In the second edition of this groundbreaking work, Derek R. Ford contends that radical politics needs educational theory, posing 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 contingency? How can pedagogy accommodate ambiguity while remaining faithful to the communist project? In answering these questions, Ford develops a dynamic pedagogical constellation that radically opens up what education is and what it can mean for revolutionary struggle. In charting this constellation, Ford takes the reader on a journey that traverses disciplinary boundaries, innovatively reading theorists as diverse as Lenin, Agamben, Marx, Lyotard, Althusser, and Butler. Demonstrating how learning underpins capitalism and democracy, Ford articulates a theory of communist study as an alternative and oppositional logic that, perhaps paradoxically, demands the revolutionary reclamation of testing. Poetic, performative, and provocative, Communist Study is oriented toward what Ford calls “the sublime feeling of being-in-common,” which, as he insists, is always a commonness against.
Derek R. Ford is assistant professor of education studies at DePauw University.
Foreword to the First Edition: Toward a Communist Philosophy of Education: Reflections on Method and Methodology
Tyson E. Lewis
Preface to the Second Edition
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
Chapter 7: Negation
Part Three: Struggle
Chapter 8: The Harsh Reality of Historical Materialism
Chapter 9: Party
Chapter 10: The Revolutionary Test
Conclusion: Architectures of Resistance
Afterword to the First Edition: It’s a Wednesday: To Be a Problem-With, to Be a Problem-For
About the Author
The first edition of Communist Study immediately established Ford as one of the boldest and most insightful political and educational theorists. It broke new ground in the field of education, and this edition advances Ford's original conceptual and practical work to meet our current conjuncture. 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 subversive educational praxis, one that is as provocative as it is practical.
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.