Jodi Dean
Born (1962-04-09) April 9, 1962 (age 61)
Alma materPrinceton University (B.A.)
Columbia University (MA, MPhil, PhD)
SchoolMarxism, psychoanalysis, postmodernism
InstitutionsHobart and William Smith Colleges

Jodi Dean (born April 9, 1962) is an American political theorist and professor in the Political Science department at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in New York state.[1] She held the Donald R. Harter ’39 Professorship of the Humanities and Social Sciences from 2013 to 2018.[2] Dean has also held the position of Erasmus Professor of the Humanities in the Faculty of Philosophy at Erasmus University Rotterdam.[3] She is the author and editor of thirteen books.[4] Her most recent book is titled Comrade: An Essay on Political Belonging (Verso 2019).[5]


Dean received her B.A. in History from Princeton University in 1984. She received her MA, MPhil, and PhD from Columbia University in 1992. Before joining the Department of Political Science at Hobart and William Smith Colleges, she taught at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She has held visiting research appointments at the Institute for the Human Sciences in Vienna, McGill University in Montreal, and Cardiff University in Wales.[citation needed] She is an active member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation.[6][7]


Emphasizing the use of Leninism, psychoanalysis, and certain postmodernist theories, Dean has made contributions to political theory, media studies and third-wave feminism, most notably with her theory of communicative capitalism—the online merging of democracy and capitalism into a single neoliberal formation that subverts the democratic impulses of the masses by valuing emotional expression over logical discourse.[8] She has spoken and lectured in Austria, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, England, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Turkey, the United States, and Wales. She was formerly co-editor of the political theory journal Theory & Event.[9]

The Communist Horizon

In the first few chapters of her 2012 book The Communist Horizon, Dean surveys the contemporary political landscape, noting the persistence of anti-communist rhetoric more than twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall.[10] She says that capitalists, conservatives, liberals, and social democrats all agree that 20th-century communist regimes were unqualified failures, thereby limiting the scope of discussion around political alternatives to liberal democracy and free markets, a fusion of which constitutes Dean's conception of neoliberalism.[citation needed] She asserts that when people think of capitalism they do not consider what she believes are its worst results (unemployment, economic inequality, hyperinflation, climate change, robber barons, the Great Depression, and the Great Recession) because the history of capitalism is viewed as dynamic and nuanced. By contrast, Dean writes that the history of communism is not considered dynamic or nuanced. Instead, there is a fixed historical narrative of communism that emphasizes authoritarianism, the gulag, starvation, and violence.[11][12]

First, Dean holds that communism is widely viewed as interchangeable with the Soviet Union; communist experiments in Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, or Latin American are often given little attention. Second, Dean asserts that the seventy-year history of the Soviet Union is condensed to the twenty-six years of Joseph Stalin's rule. Third, Dean thinks it is reductive to consider Stalin's violence, political suppression, and authoritarian rule—the purges, the great famines and the gulag—as the events that accurately represent communism because that ignores the modernization and industrialization of the Soviet economy, the successes of the Soviet space program, and the relative increase in the standard of living in the formerly agrarian economy. Fourth, Dean holds that the late Soviet years and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 were the result of the political and economic rigidity of Stalin and his successors until Mikhail Gorbachev began glasnost and perestroika. On Dean's view, the history of Stalinism becomes the basis on which discussions around alternatives to capitalism are silenced. Lastly, Dean contends that Stalinism is seen as proof that communism cannot work in practice because any challenge to the political status quo will inevitably result in purges and violence.[11][12]






  1. ^ "Academics". Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  2. ^ "Endowed Professor Spotlight: Jodi Dean". The HWS Update. Hobart and William Smith Colleges. December 20, 2018. Retrieved August 16, 2020.
  3. ^ "Politics without Politics".
  4. ^ "Jodi Dean". Los Angeles Review of Books. Retrieved August 16, 2020.
  5. ^ Alvarez, Maximillian (October 11, 2019). "The Comradely Professor". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved August 16, 2020.
  6. ^ "Jodi Dean – Crowds and Party – Rock Salted". Retrieved June 25, 2020.
  7. ^ Featherstone, Liza (May 17, 2020). "The Left in Lockdown". Jacobin. Retrieved January 11, 2024. Without being part of a political organization, she says — Dean is a member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) — this difficult political moment might have overwhelmed her. As soon as the shutdown hit, however, the PSL assigned her to lead online study groups. "I would have been sucked into misery," she says. "But the party gave me a sense of duty and responsibility."
  8. ^ "AEJMC". Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  9. ^ "The Johns Hopkins University Press – Theory & Event". Johns Hopkins University Press. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  10. ^ Jodi Dean (2012). The Communist Horizon. New York: Verso.
  11. ^ a b Jule Ehms (March 9, 2014). "The Communist Horizon". Marx & Philosophy Society. Retrieved October 29, 2018.
  12. ^ a b Ghodsee, Kristen (2015). The Left Side of History: World War II and the Unfulfilled Promise of Communism in Eastern Europe. Duke University Press. p. xvi–xvii. ISBN 978-0822358350.
  13. ^ "Solidarity of Strangers". Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  14. ^ "Feminism and the New Democracy: Resisting the Political". Archived from the original on January 13, 2015. Retrieved January 13, 2015.
  15. ^ "Aliens in America". Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  16. ^ "Publicity's Secret". Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  17. ^ "Zizek's Politics". August 14, 2006. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  18. ^ "Duke University Press". Archived from the original on July 17, 2012. Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  19. ^ Dean, Jodi (August 30, 2010). Blog Theory: Feedback and Capture in the Circuits of Drive: Jodi Dean: 9780745649702: Books. ISBN 978-0745649702.
  20. ^ "". Retrieved October 26, 2015.
  21. ^ "". Retrieved March 18, 2016.
  22. ^ "". Retrieved November 3, 2019.
External videos
video icon Jodi Dean – Communism or Feudalism? on YouTube
video icon Roe v. Capitalism with Professor Jodi Dean on YouTube
video icon A Proposal to Save the Climate: ‘Decommodify, Decolonize and Decarbonize the Country’ w/ Jodi Dean on YouTube