Before Slavoj Žižek published The Sublime Object of Ideology in 1989 — a work that marks his rise to international recognition — he was locally an already accomplished author of many books in the languages of Yugoslavia. Gregor Moder will discuss the wider context of social thought in socialist Yugoslavia (1945-1991), beginning with the formation of a dissident, critical Marxist group gathered around the journal Praxis. The list of contributors to the journal reads as a who’s who in contemporary radical thought. However, there is one important omission: a text on ideology submitted by Louis Althusser was forcefully rejected by the journal editors. Why was Althusser’s theory of ideology so unbearable to the independent Marxist group Praxis as well as to the Party bureaucrats, not to mention the conservative circles pursuing Heideggerian phenomenology? It turns out that Althusser’s structuralist Marxism was properly studied and appreciated only in the emerging intellectual milieu of Ljubljana.
Gregor Moder is a senior research associate in the Department of Philosophy of the Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and currently (in spring 2024) a visiting fellow in the Department of English at Princeton University. He is the author of Hegel and Spinoza: Substance and Negativity (Northwestern UP, 2017), Antigone: An Essay on Hegel’s Political Philosophy (FDV 2023, in Slovenian; German translation forthcoming with Turia+Kant in 2024), and a co-editor of the monograph on The Object of Comedy (Palgrave, 2020). He is co-editing a monograph on The Ethics of Ernst Lubitsch (Rowman & Littlefield, 2024).