AK Thompson

Feminist Studies, The History of Consciousness and Center for Cultural Studies present…

AK Thompson

Thursday, DECEMBER 1   |   12:20-2:00  |   HUM 210; UCSC

Since the visual turn in the social sciences at the beginning of the twenty-first century, images have become important points of engagement both as objects and as modes of analysis. For this reason, along with its 50+ entries exploring the keywords used by contemporary activists, Keywords for Radicals (AK Press 2016) incorporates data visualization to show how the “vocabulary” shared by radicals constitutes a kind of self-supporting small world network.

Such visualizations can help readers to map how the project’s vocabulary “works” and how struggles over word usage and meaning might most effectively be carried out. But while data visualization of this kind can be useful, it also raises significant epistemological questions about the relationship between representation and what’s real.

In this presentation, Keywords for Radicals editor AK Thompson will discuss the theoretical and aesthetic foundations of the project’s data visualization in order to evaluate the promise and perils of this technique in the age of the infographic.


Friday, DECEMBER 2   |  6-8pm   |   SUB ROSA; 703 Pacific Ave

Join activist, writer and scholar AK Thompson for an informal discussion about his recent book, Keywords for Radicals. What is the power of language and how does the struggle for what words mean reflect the very struggles that

development—asks: What vocabulary might illuminate the social transformations marking our own contested present? How do these words define the imaginary of today’s radical left?

With insights from dozens of scholars and troublemakers, Keywords for Radicals explores the words that shape our political landscape. Each entry highlights a term’s contested variations, traces its evolving usage, and speculates about what its historical mutations can tell us. More than a glossary, this is a crucial study of the power of language and the social contradictions hidden within it.

About AK Thompson

AK Thompson got kicked out of high school for publishing an underground newspaper called The Agitator and has been an activist, writer, and social theorist ever since. Currently teaching social theory at Fordham University, his publications include Black Bloc, White Riot: Anti- Globalization and the Genealogy of Dissent (2010) and Sociology for Changing the World: Social Movements/Social Research (2006). Between 2005 and 2012, he served on the Editorial Committee of Upping The Anti: A Journal of Theory and Action.


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