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.

ABOUT: 

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.