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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Arts
May 31, 2016

Canadian Excellence

Dr. Alex Levant

Assistant Professor

Contact Information
Phone: (519) 884-1970 ext.4879

Office Location: 2-142
Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 12-1pm
Personal Website:

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 classical and contemporary critical media theory, new/future media technologies (mobile communication, social media, robotics), cultural studies, globalization, collective memory, social movements and social change.

He is teaching the following courses in 2015-2016:

CS202 Nonverbal Communication (W)

CS310 Globalization&Communication (F/W)

CS402 Posthuman Subjectivities (F/W)

He heads the Activity Theory Project- a SSHRC-funded two-year inquiry that aims to trace the development of Activity Theory (AT), an interdisciplinary methodological approach to the study of the origin and development of the mind, identity, and the self. Its core proposition is that these are neither strictly biological nor discursive phenomena, but develop only in the context of specific social practices - activities in which individuals are embedded. The objective of the project is to produce an account of the development of this body of thought 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):

Ilyenkov Archive:

Vygotsky Archive:

Leontiev Archive:

Classics in Activity Theory:


Levant, Alex and Vesa Oittinen, eds. (2014) Dialectics of the Ideal: Evald Ilyenkov and Creative Soviet Marxism. Leiden: Brill

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 Levants translation of Ilyenkovs Dialectics of the Ideal (2009), which remained unpublished until thirty years after the authors tragic suicide in 1979.

Levant, Alex (2008) The Soviet Union in Ruins. Saarbrcken: VDM Verlag.

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.

Selected Recent Publications:

Levant, Alex (2016) 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.

Levant, Alex (2015) "Activity Theory Meets New Materialist Philosophy in Cathrine Hasse's An Anthropology of Learning," in Mind, Culture and Activity.

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.

Levant, Alex (2012) "Rethinking Spontaneity Beyond Classical Marxism: Re-reading Luxemburg through Benjamin, Gramsci, and Thompson," in Critique, Vol. 40 (No. 3), pp. 341-361.

Levant, Alex (2012) "E.V. Ilyenkov and Creative Soviet Theory: An Introduction to Dialectics of the Ideal," in Historical Materialism, Vol. 20 (No. 2), pp. 125-148.

Levant, Alex (2012) E.V. Ilyenkov,Dialektika Ideal'nogo [Dialectics of the Ideal], Historical Materialism, Vol. 20 (No. 2), pp. 149-193.

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 (2011) E.V. Ilyenkov,The Ideal in Human Activity(2009), in Marx and Philosophy Review of Books.

Levant, Alex (2011) From the History of Soviet Philosophy: Lukacs Vygotsky Ilyenkov (2008) by Sergey Mareev, in Historical Materialism, Vol. 19 (No. 3), pp. 176-189.

For a larger list of publications, please visit: