dance of quadrille  
at the University of Michigan  
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ncf calendar for 2012-2013


February 27, 2014
4PM, 3154 Angell Hall

A Discussion with Leela Gandhi, Professor of English at the University of Chicago, on

"After Virtue: The Strange Case of Belle Époque Socialist Antimaterialism,"

a chapter from her forthcoming book, The Common Cause: Postcolonial Ethics and the Practice of Democracy, 1900-1955

Chapter abstract:

This chapter concerns a shift in socialist style at the turn of the twentieth-century.It focuses on British labor agitations between 1910-1913 involving workers from disparate industrial sectors, and argues that these strikes exemplified a complicated non-virtuous antimaterialism amongst proletarian constituencies that went against the grain of the dominant belle époque critique of consumption. The orthodox antimaterialism of the era was an ethics of phusikaphobia or recoil from the physical world that lent itself to provincial anti-collectivism. By contrast, the heterodox antimaterialism of some labor agitators crystallized as philophusikia or a reparative love of things, particularly the alienated objects of possession. This is available to reading as a resourceful will toward collectivity. The discussion draws on journalistic testimonies, syndicalist journals, and Guild socialist literature, especially the writings of R. H. Tawney.

Leela Gandhi is Professor of English at the University of Chicago. She received her DPhil and MPhil from the University of Oxford, and has previously taught at the University of Delhi and La Trobe University. She has held visiting professorships in Australia, Denmark, India, Italy and Iran. Her publications include Postcolonial Theory: A Critical Introduction (1998), the co-authored, England Through Colonial Eyes in Twentieth Century Fiction (2001), Measures of Home: Selected Poems (2000), Affective Communities: Anticolonial Thought, Fin de Siècle Radicalism,and the Politics of Friendship (2006). Her new book, The Common Cause: Postcolonial Ethics and the Practice of Democracy, 1900-1955, about the confluence of democracy and ethics at the scene of early twentieth-century anti-colonialism and antifascism,is forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press in the spring of 2014.

THIS IS A DISCUSSION OF A PRE-CIRCULATED PAPER. For NCF members, the chapter will be available at least one week before the discussion in the Resources section of the NCF CTools site. You may also receive the paper as an email attachment by contacting Christie Allen at

March 21-22, 2014
The University of Michigan

"The Economy of Scales"
A Graduate Student Conference Hosted by NCF and ECSG

For more information, please visit the conference website at

April 9, 2014
4PM, 2713 Haven Hall

A Dissertation Workshop with Andrew Cavin, History PhD Candidate at the University of Michigan

April 11-13, 2014
The University of Michigan

Co-Sponsoring a Conference of the Midwest Victorian Studies Association, "Victorian Violence"

For more information, please visit the conference website at