Dr. Alex Levant
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Alex Levant -- Ph.D. (Social and Political Thought - York University), M.A. (Theory, Culture, Politics - Trent University), B.A. (English Literature and Film Studies - Wilfrid Laurier University)
His areas of research include critical media theory, political economy of communication, cultural studies, globalization, social movements, and critical 'race' theory, among others.
He heads the Activity Theory Project -- a SSHRC-funded two-year inquiry that aims to trace the development of Activity Theory (AT) worldwide and to place it in dialogue with other methods for the study of subjectivity at the intersection of social and political thought and critical media theory.
Activity Theory Links:
Mind, Culture, and Activity international journal:
Laboratory for Comparative Human Cognition at UC San Diego:
Center for Activity Theory and Developmental Work Research:
Oxford Centre for Sociocultural and Activity Theory Research:
The Center for Human Activity Theory (CHAT):
The International Society for Cultural and Activity Research (ISCAR):
Classics in Activity Theory:
In Dialectics of the Ideal: Evald Ilyenkov and Creative Soviet Marxism, Levant and Oittinen provide a window into the subterranean tradition of ‘creative’ Soviet Marxism, which developed on the margins of the Soviet academe and remains largely outside the orbit of contemporary theory in the West. With his ‘activity approach’, E.V. Ilyenkov, its principal figure in the post-Stalin period, makes a substantial contribution toward an anti-reductionist theory of the subject, which should be of interest to contemporary theorists who seek to avoid economic and cultural reductionism as well as the malaise of postmodern relativism. This volume features Levant’s translation of Ilyenkov’s Dialectics of the Ideal (2009), which remained unpublished until thirty years after the author’s tragic suicide in 1979.
Contemporary scholarship tends to view the Soviet Union as a finished chapter in Russian and world history. However, the ruins of Soviet society continue to haunt the Russian body politic in profound ways. By examining parliamentary, street, and cultural politics, souvenirs, markets, and thinkers over a period of six months in Moscow, this book reflects on the significance of the ruins of the Soviet Union. These ruins include Soviet memorabilia, the Communist Party of the Russian Federation, Lenin look-alikes in Red Square, the Soviet Anthem, the former speech writer for Yuri Andropov, May Day and Victory Day celebrations, as well as the work of Soviet philosophers, like Evald Ilyenkov and Merab Mamardashvili, literary theorists like Valentin Voloshinov, developmental psychologists like Lev Vygotsky, and many others. It analyzes the significance of these ruins using the work of the above Soviet thinkers and Western theorists, as well as contemporary Russian commentators, like Alexander Buzgalin and Vadim Mezhuev. This interdisciplinary analysis should be of interest to scholars in various fields, including Political Science, Cultural Studies, and Social Theory.
Levant, Alex (2011) "Soviet Pins: Souvenirs as Spoils in the Triumphal Procession," Studia Sociologia, thematic issue: Politics of memory, memory of politics. Communism outside the "anti-communist industry". Vol. 56, Issue 2, pp. 59-74.
Levant, Alex (2009) "De spontaneïteit voorbij het klassieke marxisme: Rosa Luxemburg met de hulp van Benjamin, Gramsci en Thompson opnieuw bekeken", Vlaams Marxistisch Tijdschrift, (Brussels) Vol. 43, (No. 2).
Levant, Alex (2014) “The Ideal and the Dream World - Evald Ilyenkov and Walter Benjamin on the Signifiance of Material Objects," in Vesa Oittinen ed. The Activity Approach in Soviet Philosophy. Leiden: Brill, (forth.)
Levant, Alex (2014) “Ilyenkov in the Context of Soviet Philosophical Culture: An Interview with Sergey Mareev,” (with Vesa Oittinen) in Dialectics of the Ideal: Evald Ilyenkov and Creative Soviet Marxism. (Ed. with Vesa Oittinen) Leiden: Brill. (forth.)
Levant, Alex (2014) “E.V. Ilyenkov and Creative Soviet Marxism: An Introduction to Dialectics of the Ideal,” in Dialectics of the Ideal: Evald Ilyenkov and Creative Soviet Marxism. (Ed. with Vesa Oittinen) Leiden: Brill. (forth.)
Levant, Alex (2014) “Emancipating Open Marxism: E.V. Ilyenkov's Post-Cartesian Anti-Dualism,” in Dialectics of the Ideal: Evald Ilyenkov and Creative Soviet Marxism. (Ed. with Vesa Oittinen) Leiden: Brill. (forth.)
Levant, Alex (2013) «Гладить Историю Против Шерсти» / форма стоимости и идеальная форма советских значков [Brushing History Against the Grain: The Value-form and the Ideal-form of the Soviet School Pin] in Проблема Истории В Творчестве Э.В. Ильенкова [The Problem of History in the Work of E.V. Ilyenkov], S.N. Mareev, et al. (eds.) Moscow: Academy of Contemporary Humanities.
Levant, Alex (2012) "Emancipating Open Marxism: E.V. Ilyenkov's Post-Cartesian Anti-Dualism" in Э.В. Ильенков: Идеальное. Мышление. Сознание., E.V. Mareeva (ed.) Moscow: Academy of Contemporary Humanities.
Levant, Alex (2011) “Идеальное и «призрачный мир» / Эвальд Ильенков и Вальтер Беньямин о значении материального объекта [The Ideal and the Dream World - Evald Ilyenkov and Walter Benjamin on the Signifiance of Material Objects]” in Мышление и Деятельность [Thought and Activity], T.E. Petrova (ed.) Moscow: Academy of Contemporary Humanities.
Levant, Alex and Kuhling, Clarice (2006) "Political Deskilling/Reskilling: Flyingsquads and the Crisis of Working Class Consciousness/Self-Organization,” in Caelie Frampton et al. eds., Sociology for Changing the World: Social Movement/Social Research. Winnipeg: Fernwood, pp. 209-230.
Levant, Alex (2009) Consulting editor. “Special Section on Rethinking Leninism,” Journal of the Society for Socialist Studies, Vol. 5 (No. 2).
Other Scholarly Publications