For as long as she can remember, Susan Neiman has been a left-winger. But since when has the left been woke? In her passionate and witty manifesto, she examines how contemporary voices describing themselves as leftist have abandoned the very convictions essential to a leftist standpoint: a commitment to universalism, the belief in the possibility of progress, and a clear distinction between power and justice.
As a philosopher, she assesses identity politics’ critique of the Enlightenment as racist, colonialist, and euro-centric, concluding that today’s left is robbing itself of the ideas urgently needed to counter the swerve to the right that is being seen around the world.Susan Neiman is the director of the Einstein Forum in Potsdam.
Born in Atlanta, Georgia, she studied philosophy at Harvard and Freie Universität Berlin. Bevor taking over the directorship of the Einstein Forum in 2000, she taught as a professor of philosophy at Yale and Tel Aviv Universities.
Her publications include Slow Fire: Jewish Notes from Berlin (1992), The Unity of Reason: Rereading Kant (1994), Evil in Modern Thought: An Alternative History of Philosophy (2002), Fremde sehen anders (2005), Moral Clarity: A Guide for Grown-up Idealists (2008), Why Grow Up? Subversive Thoughts for an Infantile Age (2016), Learning from the Germans. Race and the Memory of Evil (2019), and Left Is Not Woke (2023).
Featuring a musical performance by Vashka Delnavazi (viola).