Alex Gourevitch, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Brown University, presents his new book 'From Slavery to the Cooperative Commonwealth: Labor and Republican Liberty in the Nineteenth Century' (Cambridge University Press, 2015).
The book launch will be followed by a drinks reception, sponsored by Cambridge University Press. Flyers with a 20% discount on the book price will also be available.
The book reconstructs how a group of nineteenth-century labor reformers appropriated and radicalized the republican tradition. These 'labor republicans' derived their definition of freedom from a long tradition of political theory dating back to the classical republics. In this tradition, to be free is to be independent of anyone else's will - to be dependent is to be a slave. Borrowing these ideas, labor republicans argued that wage laborers were unfree because of their abject dependence on their employers. Workers in a cooperative, on the other hand, were considered free because they equally and collectively controlled their work. Although these labor republicans are relatively unknown, this book details their unique, contemporary, and valuable perspective on both American history and the organization of the economy.
- 'a mind-opening study of an American movement in which the republican idea of freedom was invoked in support of workers'. Philip Pettit, Princeton University.
- 'Every once in a rare while, a book comes along with an argument that, once advanced, not only changes how we think but makes you wonder how we ever could have thought anything else. Alex Gourevitch has written such a book … Once we've read this book and digested its implications, we'll never talk about freedom, republicanism, or domination...in the same way.' Corey Robin, Brooklyn College and the CUNY Graduate Centre
- 'Alex Gourevitch's new book powerfully challenges received understandings of the relationship between liberal and republican ideas and unsettles familiar narratives about the history of American political thought.' Jacob T. Levy, McGill University
Attendees are invited to join the speakers for a drinks reception after the book launch in the Manor Road Building common area.
The convenors are most grateful to Cambridge University Press (CUP) for sponsoring this event.
Attendance is free and open to all, but places are limited so please arrive early and sign-in at the Manor road building entrance on arrival.