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Communist Study

Education for the Commons

Derek R. Ford

Communist Study: Education for the Commons poses a series of educational questions pertinent to revolutionary movements: How can pedagogy bridge the gap between what is and what can be, while respecting the gap and its uncertainty and figurality? How can pedagogy accommodate ambiguity while remaining faithful to the communist project? In answering these questions, educational theorist Derek R. Ford develops a pedagogical constellation that radically opens up what education is and what it can mean for revolutionary struggle. To chart this constellation, Ford takes the reader on a journey that traverses disciplinary and ideological boundaries, innovatively reading theorists as diverse as Agamben, Marx, Lyotard, Butler, and Lenin. Demonstrating that learning is the educational logic that underpins capitalism and democracy, Ford articulates a theory of communist study as an alternative and oppositional logic. Poetic, performative, and provocative, this theory of study is oriented toward what Ford calls “the sublime feeling of being-in-common,” which, as he insists, is always a commonness against. « less more »
Lexington Books
Pages: 170Size: 6 x 9
978-1-4985-3244-0 • Hardback • September 2016 • $80.00 • (£52.95)
978-1-4985-3245-7 • eBook • September 2016 • $79.99 • (£52.95)
Derek R. Ford is assistant professor of education studies at DePauw University.

Foreword. Toward a Communist Philosophy of Education: Reflections on Method and Methodology (Tyson E. Lewis)


Introduction: A partisan theory of study

Part one: Subject

Chapter 1: Subject formation
Chapter 2: Immaterial subjects (and the fetish thereof)

Part two: Study

Chapter 3: Studying whatever
Chapter 4: The secret struggle
Chapter 5: The terror of democracy
Chapter 6: Figure

Part three: Struggle

Chapter 7: In praise of tanks
Chapter 8: Party
Conclusion: Architectures of resistance

Afterword: It’s a Wednesday: To be a problem-with, to be a problem-for (Ailish Hopper)



About the author
[S]uccinct yet dense. . . . Ford’s thinking on communist study is open, potential, and original in pointing out a new possibility of thinking itself.
Studies in Philosophy and Education

This book clearly establishes Ford as one of the boldest and most insightful emerging political and educational theorists. Ford moves deftly and daringly between disparate thinkers and concepts, weaving together philosophy, history, and educational theory in creative, profound, and lucid ways. He identifies and answers the most pressing political question of our moment: What does it mean to study like a communist? In doing so, he develops a groundbreaking communist theory of study, a praxis that is as provocative as it is practical.
Peter McLaren, Chapman University

Communist Study should be required of all theorists and activists concerned with radical political transformation. With brilliance and courage, Derek R. Ford dismantles dogma old and new, pressing us to forge the commonness that can make us a political force.
Jodi Dean, Hobart and William Smith Colleges

Ford understands that revolutions don’t organize themselves, nor do they evolve naturally and painlessly from the social and economic system destroying the world and crushing humanity today; revolutions are not a walk in the park nor do they arrive on the wings of aspiration alone. This surprising book extends that battle based on the Marxist principle that it’s not enough to interpret the world—‘The point . . . is to change it.’ It maps the treacherous, hopeful territory between the pessimism of the head and the optimism of the heart. Communist Study is a necessary book.
Bill Ayers, emeritus, University of Illinois at Chicago