April 29, 2004
Director of Media Relations
AMHERST, Mass.- In his new translation of The Philosopher and His Poor ($79.95, hardcover, $22.95, paperback, 280 pp., Duke University Press, Durham, N.C., 2004), Andrew Parker, professor of English at Amherst College, brings to an English-speaking readership the work of Jacques Rancière, the French philosopher known for The Nights of Labor: The Workers' Dream in Nineteenth-Century France; The Ignorant Schoolmaster: Five Lessons in Intellectual Emancipation; and Disagreement: Politics and Philosophy. Parker will discuss his work and sign copies of his book on Monday, May 3, at 5 p.m. at Amherst Books (8 Main St., Amherst).
Jacques Rancière's The Philosopher and His Poor is a close reading of major texts of Western thought in which the poor have played a leading role-sometimes as the objects of philosophical analysis, sometimes as illustrations of philosophical argument. The history of philosophy-from Plato to Karl Marx to Jean-Paul Sartre to Pierre Bourdieu-is populated by the poor: plebes, men of iron, the demos, artisans, common people, proletarians, the masses. Published in France in 1983 and made available here for the first time in English, Parker's new translation asks what it means for Marx, Sartre and Bourdieu to heed Plato's admonition that workers should do "nothing else" than their own work. A critique of Bourdieu from the left, in terms largely unknown to an English-language readership, The Philosopher and His Poor remains timely 20 years after its initial publication.
Parker, a member of the Amherst faculty since 1982, was educated at the University of Chicago and Princeton University. He previously edited Nationalisms and Sexualities and Performativity and Performance.