Position: Associate Professor, Program Admission Chair (P SC Program-CUNY Graduate Center)
Campus Affiliation: Hunter College/CUNY Graduate Center
E-mail: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Degrees/Diplomas: Ph.D., University of California-Berkeley
Research Interests: History of Political Thought, Critical Theory, Feminist Theory, Psychoanalysis
Summer 2020 Virtual Hours: By appointment only
Robyn Marasco is Associate Professor of Political Science at Hunter College and The Graduate Center, CUNY. Her research has focused on developing the insights of critical theory, feminism, and psychoanalysis for political theory and interpretive social sciences. Her first book, The Highway of Despair: Critical Theory after Hegel (Columbia UP, 2015), reconstructs the emancipatory project of critical theory around the idea of negative dialectics. Her articles have appeared in leading journals in the humanities and social sciences, including New German Critique, boundary2, Philosophy & Social Criticism, Constellations, and Contemporary Political Theory. Professor Marasco was the guest editor of a special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly on “The Authoritarian Personality” and guest co-editor, with Banu Bargu, of a special issue of Rethinking Marxism on “The Political Encounter with Louis Althusser”. She is also the chair of Foundations of Political Theory, the largest professional organization for political theorists and a sub-section of the American Political Science Association. Prior to coming to Hunter and the GC, Professor Marasco taught political theory at Williams College. More recently, she was a Fellow at the Whitney Center for the Humanities at Yale University. Her current book project, Critique, Politics, and the Family, explores a distinctly political concept of the family in twentieth-century critical theory. Professor Marasco is co-editor of Polity, Journal of Political Science.
The Authoritarian Personality (Duke University Press, 2018)
The Highway of Despair: Critical Theory After Hegel (Columbia University Press, 2015)
Hegel’s “highway of despair,” introduced in his Phenomenology of Spirit, is the tortured path traveled by “natural consciousness” on its way to freedom. Despair, the passionate residue of Hegelian critique, also indicates fugitive opportunities for freedom and preserves the principle of hope against all hope. Analyzing the works of an eclectic cast of thinkers, Robyn Marasco considers the dynamism of despair as a critical passion, reckoning with the forms of historical life forged along Hegel’s highway.
The Highway of Despair follows Theodor Adorno, Georges Bataille, and Frantz Fanon as they each read, resist, and reconfigure a strand of thought in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit. Confronting the twentieth-century collapse of a certain revolutionary dialectic, these thinkers struggle to revalue critical philosophy and recast Left Hegelianism within the contexts of genocidal racism, world war, and colonial domination. Each thinker also re-centers the role of passion in critique. Arguing against more recent trends in critical theory that promise an escape from despair, Marasco shows how passion frustrates the resolutions of reason and faith. Embracing the extremism of what Marx, in the spirit of Hegel, called the “ruthless critique of everything existing,” she affirms the contemporary purchase of radical critical theory, resulting in a passionate approach to political thought.