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From Marx to New Orleans

Marxist Literary Scholar, Louisiana Poet Laureate to speak in February at UC Riverside

Center for Ideas and Society brings scholars to campus community

(January 26, 2006)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — When the late author and philosopher Jacques Derrida presented a lecture on the subject of Marxism and its variations in modern global societies at UC Riverside in April 1993, the talk set in motion Derrida’s book “Specters of Marx,” now regarded as one of the more important social philosophy books of the past several decades.

The book provoked a revival of Marxist discussion and criticism, and was compared in some ways to the landmark 1965 book “For Marx,” written by former Derrida friend and teacher Louis Althusser.

Etienne Balibar, Emeritus Professor of Moral and Political Philosophy at the University of Paris 10 Nanterre, and Professor of Humanities at the University of California, Irvine, will compare the two books at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15, at the UC Riverside Extension Center, Room A.

Balibar is the co-author of “Reading Capital” (with Louis Althusser) and “Race, Nation, Class: Ambiguous Identities” (with Immanuel Wallerstein); and the author of “Masses, Classes, Ideas,” “The Philosophy of Marx,” “Spinoza and Politics” and “Politics and the Other Scene.”

This event is co-sponsored by the Mellon Grant Workshop “Of Human Bondage,” the English Department and the Center for Ideas and Society. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Brenda Marie Osbey, the Poet Laureate for the State of Louisiana, will speak from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, another talk sponsored by the Center for Ideas and Society. Her lecture is called, “After the Storm: New Orleans Culture and History.” The event is at UC Riverside Extension Center, Room E. The event will consist of a poetry reading and discussion of New Orleans cultural history before and following the hurricane.

Osbey is the author of “All Saints: New and Selected Poems,” which received the 1998 American Book Award. She is the author of “Desperate Circumstance, Dangerous Woman,” “In These Houses” and “Ceremony for Minneconjoux.”

Osbey’s poems have appeared in numerous journals, anthologies and collections, including “Southern Review,” “The Made Thing: An Anthology of Contemporary Southern Poetry,” “2PLUS2: A Collection of International Writing, Literature of the American South” and “The American Poetry Review.” Her essays on New Orleans have appeared in “The American Voice,” “Georgia Review,” “BrightLeaf” and “Creative Nonfiction.”

Osbey is recipient of the Camargo Foundation Fellowship; the Louisiana Division of the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship; the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation Maxi-Grant; the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Creative Writing Fellowship; and the Academy of American Poets Loring-Williams Prize. Osbey has been a fellow of the MacDowell Colony, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Kentucky Foundation for Women, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Millay Colony, and the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College, Harvard University.

For more than 12 years, Osbey has researched and recorded the history of the Faubourg Tremé, a community founded by free African-Americans in New Orleans. A public television short feature on her work "Native Daughter" aired in 1999, and an independent film based on her work “Desperate Circumstance, Dangerous Woman” is in development by Urban Garden Films.

Osbey, a New Orleans native, was appointed Poet Laureate of the State of Louisiana in Spring 2005.

“We believe that visiting speakers such as Professor Etienne Balibar from France and artists and poets like Brenda Marie Osbey make a vital contribution to the cultural life of the campus of UCR and the community,” said Emory Elliott, the director of the Center for Ideas and Society, and a distinguished professor of English at UC Riverside. “Although we are located near one of the countries largest cities and important cultural centers, many of our students and residents are not able to go to Los Angeles often to see and hear such prominent figures, who enrich the intellectual life and knowledge of those in Riverside.”

The Center for Ideas and Society was established in 1989, with a mission of fostering interdisciplinary research in the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. For more information on these events, contact Laura Lozon at the Center for Ideas and Society, at (951) 827-4332, or at



The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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