Slavoj Žižek and Stephen Kotkin discuss Kotkin’s monumental biography of Joseph Stalin at New York Public Library – Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. Stalin: Volume I: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928 covers the Soviet dictator’s youth, from his humble origins in Georgia as the son of a shoemaker to his days as a revolutionary organizer in Lenin’s inner circle.
Stephen Kotkin is the John P. Birkelund ’52 Professor in History and International Affairs at Princeton University. He is currently the acting director of Princeton’s Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies department. His previous books include Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as a Civilization, Armageddon Averted: The Soviet Collapse, 1970-2000, and Uncivil Society: 1989 and the Implosion of the Communist Establishment. He was a fellow at the Cullman Center in 2004-2005.
Slavoj Žižek is a Philosopher and psychoanalytic social theorist. He is Senior Researcher at the Department of Philosophy, University of Ljubljana; Professor at the School of Law and Director of the Institute for the Humanities at Birkbeck, University of London; Distinguished Scholar at the Kyung Hee University, Seoul; and Visiting Professor at the German Department, New York University. His field of work comprises Lacanian psychoanalytic theory, dialectical-materialist metaphysical interpretations of German Idealism and Marxian critique of ideology. His more than sixty books in English have been widely translated. His latest publications include Pandemic! & Pandemic! 2, Hegel in a Wired Brain, Sex and the Failed Absolute, Like A Thief In Broad Daylight, Reading Marx, Incontinence of the Void, and The Day After the Revolution.