Buchpräsentation und Gespräch mit Kristin Ross und Guillaume Paoli

Communal Luxury“ is a rich and complex book. It is an inspired rereading of the Paris Commune. It is a critique of historical accounts that ignore the ways in which the practices of insurrectionary movements generate their own theory. It is a call to historians to attend to the alternatives offered at decisive moments of political and economic consolidation. It is, as well, Ross’s own manifesto about how we might think our futures differently. This is a history with enormous relevance for our contemporary political moment.” 

Joan W. Scott, Institute For Advanced Study, Princeton 

Kristin Ross’s highly acclaimed work on the thought and culture of the Communard uprising of 1871 resonates with the motivations and actions of contemporary protest, which has found its most powerful expression in the reclamation of public space. Today’s concerns – internationalism, education, the future of labor, the status of art, and ecological theory and practice – frame and inform her carefully researched restaging of the words and actions of individual Communards. This original analysis of an event and its centrifugal effects brings to life the workers in Paris who became revolutionaries, the significance they attributed to their struggle, and the elaboration and continuation of their thought in the encounters that transpired between the insurrection’s survivors and supporters like Marx, Kropotkin, and William Morris. 
The Paris Commune was a laboratory of political invention, important simply and above all for, as Marx reminds us, its own “working existence.” Communal Luxury allows readers to revisit the intricate workings of an extraordinary experiment. As part of Place Internationale, Kristin Ross will present Communal Luxury, that was recently published in German, and present her theses to the public discussion. Moderated by Guillaume Paoli, author of Soziale Gelbsucht.

Kristin Ross (born 1953) is Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature at New York University. She is best known for her work on 19th, 20th and 21st century French literature and culture. Ross received her Ph.D. from Yale University in 1981 and has since written a number of books including The Emergence of Social Space: Rimbaud and the Paris Commune (1988), Fast Cars, Clean Bodies: Decolonization and the Reordering of French Culture (1995), and May ’68 and its Afterlife (2002). In 2015 her book Communal Luxury: The Political Imaginary of the Paris Commune was published. For Fast Cars, Clean Bodies, Ross received a Critic’s Choice Award and the Lawrence Wylie Award for French Cultural Studies. Professor Ross has also received a Guggenheim Fellowship and a fellowship from the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. Ross has also translated several works from French, including Jacques Ranciere’s The Ignorant Schoolmaster. In addition to her research interests in French political culture and literature, Ross‘ work gains its focus from her interest in urban and revolutionary history, theory, politics, ideology and popular culture. 

Guillaume Paoli (born 1959) is a French writer who writes in German. At the end of the 1990s Paoli achieved a status as theoretician of the “happy unemployed” and co-editor of her magazine “idle gangster”. Since 2003 he has also been working as a “demotivational trainer”. The results of his research are collected in the book “Demotivational training” (2013). From 2008 to 2013 he was employed at the Central Theater in Leipzig as the “first national and perhaps the world’s first house philosopher”. There he headed the “auditing company for sense and purpose” and ran a lively “philosophical practice”. From 2014 to 2017 he hosted the discussion series In the Center of Evil in the Red Salon of the Volksbühne on Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz. In 2018–2019 he was involved as a journalist for the French jilets jaunes-movement, which resulted in the book “Soziale Gelbsucht”.