity?

Questioning Rand through literary theory.

Questioning literary theory through Rand.