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Ellen Meiksins Wood

Meiksins Wood in 2012
Ellen Meiksins

(1942-04-12)April 12, 1942
DiedJanuary 14, 2016(2016-01-14) (aged 73)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • American
  • Canadian
Other namesEllen Wood
  • (m. 1968; died 2003)
  • (m. 2014)
Academic background
Alma mater
ThesisEpistemological Foundations of Individualism (1970)
Academic work
DisciplinePolitical science
Sub-disciplinePolitical theory
School or traditionPolitical Marxism
InstitutionsYork University
Notable works
Notable ideasPolitical Marxism
InfluencedGáspár Miklós Tamás

Ellen Meiksins Wood FRSC (April 12, 1942 – January 14, 2016) was an American-Canadian Marxist political theorist and historian.


Wood was born in New York City on April 12, 1942, as Ellen Meiksins one year after her parents, Latvian Jews active in the Bund, arrived in New York from Europe as political refugees. She was raised in the United States and Europe.

Wood received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Slavic languages from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1962 and subsequently entered the graduate program in political science at the University of California, Los Angeles, from which she received her Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1970. From 1967 to 1996, she taught political science at Glendon College, York University, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.[1][2]

With Robert Brenner, Ellen Meiksins Wood articulated the foundations of political Marxism, a strand of Marxist theory that places history at the centre of its analysis.[3] It provoked a turn away from structuralisms and teleology towards historical specificity as contested process and lived praxis.

Meiksins Wood's many books and articles were sometimes written in collaboration with her husband, Neal Wood (1922–2003). Her work has been translated into many languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, French, German, Romanian, Turkish, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese. Of these, The Retreat from Class received the Deutscher Memorial Prize in 1988.[4][verification needed] Wood served on the editorial committee of the British journal New Left Review between 1984 and 1993. From 1997 to 2000, Wood was an editor, along with Harry Magdoff and Paul Sweezy, of Monthly Review, the socialist magazine.

In 1996, she was inducted into the Royal Society of Canada, a marker of distinguished scholarship.[5] She and Neal Wood divided their time between England and Canada until he died in 2003.[6]

In 2014, she married Ed Broadbent, former leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada, with whom she lived in Ottawa and London for six years until her death from cancer at the age of 73.[6][7]


Sole author

Co-authored with Neal Wood

Co-edited collections

Publications available online

See also


  1. ^ "An interview with Ellen Meiksins Wood". By Christopher Phelps. Monthly Review (May 1999).
  2. ^ "York professors named to Royal Society," The York University Gazette, Vol. 27, No. 8, October 23, 1996. ISSN 1199-5246 [Retrieved April 18, 2010]
  3. ^ Political Marxism and the Social Sciences
  4. ^ "York professors named to Royal Society," The York University Gazette, Vol. 27, No. 8 (October 23, 1996) ISSN 1199-5246 [Retrieved April 18, 2010]
  5. ^ "RSC: The Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada". Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved August 19, 2007.
  6. ^ a b "Ellen Meiksins Wood, author and third wife of Ed Broadbent, dead at 73". Victoria Times-Colonist. Canadian Press. January 14, 2016. Archived from the original on January 14, 2016. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
  7. ^ "Remembering Ellen Meiksins Wood". The Broadbent Blog. The Broadbent Institute. January 14, 2016. Retrieved January 14, 2016.


Book reviews


Awards Preceded byRobert Brenner Deutscher Memorial Prize 1986 Succeeded byTeodor Shanin