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Communist Ghosts: Discussion and Book Launch

Venue: Birkbeck 43 Gordon Square

Contributors: Prof Stephen Frosh (chair), Prof Esther Leslie, Prof Griselda Pollock, Dr Magda Schmukalla

The event will take place in rooms 120 and 122, 43 Gordon Square. Lift access is available.

Join us for a conversation between Griselda Pollock, Esther Leslie and Magda Schmukalla on art, trauma, and politics. The conversation will be a response to the recently published book, Communist Ghosts (2021). The book examines how sites and relationships that were affected by Soviet-time communism destabilize common images of European identity as they turn into gathering places for memories of political desires and catastrophes that have been lost or repressed. The conversation will explore how art can acknowledge and communicate such complex and painful memories and like this inspire new and critical ideas on better worlds, new worlds, and communism. 

The event will be followed by a wine reception and a screening of the artistic film, Mary Koszmary (Nightmares), by Yael Bartana.


About the contributors:

Stephen Frosh is Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck, University of London. He is the author of many books and papers on psychosocial studies and on psychoanalysis, including most recently Those Who Come After: Postmemory, Acknowledgement and Forgiveness (2019).

Esther Leslie is Professor of Political Aesthetics in the Department of English, Theatre and Creative Writing at Birkbeck, University of London. She writes on Marxist theories of aesthetics and culture, with a particular focus on the work of Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno. Her most recent publication is Liquid Crystals – the Science and Art of a Fluid Form (2019).

Griselda Pollock is Professor emerita of Social and Critical histories of Art and Director of the Centre for Cultural Analysis, Theory and History at the University of Leeds. She is a transdisciplinary cultural analyst of modernity and its traumas and a dedicated feminist art historian. She is the author of numerous books, including After-Affects/After-Images: Trauma and Aesthetic Transformation in the Virtual Feminist Museum (2013) and was awarded the Holberg Prize in 2020.

Magda Schmukalla is Associate Lecturer in the Department of Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck, University of London. Her work advances a decolonial, feminist, and artistic study of social life and she is the author of Communist Ghosts: Post-Communist Thresholds, Critical Aesthetics and the Undoing of Modern Europe (2021).

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