Friday, 22 April 2011

‘Liberalism: Slavery, imperialism and exploitation’







May 05, 2011, 7.30pm
At King’s College London, Edmund J. Safra Lecture Theatre, Strand Campus,
London WC2R 2LS

‘Liberalism: Slavery, imperialism and exploitation’

A panel discussion and book launch for LIBERALISM: A COUNTER-HISTORY with Domenico Losurdo, Robin Blackburn, and chair Stathis Kouvelakis.
Hosted by the KCL European Studies Department in association with Verso Books


‘Devastatingly exact in his dismantling of a Whiggish optimism, Losurdo thankfully avoids the historical dead-endism of postmodern critiques.’ Greg Grandin, author of FORDLANDIA

‘Anyone who thinks they know the history of liberalism will be surprised – and riveted – by this book. Every page is an experience.’ Corey Robin, author of FEAR: THE HISTORY OF A POLITICAL IDEA


In this definitive historical investigation, Italian author and philosopher Domenico Losurdo argues that from the outset liberalism, as a philosophical position and ideology, has been bound up with the most illiberal of policies: slavery, colonialism, genocide, racism and snobbery.

Narrating an intellectual history running from the eighteenth through to the twentieth centuries, Losurdo examines the thought of preeminent liberal writers such as Locke, Burke, Tocqueville, Constant, Bentham and Sieyes, revealing the inner contradictions of an intellectual position that has exercised a formative influence on today’s politics. Among the dominant strains of liberalism, he discerns the counter-currents of more radical positions, lost in the constitution of the modern world order.

In distinct contrast to the work of historians who seek to recast both liberal ideology and the British Empire in a benign light and defenders of liberal philosophy, LIBERALISM: A COUNTER HISTORY is an authoritative and provocative intervention into the current literature which will demand serious consideration and debate. The book is also a major philosophical contribution probing the inner contradictions of liberalism, including minority currents that moved to more radical positions.


DOMENICO LOSURDO is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Urbino, Italy. He is the author of many books in Italian, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin. In English he has published HEGEL AND THE FREEDOM OF MODERNS and HEIDEGGER AND THE IDEOLOGY OF WAR.


ISBN: 978 1 84467 639 4 / $34.95 / £22.00 / Hardcover / 384 pages


For more information or to buy the book visit:

1 comment:

  1. Recently, my friend and colleague Pam Nogales conducted an interview with Dr. Losurdo on his book, Liberalism: A Counter-History, for the Platypus Affiliated Society. There will perhaps be a written transcript of the interview eventually published in The Platypus Review, but for now it is available for viewing on our organization's Vimeo account. If you are interested, you can access the video of our exchange by clicking the following link:

    An interview with the Italian Hegelian-Marxist philosopher and historian Domenico Losurdo on his book, Liberalism: A Counter-History